Thunder Blade

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Thunder Blade
Thunder Blade arcade flyer.jpg
  • Arcade
    • WW: Sega
Composer(s)Koichi Namiki
Platform(s)Arcade, Master System, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX, MS-DOS, TurboGrafx-16, X68000, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo 3DS
December 1987
  • Arcade
    Master System
    Home computers
Genre(s)Rail shooter[6]
Scrolling shooter[7]
Arcade systemSega X Board

Thunder Blade[a] is a third-person shoot 'em up video game released by Sega for arcades in 1987.[8][1] Players control a helicopter to destroy enemy vehicles. The game was released as a standard stand-up arcade cabinet with force feedback, as the joystick vibrates. A helicopter shaped sit-down model was released, replacing the force feedback with a cockpit seat that moves in tandem with the joystick.[9] It is a motion simulator cabinet, like the previous Sega Super Scaler games Space Harrier (1985) and After Burner (1987).[8] The game's plot and setting was inspired by the film Blue Thunder (1983).

Versions were released for the Master System, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX, TurboGrafx-16, X68000, and ZX Spectrum. The Nintendo 3DS remake was released as a 3D Classic in Japan on August 20, 2014,[10] in North America and Europe on May 14, 2015,[11] and in Australia on July 2, 2015.[12] The sequel, Super Thunder Blade, was released exclusively for the Sega Genesis.


Arcade version

The player controls a helicopter gunship using its chain gun and missiles to destroy enemy tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles and structures, to save the home country. Each level is in either a top-down or third-person perspective view. The boss levels are in the top-down view.

The player is given 2 "lives" as continues, used if they are killed in a level. Clearing a level allows you to return, bypassing the levels before it.

The 3D classic release allows joystick emulation and gyroscopic controls.


The plot and setting were inspired by the 1983 film Blue Thunder,[5] from which a digitized frame became the title screen.[13]


In Japan, Game Machine listed Thunder Blade in its January 15, 1988, issue as the fourth most successful upright arcade unit of the month.[21] It went on to become Japan's ninth highest-grossing dedicated arcade game of 1988.[22]

The arcade game was well received by critics. Clare Edgeley of Computer and Video Games called it "a helicopter simulation with several innovative features". She said it was "a brilliant game" with "superb" graphics and gameplay.[1] Your Sinclair stated that "Thunder Blade is probably the game which took most of your money in the arcades this summer, probably one of the most eagerly awaited coin-op conversions".[19]

At the 1988–1989 Golden Joystick Awards, the Sega Master System version won Console Game of the Year.[4] The ZX Spectrum version also received a Crash Smash award from Crash magazine.


  1. ^ Japanese: サンダーブレード, Hepburn: Sandāburēdo


  1. ^ a b c d "Arcade Action". Computer and Video Games. No. 77 (March 1988). February 1988. pp. 90–3.
  2. ^ "Thunder Blade (Registration Number PA0000353392)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). セガ社 (Sega); Sega; G. アーケードTVゲームリスト 国内•海外編 (1971-2005) (in Japanese) (1st ed.). Amusement News Agency. pp. 36, 131, 153. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  4. ^ a b c "Golden Joystick Awards 1989". Computer and Video Games. No. 92. Future Publishing. June 1989. pp. 62–63.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  6. ^ Kalata, Kurt (28 July 2017). "Thunder Blade". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2023. Tag: Shoot-Em-Up: Rail
  7. ^ Town, Jonathan (18 May 2015). "3D Thunder Blade Review (3DS eShop)". Nintendo Life. Hookshot Media. Retrieved 18 February 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Sega's Wonderful Simulation Games Over The Years". Arcade Heroes. June 6, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  9. ^ Thunder Blade at the Killer List of Videogames
  10. ^ Brian (August 7, 2014). "3D Thunder Blade hitting the Japanese 3DS eShop on August 20". Nintendo Everything. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Julian (May 12, 2015). "SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Thunder Blade – Part 1". SEGA Blog. SEGA. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Doolan, Liam (July 3, 2015). "3D Out Run, Thunder Blade And Fantasy Zone I & II Now Available On The eShop In Australia". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Kalata, Kurt (July 28, 2017). "Thunder Blade". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  14. ^ "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  15. ^ a b "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  16. ^ "Mean Machines". Computer and Video Games. No. 85 (November 1988). October 15, 1988. pp. 130–1.
  17. ^ "Guide: Sega". Computer and Video Games. No. Complete Guide to Consoles: Volume IV. November 1990. pp. 108–10.
  18. ^ "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  19. ^ a b "Thunder Blade". Archived from the original on August 1, 2015.
  20. ^ "Arcades". Commodore User. No. 54 (March 1988). February 26, 1988. pp. 104–7.
  21. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - アップライト, コックピット型TVゲーム機 (Upright/Cockpit Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 324. Amusement Press, Inc. January 15, 1988. p. 21.
  22. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: '88 / "Game of the Year '88" By Game Machine" (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 348. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 January 1989. pp. 10–1, 26.

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