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Gate of Thunder

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Released: 1992

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: PC EngCD/TurboGrafxCD

Publisher: Hudson

Developer: Red

Submitted by: Damian Butt

Despite appearing to be a very standard, missionary position horizontal shooter, Gate of Thunder is one of the finest games of its genre on the PCE .

Although not obviously earth shattering, the graphics are vibrantly colourful and silky smooth with some impressive parallax in places. The music too, is worthy of note, with some excellent metallic riffage that suits the game perfectly.

What really makes the game sing is the wonderful, well paced gameplay and inspired power up system. As well as satellites that can fire forwards or backwards with a quick double-tap, the different types of firepower can be selected at will once collected.

Most importantly, the  game doesnt punish you too badly when you die, as its relatively quick and easy to start powering up your weapons again. This makes progress smoother and less exacting/frustrating than the likes of the Gradius series, for example.

Gate of Thunder is a superb PCE alternative to the Thunderforce series, with only the slightly weedy bosses letting the side down.

Its sequel, Winds Of Thunder (Lords of Thunder in the US) is a very different game, more superficially impressive but less well balanced overall.

A brilliant shooter, also availible on the Wii Virtual Console.