|Gate of Thunder|
|Composer(s)||Nick Wood (Sound Design)|
Gate of Thunder [lower-alpha 1] is a 1992 scrolling shooter video game developed by Red Company and published by Hudson Soft for the TurboGrafx-CD. It was the first game released in North America to support the Super CD-ROM² format and served as one of the pack-in games for the TurboDuo, a two-in-one system which runs both TurboGrafx-CD and TurboGrafx-16 titles, where it was bundled with Bonk's Adventure , Bonk's Revenge and Bomberman on the same disc. In the game, the player controls the Hunting Dog space fighter craft, piloted by space cop Hawk. Alongside his ally Esty, piloting the Wild Cat support ship, Hawk must stop General Don Jingi and his Obellon armada from obtaining the powerful "Starlight" energy source from planet Aries.
Gate of Thunder was created by Red Raimon, a group within Red consisting of former Technosoft staff which previously worked on the Thunder Force series, whose members would later form the game development company CAProduction. It was the first shoot 'em up game programmed for the Super CD-ROM² format, which allowed features such as more detailed visuals due to its increased memory size. The soundtrack was composed by Nick Wood, a co-founding member of the Syn Sound Design music production studio. First released on the TurboGrafx-CD, the title has since been re-released through the Virtual Console and PlayStation Network download services.
Gate of Thunder garnered acclaim since its release on the TurboGrafx-CD; critics praised the presentation for its detailed and colorful graphics, well-animated sprites, use of parallax scrolling, large bosses, lack of slowdown, CD-quality heavy metal soundtrack, fast gameplay and intense action. Retrospective commentary have been equally positive, being considered one of the best video games of all time and one of the most important shooting titles on the platform. An unofficial follow-up, titled Lords of Thunder , was released for the TurboDuo in 1993.
Gate of Thunder is a science fiction-themed scrolling shoot 'em up game, in which the player takes control of the Hunting Dog space fighter craft piloted by the space cop Hawk who, alongside his ally Esty piloting the Wild Cat support ship, must stop General Don Jingi and his Obellon armada from obtaining a powerful energy source known as "Starlight" from planet Aries.   Prior to starting, a configuration menu can be accessed at the game's title screen, where any of the four available difficulty settings can be selected.  The player controls Hunting Dog through seven increasingly difficult stages over a constantly scrolling background, populated with an assortment of military enemy forces and obstacles, and the scenery never stops moving until a boss is reached, which must be fought in order to progress further.  
The weapon system is reminiscent of Thunder Force III ;  There are three types of weapon units in the game Hunting Dog can acquire by collecting their respective colors when the Wild Cat deploys them and alternate between each one at any given time during gameplay, ranging from laser (blue), waves (green) and earthquake (red).   Collecting any weapon unit also equips Hunting Dog with a set of two satellite-like options that blocks incoming enemy shots, as well as firing forward or backwards by double tapping the fire button.   Each weapon can be powered-up once and when all weapons are maxed out, collecting an additional weapon unit unleashes a firewall capable of obliterating enemies and bullets caught within its range.  Wild Cat will also deploy supplementary units such as homing missiles and a three-hit force shield.  
Hunting Dog is also equipped with a speed setting, which can be increased or decreased across three levels by pressing the select button.  Firing on determined locations of a stage will reveal a secret item within its scenery. The title employs a respawn system where their ship immediately starts at the location they died at. Getting hit by enemy fire or colliding against solid stage obstacles will result in losing a live, as well as the weapon that was currently in use by Hunting Dog, and the game is over once all lives are lost, though the player has limited continues to keep playing. 
Gate of Thunder was developed by Red Raimon (also known as Red Kaminarimon), a group within Red consisting of former Technosoft staff which previously worked on the Thunder Force series (particularly Thunder Force II and Thunder Force III ) but left the company in 1991, whose members would later form the game development company CAProduction in 1993.       It was the first shoot 'em up game programmed for the Super CD-ROM² format, which allowed features such as more detailed visuals due to its increased memory size.   The soundtrack was composed by Nick Wood, a co-founding member of the Syn Sound Design music production studio, though he is listed as sound designer in the game's staff roll.   
