Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar

a game by Technosoft

Platform: Sega GenesisGenesis

Genres: Flying, Shooting Games

Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar

Warm up your thumbs, video pilots, a terrific new shooter's in town! Presenting 10 dynamic stages and squadrons of challenging enemies, Lightening Force is a thrilling, one- player, Genesis side-scroller by Techno Soft, the company that developed 1990's classic shooter, Thunder Force III. Lightening Force could correctly be called "Thunder Force IV," and it could be destined for classic status.

The Dark Side of Lightening

Let's get a few nitpicks out of the way. First, there's occasional slow-down when the action gets too hot (but with so much happening on-screen, you might appreciate a moment to catch your breath). Second, the voice announcing the pickup of new weapons isn't always clear. Finally, why the name Lightening? As in "to lighten?" Do they mean Lightning, as in thunderbolts? Okay, we'll lighten up.

ProTip: Grab a Blade whenever possible. This effective weapon packs a multiple wallop!

Use the Force

Having picked those nits, let's get to the game. And what a game it is, starring some of the best shooter graphics the Genesis has had to offer in a long time. As your fighter mounts a 10-stage attack on the military planet of the Kha-Oss Legion, you zoom from colorful seas to swirling sand storms and on to ice regions, underground caves, and labyrinthine technomazes. It's a breathtaking show.

Check out the stunning topographies of Stage 1. The multi-scrolling clouds, mountains, and sea flash with the colors and details of gorgeous paintings.

  • The underwater Stage 1 boss will detach to take the fight to the surface. Dive into the waves when it fires at you.
  • Destroy Stage Vs huge battleship that swings a nasty mechanical claw, by firing at the orb glowing in the heart of the ship.

Impressive details keep coming. In Stage 2, enemies crash into the desert with a burst of sand, then burrow away. The boss in Stage 3 is protected by a 3D ring of spinning spheres. The Stage 4 sky teems with the twisted ships of the enemy fleet. They're the best effects this side of a George Lucas movie.

  • To nail the boss in Baser, blast its body.
  • Stay between the Stage 3 boss's twin missiles while attacking its center.

Lightening's Force

There are 10 weapons available to you. You start with two types (the Twin Shot and the Back Shot), and you can replace them along the way. Throughout the game, the weapon you're using appears in a display at the top of your screen, and you can easily and quickly switch to a different weapon without pausing. Your ultimate weapon is the Thunder Sword, while your best defense is the Shield. Use these sparingly!

  • The boss in Stage 4 is tenacious. Dodge its flying discs and fire at its back. When flames appear from its rear, jet in front of the boss and fire backwards to reveal its vulnerable target.

Let Lightening Strike

Lightening Force's got the look you'll want to know better, plus non-stop, shoot-em-up action that'll keep you happily blasting. You'll come for the graphics, but you'll stay for the action. The perfect combination.

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