Review: Rolling Thunder

Review: Rolling Thunder

Panthers, Lava Men, and guys with different colored hoods. Yep, it time to look at Rolling Thunder!


Year: 1986

Played on: Xbox 360 (via Namco Museum Arcade)

Also on: GCN, Xbox, and PS2 (Namco 50th Anniversary Collection)

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Atari Games


Here My Cry


Date posted: November 30, 2017



Wait, you haven’t heard of Rolling Thunder? Who do you think you are- someone who hasn’t heard of Rolling Thunder of something? RT is a sidescrolling shooter where you play as secret agent Albatross as he infiltrates an enemy base belonging to the dreaded Geldra society to rescue his partner, Lelia Blitz. Albatross’s plan of rescue- shoot everything that moves, of course! Multi-colored hooded baddies, friggin panthers, weird yellow monster guys, giant bats and lava people are no match for Albatross’s gun!

This game is Buzzfeed’s worst nightmare!

The game takes place over five levels as you make your way deeper into the enemy base. After that, you play though the five levels again- but now its much more difficult- new enemy placements and traps await you! Finally, you make to the last area and defeat Geldra’s leader, Maboo (No, I did not make that up!) to finally rescue your downtrodden partner.

This game is incredibly problematic- You have a female character in distress, the enemies bare a uncanny resemblance to KKK members, you have the main character shoot everything to solve his problems, and you shoot innocent panthers. In other words, I love this game! If this game somehow offends you in some way, take my advice- seek help!


Rolling Thunder does a good job of making you feel like a secret agent, like James Bond- if Bond was fighting f@#king huge ass bats in a underground cavern filled with lava and shadow people! Yes, Rolling Thunder starts off like a typical spy thriller shooter but quickly devolves into madness- one moment your in a perfectly sane world shooting terrorists in a warehouse, and the next thing you know, you in a dark cave being hunted by these weird yellow guys. This kind of imaginative game design is why I love arcade games so much!

The variety of enemies is insane!

The shooting mechanics are solid- its pretty gratifying to shoot down everything in your path. You can also go into doors for quick cover, or for some more ammo, or even a new weapon! You can also duck to dodge enemy fire, and jump up a higher level or jump down with relative ease, making movement in the game fun, for the most part.

The game is also challenging as heck- I think most  new players can’t even get past the first stage on their first try! The game is constantly throwing things out you, and it can be quite a fun challenge! OR IS IT?


The game is also challenging as heck- I think most  new players can’t even get past the first stage on their first try! The game is constantly throwing things out you, and it can be quite a frustrating challenge! Hey, am I getting deja vu? Okay, let me explain- this game is hard- really hard! This can either be a pro or con the way I see it- some would take the challenge by the horns, while others will want more leeway.

I doubt that most even get to see these lasers!

Adding to this difficulty is the games options- again, let me explain. Some versions of Rolling Thunder do NOT let you continue after you run out of lives- for example, the Virtual Arcade version only lets you have 5 lives and no continues- that’s incredibly harsh! The version on the 50th anniversary compilation  at the very least let you turn on invincibility- but you were still killed by bottomless pits and lava. The best option is probably the ‘new version’ of the game, which lets the player continue, and if your weenie like me, lets you have an option for invulnerability. In other words, to get any where in this game, just like a lot of Namco’s other games, your really going to have to learn the game inside and out!

This is the point where I always give up.

Another gripe I have with the game is it’s jumping controls, especially in the lava sections. You have to time your jumps perfectly, or else! Add to the fact that those lava men knock you off the edge, and your in for a really bad time! Also, you can’t shoot in the air- not a huge omission, but one addition  I really would of liked to have!


Rolling Thunder is a pretty good side-scrolling shooter platformer that’s hard as hell. I recommend getting the version that comes in the Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Collection just for the invincibility cheat- yes, the game is that hard! If your looking for a challenging bat-s@#t crazy game, then look no further then Rolling Thunder!


Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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