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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

Eugene Lacey
Chris Bourne

Ocean prove that two guns are better than one in this Op Wolf sequel.

Ocean are getting good mileage out of their Taito tie up. So far the Japanese coin op manufacturer have provided the company with home version hits of New Zealand Story, Operation Wolf, Chase HQ and now the follow up to Operation Wolf, the best selling game of Christmas '88.

Thunderbolt's two Uzi sub machine guns mounted atop its massive cabinet have made it a favourite amongst younger gamers. But this is no toy for tiny tots - there is a tough game challenge in there that will appeal to players of all ages.

Your excuse for pulling the trigger is that aircraft hijackers are holding hostages deep in the African jungle. The government decides to get tough and sends in the commandos, which is where you come into it, clutching your joystick or light-gun.

The game improves on the original horizontally scrolling levels of Op. Wolf by featuring some 3D scenarios; the depressing truth, however, is that the real appeal still lies in simple gun lust. This is not a game for pacifists, or indeed for anyone with the slightest moral qualms about armed combat.

To succeed in rescuing the hostages you have to battle through eight tough levels without letting your life barometer tick down to zero. Your on-screen presence is no more than the gun sights of your machine gun, and during the fusillade, rocket launchers, additional ammunition, bullet proof vests, grenades, and medical packs can be picked up by shooting these items as they appear.

The first level challenges you to blast your way through various foot soldiers until you find the enemy spy. Pump him for information and then you are on to level Two - the Ammunition Dump. The simple aim here is to replenish your supplies.

Level Three places you at the wheels of a jeep and is one of the more impressive 3D levels. Your aim here is to reach the enemy hideout where some of the hostages have been taken.

Level Four gives you your chance to rescue the first of the hostages - but you will need to be an accurate shot to do so - you liberate the unfortunate fellows by shooting the locks off the doors. There is a heavily armed officer at the end of this level who is out to stop you.

You take to the water in a gun boat in Level Five in an attempt to reach the enemy HQ. You will need to save some rockets for this level to take out the heavily armed enemy craft that speed towards you. Level Six takes you inside the HQ where more hostages are to be held by heavily armed senior officers.

The last two levels take you to the airport where you battle your way to the remains of the hijacked DC 10 and free the remainder of the hostages. The climax calls for accurate shooting as you fight your way down the central aisle of the jetliner shooting the terrorists without hitting any of the hostages.

Apart from the attractive static screens between levels, there are plenty of surprises to be had by shooting incidental things that appear in your line of vision. All too often these turn out to be unfortunate animals who have strayed into the battle zone.

Operation Thunderbolt is at its best with a light gun - emulating the feel of the coin-op original far better than using the joystick to move your cross hair around the screen. The relatively simple screen presentation also lends itself very well to home conversion - even on 8-bit the game plays recognizably like the arcade machine. This is a fast and furious shoot 'em up with a good, planned, increase in difficulty and graphical rewards to sustain interest.

Reviewer: Eugene Lacey

Atari ST, £19.99dk, Imminent
Amiga, £24.99dk, Out Now
Spec, £9.99cs, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.99cs, Out Now
C64/128, £9.99cs, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 55/100
1 hour: 65/100
1 day: 60/100
1 week: 52/100
1 month: 48/100
1 year: 20/100

This will keep you amused for a while but doesn't really have long term staying power.


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Very impressive graphically - despite being in black and white in the main action window. Loses the feel of the coin-op slightly in the sound FX department. Op Thunderbolt is heavily dependent on sound to create the impression of battlefield mayhem and the Speccy struggles a bit with this. All of the levels are here though - and the game is every bit a playable as some of the bigger machine versions.


All eight levels are included on a multi-load system. Much better graphics and animation than in Op Wolf and featuring full colour in the battle sequences. A good variety of sound FX have been incorporated to synchronise with the variety of weapons at your disposal.

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 7/10

IQ Factor: 4/10

Fun Factor: 8/10

Ace Rating: 815/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 55/100

1 hour: 65/100

1 day: 60/100

1 week: 52/100

1 month: 48/100

1 year: 20/100


A massive improvement on Operation Wolf and incredibly close to the coin-op. Absolutely everything has been included - right down to the commiseration screens when you fail the mission. Sounds identical to the coin-op when you turn it up loud and plays superbly with the mouse. Arguably Ocean's best coin-op conversion yet.

Graphics: 9/10

Audio: 8/10

IQ Factor: 4/10

Fun Factor: 8/10

Ace Rating: 927/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 75/100

1 hour: 85/100

1 day: 75/100

1 week: 70/100

1 month: 50/100

1 year: 25/100

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After Operation Wolf the going is about to get tougher, so the tough had better get going!