Gate of Thunder was first published in Japan by Hudson Soft on February 21, 1992 for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM².  Prior to launch, its plot was adapted into a manga featuring several Hudson Soft characters titled Hudson Makyou: Genjin Bakuhatsu Densetsu, which was published by Minori Shobo on January 6.  The game was later released in North America on October 10, 1992, being the first title in the region to support the Super CD-ROM² format and served as one of the pack-in games for the TurboDuo, a two-in-one system which runs both TurboGrafx-CD and TurboGrafx-16 titles, where it was bundled as a "three-in-one" package with Bonk's Adventure , Bonk's Revenge and Bomberman on the same disc.     
After its release, it was showcased to attendees at the 1992 COMDEX show.  On May 21, 1993, an album containing selected music tracks from the game was published exclusively in Japan by Hudson Soft.  Gate of Thunder was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console on October 15, 2007 in North America, being the first CD-based game on the Virtual Console, then in Europe on October 19 and later in Japan on December 4.    The game was also re-released for the PlayStation Network as part of the "PC Engine Archives" line in Japan on March 17, 2010.  
|Consoles +||95% |
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||34/40 |
|GameFan||89%, 95% |
|Electronic Gaming Monthly (1997)||#53 Top 100 Best Games of All Time |
Gate of Thunder garnered acclaim from critics since its release on the TurboGrafx-CD, most of which reviewed it as an import title. Public reception was also positive; readers of PC Engine Fan voted to give the game a 24.38 out of 30 score, ranking at the number 31 spot in a poll, indicating a large popular following.  Famitsu 's four reviewers noted that a lot of effort went into the game's visuals and difficulty level.  Video Games' Julian Eggebrecht drew comparison with Thunder Force III due to its weapon system but regarded it as an outstanding title for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM², commending the well-animated sprites and graphics.  Consoles Plus' Fred and Marc Menier gave positive remarks to the overall graphical presentation, sprite animations, use of parallax scrolling, lack of slowdown, sound design, frenetic action and excellent gameplay. 
Joypad's Jean-François Morisse and Joystick 's Jean-Marc Demoly gave very positive commentary in regards to the animated visuals and sprites, controls and sound, with Demoly stating that it was the best shooter on the PC Engine CD-ROM.   GameFan 's Dave Halverson and Brody commended the game for its music and fast gameplay but Halverson criticized the lack of unique environments.  Electronic Gaming Monthly 's four reviewers also praised the title for its intense action, highly detailed and colorful graphics, large bosses and music.  In 1997, it was listed as number 53 on EGM's 100 best games of all time in their 100th issue, explaining that it stood apart from other shooters due to its CD-quality heavy metal soundtrack and animated backgrounds, which "are as much an enemy in this game as the swarms of enemy bogies or the dozens of bosses and minibosses". They added that they chose Gate of Thunder over its follow-up, Lords of Thunder , because it is lengthier. 
Retrospective reviews for Gate of Thunder have been equally positive.   AllGame 's Shawn Sackenheim regarded it as one of the best shooters developed on the TurboGrafx-CD despite its simple nature, highly praising its hard rock soundtrack, detailed graphics, diverse backgrounds, lack of slowdown and flickering, and frenetic action but noted that the gameplay lacked innovation.  IGN Italia 's Andrea Corritore identified the game as one of the most important shooting games on the PC Engine, alongside Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire , Lords of Thunder and Rayxanber III .  Reviewing the Virtual Console reissue, Nintendo Life 's Damien McFerran felt that the visuals surpassed those of Thunder Force IV and the best SNES offerings. Ferran highly commended the rock soundtrack, boss designs and cutscenes but he concurred with Sackenheim in regards to the gameplay, stating that "there’s nothing here that will shock or surprise veterans of the genre". 
Reviewing the Virtual Console re-release, GameSpot 's Frank Provo said that the game is overly short and lacking in innovation, particularly noting the lack of any way of dealing with enemies other than shooting them but the memorable level and boss designs, well-conceived weapons system and consistently outstanding soundtrack make it a worthwhile purchase.  Eurogamer 's Dan Whitehead called it a cult title when reviewing the Virtual Console relaunch, praising the catchy melodic rock music and rewarding level design. However, Whitehead remarked that the was not the most innovative shooter in terms of overall gameplay, but he felt it was still one of the best.  Reviewing the Virtual Console release, IGN 's Lucas M. Thomas concurred with Provo on most points but argued that Gate of Thunder makes a number of innovations to the shooter genre. 
