(Wii Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

Gate of Thunder (Wii Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

Game Review

Gate of Thunder Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

The legendary sci-fi shooter is back!

Playing very much like the highly regarded Thunderforce IV, Gate of Thunder represented a turning point for the PC Engine/TG-16 CD-ROM format. So long the recipient of sub-par ports and lackluster titles, the system was given a much-needed shot in the arm with this stunning shooter. Hudson and NEC promoted the game heavily when it was published in the US, bundling it with the hardware and famously declaring that Sega was ‘running scared’ because such quality games were starting to appear on a rival CD-based machine.

After sitting through the fantastic animated introduction sequence you’re thrust into one of the most intense and enjoyable blasters ever produced for NEC’s console, or any other machine for that matter. The graphics are nothing short of breathtaking; at times they even eclipse those found in Thunderforce IV (arguably the benchmark for visual splendor on the Megadrive/Genesis) and often surpassing the best the SNES has to offer (this is from what is essentially an 8-bit console, remember!)

The gameplay is fairly standard stuff – there’s nothing here that will shock or surprise veterans of the genre – but it’s the way everything to put together that truly impresses. Not a second of screen time is wasted – every encounter is challenging and demanding whilst retaining an element of fairness. You never blame the game for your mess-ups. The weapon system is balanced perfectly, too.

Conclusion

Add to this a fantastic hard rock soundtrack, some brilliant boss designs and loads of top-quality cut scenes and you have a shooter that is quite simply essential. Lords of Thunder (AKA: Winds of Thunder) was released soon after and is seen as the semi-sequel to GoT, even though it has a completely different setting. Debate still rages as to which is the best out of the two, but for the time being at least you can discover why people make so much fuss about this superlative title. Highly recommended.

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User Comments (6)

CorbsAdmin

#1

Corbs said:

Of the hundreds of shooters I own, Gate of Thunder is still my all-time favorite. This is everything a great shooter should be and more.

Cally

#2

Cally said:

Gate of Thunder is remarkably evenhanded for a shooter in my experience. Ultra-methodical, going from mild to intense in such logical ways. I got such a thrill out of the faster scrolling in one of the final parts of the game . . . because, for once, I wasn't desensitized beforehand.

GoT just plain succeeds with what every other shooter tries and doesn't quite get as right. The shooting in one or several directions, however--or rather, how it's handled here--puts a compelling layer of strategy on this game.

To me, the innate lack of gameplay variety in shooters--it's largely what I'd call "button choreography," with strictness varying with difficulty--keep me from wanting to give any such shooter QUITE the same level of credit as some other genres. Nevertheless, GoT must be experienced.

CorbsAdmin

#3

Corbs said:

While Gate of Thunder isn't a bullet hell shooter, it features an almost non-stop intensity that never gives you a moment to slow down and gather yourself. Although I bought my TurboDuo system for Lords of Thunder, it was this game that came packed with it that took me by complete surprise and became my favorite shmup.

President_Leever

#4

President_Leever said:

While it's certainly fun to play, I found the overall presentation to be extremely bland and the music is just cheesy and grating to the ears. Much prefer Lords to this.

Rarewarefan7495

#5

Rarewarefan7495 said:

I agree completely with Corbs, this is the best shmup of all time. The level design, music, and controls are all perfect. If perfection is possible in a shmup, this is it. And at President_Leever, Lords of Thunder's music can get cheesy and grating as well but it's still enjoyable like Gate.

dhowerter

#6

dhowerter said:

Oh heck yes. :)

The music, the gameplay, the visuals, the animation, the feeling of POWER as you blow everything up, all perfectly done (and challenging).

If anybody wants to know WHY people like me LOVE 2D shooters, this is the game to try.

I still can't beat the game all in one go (without using the Level Select code, which is listed in GOT's FAQ at GFaqs btw), but I still love it. ;-)

Again, if you like 2D shooters at all, please give this a try.

Oh and BLESS Nintendo for allowing TG 16 and TG CD games on the Wii VC :)

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