Sunday, December 22, 2019

Thundercats



Today's cartoons are rubbish. #JustSayin!

Thundercats was released back in 1988 by Elite and is obviously based on the old kid's TV show. Now, I don't remember the programme myself but YouTube does, which meant I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. An interesting show for the time and I can see many similarities, especially with the characters.

The Atari ST game represents the cartoon as a sideways-scrolling platformer shooter played over a number of (torturous) levels. We are Lion-O, a Thundercat with flame-red hair and a huge sword who battles against strange animal foes. These baddies are from something called Mumm-Ra who have not only stolen the Thundera jewel but have also kidnapped the other Thundercats. Oh no, what shall we do?

I think this translates as - we need to save the day! Okay, let's see some screenshots...


The first level breaks you into the mayhem nicely. Look for power-ups and try not to panic.

However, things soon get freaky with loads of enemies attacking from all sides!

Being attacked by so many birds at once isn't my idea of great fun.

The weapons are great but I didn't like that slowwwwww laser gun!


Run...Shoot...Die!!

The terrain is straightforward with monsters, deadly water, disappearing platforms and rocks/etc to leap over - watch out for the bigger baddies who will follow. Random power-ups will appear at regular intervals and will need to be struck before you can collect them (I liked the mushrooms). An extra life is appreciated but I wasn't thrilled about the laser gun which is limited - it doesn't fire far thus annoying when something is out of reach!

Gameplay is regularly broken up by bonus rounds like trying to rescue Tygra, which proved impossible: one touch and you have failed the mission!! Also, the levels are broken up into themes which you can choose between: they are Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Basically, little changes but we do get different visuals and baddies to kill.

Okay, are you ready for more Atari ST screenshots? Of course, you are...


That creepy fella is tough, so repeatedly hit him where it hurts. No, not his wallet!

Don't forget the mushroom power-ups... You will need all the help you can get.

Hang on, what's this? A spaceship? Gun? Plane? Hover car?

Nope, it's a lame spaceship and one that features that silly laser too... Joy!


16-Bit gamers are tough!

The joystick controls are rather easy to learn and also very responsive: left/right walks our flame-haired hero and he can also jump and crouch with ease. I liked these controls which work well and the best part is our huge sword - which puts Conan's to shame!! However, it is oddly used more like a club which is weird, but it works.

Sadly, no matter how responsive the controls are - there are too many baddies to cope with. This is because they appear from both sides of the screen - so you're soon overrun as the hoards gang up. To make matters worse, your weapon can only kill what is directly in front of it so you're constantly jumping, crouching, turning around... Add that to everything else and it won't be long until you've died - or launched the joystick in frustration! Yikes.

Yes, I think games were a lot harder back in the day and Thundercats certainly proves that!



I love the macabre artwork here. It's a bit crude yet very cool... and his toes are funny!


Graphics & Sounds

Visually, things are rather good I thought. The colours are bold and represent the cartoony-feeling very well plus I also loved sprites which are superbly detailed. However, what shocks me most is how smooth the scrolling is and with a second parallax layer too. It's always nice to see when developers don't wimp out with flick/push-scrolling.

The in-game sound effects are okay, even if everything sounds all too familiar. However, it's the music I adore. This game ROCKS and the theme tune is pure Rob Hubbard awesomeness! It's brilliant and I love every second!

Check out this artwork and why not listen to the tune. Go on, it's lovely...

I always fail to rescue poor old Tygra!
 Click on the green arrow and enjoy this outstanding Rob Hubbard chiptune. Mmm, I love it!!


The CryptO'pinion?

Thundercats is a good game albeit ridiculously challenging. My red-haired hero was walking, jumping and crouching like a crazed hip-hop'ster on speed yet I still couldn't kill everything without dying several times!! Even when using a trainer, it's still too hard but at least I got to see the later levels. Hmm, not very good?

I've moaned a lot about this game and yes, it's crammed full of annoying mechanics. However, it's still a game to boot up because it looks good, sounds great, and who doesn't enjoy clobbering animals with a huge sword? Personally, I'm more of a He-Man fan but I enjoyed this platformer and I think you will too. Well, with a trainer!!

AtariMania has the Super Pack floppy disks and 8BitChip has a hard drive game.

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