Thunder Blade

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Thunder Blade
Thunder Blade arcade flyer.jpg
Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Composer(s) Koichi Namiki
Platform(s) Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX, Master System, TurboGrafx-16, Sharp X68000, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo 3DS
Genre(s) Combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Single-player
Arcade system Sega X Board

Thunder Blade (Japanese: サンダーブレード, Hepburn: Sandāburēdo) is a helicopter-based third-person shooter originally released in arcades in 1987. Players control a helicopter to destroy enemy vehicles. It has similarities to the Blue Thunder film and TV franchise of the early 1980s.


The game was released as a standard stand-up arcade cabinet that introduced the use of force feedback, as the joystick vibrates during gameplay. A helicopter shaped sit-down model was released, replacing the force feedback with a cockpit seat that moves in tandem with the joystick. [1]

Versions of the game were later released for the Master System, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, TurboGrafx-16, Sharp X68000, and ZX Spectrum. The Nintendo 3DS remake was released as a 3D Classic in Japan on August 20, 2014, [2] in North America and Europe on May 14, 2015, [3] and in Australia on July 2, 2015. [4]

A follow-up, Super Thunder Blade , was released exclusively for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.


Arcade version screenshot. ARC Thunder Blade.png
Arcade version screenshot.

The game's plot and setting resemble the 1983 film and 1984 TV series of Blue Thunder . The player controls a helicopter gunship using its chain gun and missiles to destroy enemy tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles and structures, to save his home country. Levels are in either a top-down or third-person perspective view. The boss levels are in the top-down view.


Review scores
Crash 91% [5]
CVG 82% [6]
Sinclair User 87% [7]
Your Sinclair 9/10 [8]
The Games Machine 85% [9]
CrashCrash Smash

The game was well-received. In Japan, Game Machine listed Thunder Blade on their January 15, 1988 issue as being the fourth most-successful upright arcade unit of the year. [10] 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". [8]

The game earned the Golden Joystick Console Award in 1988–1989.[ citation needed ]

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  1. Thunder Blade at the Killer List of Videogames
  2. Brian (August 7, 2014). "3D Thunder Blade hitting the Japanese 3DS eShop on August 20". Nintendo Everything. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  3. Julian (May 12, 2015). "SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Thunder Blade – Part 1". SEGA Blog. SEGA. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  4. Doolan, Liam (3 July 2015). "3D Out Run, Thunder Blade And Fantasy Zone I & II Now Available On The eShop In Australia". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  5. "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  6. "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  7. "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  8. 1 2 "Thunder Blade". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01.
  9. "World of Spectrum - Archive - Magazine viewer".
  10. "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. 15 January 1988. p. 21.