Rolling Thunder 2 is a conversion of Namco’s 1990 sequel to its original James Bond themed Shinobi-like game. The Megadrive home version is faithful to the arcade original in terms of gameplay and features a few improvements, including cut scenes between levels that feature some lovely artwork, 3 additional stages and some new weapons. As in the arcade version, you can play as agent Albatross or femme fatale Leila in the battle against the evil GELDRA organisation.
Whilst this is a platform shoot-em-up, it is not of the manic variety like Contra/Probotector, Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier. The action can certainly be fast and furious but never to the point where it is overwhelming. Instead, you can play much more tactically by jumping up to a higher platform or to the floor (a la Shinobi). There is also an element of “stealth” in RT2 as you can hide behind shadows in the walkways when the background allows. You can also hide in doors by continuing to hold up after checking for weapons or ammo, which adds another tactical layer to the proceedings when the going gets tough.
A simultaneous 2-player option is available that lets you team up with a friend. Even in two player mode RT2 presents a decent level of challenge across its 11 stages. Practice makes perfect in this game and once you get the hang of conserving ammo for tense moments and hiding or switching platforms when you need to there’ll be no stopping you!
We’ve seen this type of game time and time again but rarely is it pulled off with such style and grace. The art design impresses even today and the game features an excellent soundtrack that is very catchy. For fans of the genre this game comes highly recommended.