The TurboGrafx-16, known as the PC Engine outside North America, is a home video game console designed by Hudson Soft and sold by NEC Home Electronics. It was the first console marketed in the fourth generation, commonly known as the 16-bit era, though the console has an 8-bit central processing unit (CPU) coupled with a 16-bit graphics processor. It was released in Japan in 1987 and in North America in 1989. In Europe, the console is known as the PC Engine, after the Japanese model was imported and distributed in the United Kingdom and France from 1988. In Japan, the system was launched as a competitor to the Famicom, but the delayed United States release meant that it ended up competing with the Sega Genesis and later the Super NES.
Air Zonk, known in Japan as PC Denjin, is a horizontally scrolling shooter released for TurboGrafx-16 in 1992. Air Zonk was an attempt to update the company's image via a modern, punkish character called Zonk, who bears a purposeful resemblance to the TurboGrafx-16's caveman mascot, Bonk.
Bonk, known as PC-Genjin in Japan and as PC Kid or BC Kid in PAL territories, is a video game character and former mascot for NEC's PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 video game console. Three platform games featuring the character appeared on the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, as well as two spin-offs featuring Air Zonk. The protagonist is a bald caveman named Bonk who attacks using his comically large head.
The TurboDuo is a fourth-generation video game console developed by NEC Home Electronics and Hudson Soft for the North American market. The TurboDuo was test-marketed in Los Angeles in October 1992, before a nationwide rollout in May 1993. It is the North American version of the Japanese PC Engine Duo game console which was released in September 1991.
Military Madness is a 1989 turn-based strategy video game originally developed and published by Hudson Soft in Japan and NEC in North America for the TurboGrafx-16. It is the first entry in the Nectaris series. Set in the year 2089, players take command of the Allied-Union forces in a desperate offense against the Axis-Xenon Empire army on the Moon before they launch the S.A.M. weapon to obliterate Earth. Its gameplay consists of moving units into positions to confront enemies in turn-based encounters determined by multiple factors, capturing factories to produce resources and repair units in order to occupy the enemy prison camp or destroy all enemy forces.
Dungeon Explorer is an action role-playing video game developed by Atlus for the TurboGrafx-16 and originally published by Hudson Soft in Japan on March 4, 1989, and later in North America by NEC on November 15 of the same year. The first installment in the eponymous franchise, the game is set in the land of Oddesia, which has been overrun by an alien race and where players assume the role of one of eight main characters tasked with recovering the Ora stone to kill the alien king Natas. Co-directed by Kazutoshi Ueda and Yōsuke Niino, the title was created by most of the same team that would work on later several projects such as entries in the Megami Tensei series. Though it was initially launched for the TurboGrafx-16, it was later re-released through download services for various consoles.
Magical Chase is a 1991 horizontally scrolling shooter video game developed by Quest and published by Palsoft and Turbo Technologies Inc. for the TurboGrafx-16. The game stars a young witch apprentice named Ripple, who broke a promise to her teacher by accidentally releasing six demons from a forbidden book, joined by her star companions Topsy and Turvy on a quest to catch and seal the demons back into the book.
Neutopia II is a 1991 action-adventure video game developed and published in Japan by Hudson Soft and in North America by Turbo Technologies for the TurboGrafx-16. It is the sequel to Neutopia, which was released earlier in 1989. In the game, the player takes control of Jazeta's son, who embarks on a quest to both save his father and defeat the returning evil demon Dirth.
Valis III is a 1990 action-platform video game originally developed by Laser Soft, published by Telenet Japan and NEC for the TurboGrafx-CD. A Sega Genesis version was released in 1992. It is the third entry in the Valis series. It stars Yuko Asou, a Japanese teenage schoolgirl chosen as the Valis warrior and wielder of the mystical Valis sword after the events of Valis II. King Glames, wielder of the sword Leethus, leads denizens of the dark world to conquer both Vecanti and Earth, seeking refuge for his people amid the destruction of their planet. Together with the demon warrior-maiden Cham and her sister Valna, Yuko must prevent Glames from destroying both worlds. Through the journey, the player explores and searches for items and power-ups while fighting enemies and defeating bosses.
