Thunder Force 4

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a game by Technosoft
Genres: Action, Flying, Shooting Games
Platform: Sega GenesisGenesis
Editor Rating: 7.8/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 5.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Thunder Force Games

Thunder Force 4 was released in 1992, almost two decades ago, and surprisingly the game stands the test of time. The game is a horizontal shoot ‘em up that puts the player in the shoes of a fighter pilot against the Ohn empire. Players are tasked with exterminating swarms of enemies as you move horizontally, vertically all around the screen, dodging, shooting, while searching for different power-ups.

Critical reception for the titles was superb, with some of the biggest media outlets praising it as one of the best shoot ‘em ups of their era. The game was also beloved by fans from the SEGA Genesis era, the love and quality from the game was adamant that a re-release was issued, under a new name and title, but nonetheless it maintained its status as one of the best shooting scrollers of all time.

Carving a Path

Thunder Force IV, was the precursor to a lot of mechanics and styles that were reprised through time, the most recent one was Cuphead. The multiple stages followed by a boss, while not a perfect replica can already be found in this game almost 30 years earlier. We also have the freedom of choice between the first levels of the game, which opens the possibility for players to design their own path, even if it quickly vanishes as you progress through the game.

As for gameplay you have control of your speed all the way throughout the game which improves maneuverability all around. There really isn’t any reason not to use 100% of your engine as more speed equals more dodging capabilities in this title, there are very few drawbacks. For the core mechanics of the game, the shooting part, players can find multiple weapons and power-ups, and are free to swap on-the-go, which provides a lot of customization, replayability, and self-imposed challenges.

Thunderous Applause

The game has two modes, an original one, and one called Styx mode, in the former you pilot the Rynex ship, while on the Styx mode you fly the Styx one, which is the vehicle from Thunder Force III. Speaking of original titles, this game has been re-release on the Nintendo Switch, and depending on your console of choice the game might look, play and obviously feel better optimized. That’s not to say the SEGA Genesis version was bad, but it did have its stutters, performance issues and the occasional glitches, whereas the Switch - by sheer power - provides a much more fluid adventure.


Still, whichever version you find yourself gaming this game is one of the most fun, versatile, and entertaining of its genre. It might look dated, but it has amazing core mechanics that are bound to satisfy the nostalgia of older gamers, as well as grab the attention of new players. There’s isn’t much left to say, the game shines by executing wonderfully the simplest concepts of the shoot ‘em up genre.


If you enjoyed the Thunder Force series, Cuphead, Guilty, Galaga, Contra, and many other classics this is a must play. The game is extremely challenging, has an awesome metal soundtrack, and never feels boring.


  • Challenging
  • Extremely Fun
  • High-Replayability
  • Parallax Scrolling
  • Boss Fights


  • Not Optimized Depending on The Version
  • Very Short Campaign
  • Sound Design

Download Thunder Force 4


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Game Reviews

  • Manufacturer: Technosoft
  • Machine: Mega Drive

One of the most successful series of shooters for the Genesis is the Thunder Force series. The last game TF3 set new standards in side-scrolling action games. Now, the fourth in the series is on its way, and it looks even hotter! While it is presently very incomplete, what we saw impressed us!

The Thunder is back! With the unparalleled success of TF 3, it seemed impossible to surpass this shooter! Enter Thunder Force IV!

This shooter contains such action, you will be sweating bullets before long! A vast array of power-ups, incredibly huge bosses and an awesome soundtrack are just a part of this fantastic shooter! All the parallax scrolling will blow you away!

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots