Thunder Force IV: The Greatest SHMUP of the 16-bit Generation

SHMUP Master Presents: Thunder Force IV!

In this video I show you why Thunder Force IV is one of the greatest 16-bit SHMUPS of all time. From a detailed examination of the game itself, to an epic boss rush at the end. You’ve probably never seen a Retro Gaming video quite like this before.

This video also features original covers of 5 songs featured in the game including the classic Metal Squad. Played on screaming heavy metal guitar by Julian Kogasu.

Feedback and suggestions for future videos are always welcomed!

*95% of footage was captured on a model 1 Sega Genesis console (modded for PAL play) through a Framemeister using RGB at 60fps.


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  1. Holy shit, this was one of the best goddamn gaming videos I’ve ever seen on YouTube. I immediately subbed.

    I’m glad that someone else agrees with me that Thunder Force IV/Lightening Force is the best shooter of its time. Gaiares and MUSHA may give it a run for its money, but TFIV is still my personal favorite. Nothing on SNES comes close, if you ask me.

    A couple of things that I really liked about TF IV that I think are worth mentioning:

    1- While it may be very difficult, I like how you get a level select of four stages from the outset. That way, if you completely suck at the game, you can still experience four different stages until you get good enough to beat them. I wish Ghouls & Ghosts games would do something like this.

    2- Most games put the best stages at the beginning to draw players in, and by the end of a game, the levels repeat or feel a bit like filler. TF IV does the reverse. The later stages are far more impressive, with bigger bosses, more imaginative settings, and the best music tracks in the game. It goes from being a great game to a fantastic one at about stage 5, and I think that it’s awesome that players are rewarded for doing well and incentivized to play the later stages.

    Great, great video.

  2. Thanks for the kind words! It is much appreciated :).

    And very good points on being able to choose which stage you want to start on at the outset. It certainly effected the way I played and gave the game more of a strategic element. And yeah, the game really does ramp up later on. Although I’d argue that there are few SHMUP levels as iconic as Strite. That stage is a testament to what can be done with the Genesis hardware when used properly. Truly unforgettable.

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