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair is a side-scrolling action game developed by Westone Bit Entertainment that was originally released for the arcades by Sega in 1988. It is the third game in the Wonder Boy series and the last one released for the arcade. A console adaptation was made by Hudson Soft, released in 1989 in Japan for the PC Engine CD-ROM² System and the subsequent North American release on the TurboGrafx-CD dropped the 'Wonder Boy III' title. It was also converted and released by Sega for the Mega Drive in Japan in 1990 and Europe in 1991. Both, the TurboGrafx-CD and Mega Drive versions have been re-released for the Wii Virtual Console.
Gunhed, known as Blazing Lazers in North America, is a vertically scrolling shooter game by Hudson Soft and Compile, based on the Japanese film Gunhed. The title was released in 1989, for the PC Engine in Japan and re-skinned for the TurboGrafx-16 in North America, with Gunhed unofficially imported for the PC Engine in Europe. In the game, a fictional galaxy is under attack by an enemy space armada called the Dark Squadron, and this galaxy's only chance for survival is the Gunhed Advanced Star Fighter, who must destroy the Dark Squadron and its Super Weapons. The gameplay features fast vertical scrolling and a wide array of weapons for the player to use.
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Chew Man Fu is a 1990 action video game developed by Now Production and published in Japan by Hudson Soft and in North America by NEC for the TurboGrafx-16.
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Lords of Thunder is a 1993 horizontally scrolling shooter developed by Red Company and published by Turbo Technologies and Hudson Soft for the TurboDuo. It is the unofficial follow-up to Gate of Thunder. The player controls the knight Landis, donning the armor of his ancestor Drak on a confrontation against Zaggart of Garuda Empire, who resurrected the evil god Deoric, and his six dark generals across the land of Mistral.
Star Parodier is a vertical-scrolling shoot 'em up video game developed by Kaneko and published by Hudson Soft for the PC Engine CD-ROM² in 1992. It is a spin-off of the Star Soldier series and was localized for North America as Fantasy Star Soldier. However, this version was never released. The game was released for the Wii Virtual Console on March 7, 2008 in Japan, March 16, 2008 in Europe and later in North America on August 11, 2008. The title is also playable on the Turbografx-16/PC Engine Mini Console.
Dungeon Explorer II is an action role-playing video game developed and originally published by Hudson Soft for the TurboDuo in Japan on March 26, 1993 and in North America by Turbo Technologies in October of the same year. A sequel to 1989's Dungeon Explorer, it is the second installment in the eponymous franchise.
Seirei Senshi Spriggan is a 1991 vertically scrolling shooter video game developed by Compile and published by Naxat Soft in Japan for the PC Engine CD-ROM². In the game, the player assume control of Jega and Rikart piloting the Spriggan in order to protect their country from the Buraizubara empire.
Rayxanber III is a 1992 scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Data West for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM². It is a follow-up to Rayxanber II, which was released earlier in 1991 for the PC Engine CD-ROM², and the last entry in the Rayxanber trilogy. In the game, the player assume the role of a fighter pilot controlling a space craft deployed into the homeworld of the Zoul Empire, in retaliation for the destruction of a mother ship from Earth. It retains the same gameplay as its predecessors, with the players fighting against an assortment of enemy forces while avoiding collision with their projectiles and other obstacles.
Spriggan Mark 2: Re-Terraform Project is a 1992 horizontally scrolling shooter video game developed by Compile and published in Japan by Naxat Soft for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM². It is a follow-up to Seirei Senshi Spriggan (1991). The game follows lieutenant Greg Erwin piloting the armed Bartholomeu armor and later the Spriggan Mark 2 in a war between two opposing forces to decide the fate of a space colony at Mars. The player must fight against waves of enemies to avoid collision with their projectiles and other obstacles, while intermissions between characters during gameplay advances the storyline.