Thursday, 27 August 2015

Thunder Hoop (Arcade)

Thunder Hoop's an arcade platform game by a Spanish company called Gaelco, who have a few games I hope to cover in the future, mainly because unlike a lot of European arcade manufacturers, they did/do seem to actually care about making good games, rather than just makng money (even if they aren't always 100% successful in their endeavours). In fact, they're probably best known for releasing the ROMs for their game World Rally for free and even assisting in it being added to MAME.

But anyway, Thunder Hoop. It feels quite Amiga-esque, in two ways: mechanically, it's obviously inspired by Japanese arcade games, as a lot of the better Amiga games were, and aesthetically it has a kind of particularly European psuedo-anime look to it. The main character even looks kind of like a bootleg Son Goku. Otherwise, it's a fairly typical action-heavy platform game, and a fairly well made one, from a purely mechanical and technical standpoint. There's no wrestling with bad controls, or poor collision detection or anything like that, it all works fine.

The problem is the stage designs. Firstly, though they are at least interesting to navigate (ie. you're always climbing ladders and jumping platforms and so on, rather than just walking across vast flat plains), the stages are also far too long. I haven't timed any of my plays, but they feel like they're around 5 minutes long each, which seems a bit of a slog. Secondly, there are lots of places where enemies just suddenly appear right next to the player literally out of nowhere, giving them almost no time to react. Obviously, these enemies will only get you the first time you reach their spawning point, but it feels cheap and Rick Dangerous-esque, which is bad enough for home games but even worse in an Arcade game.

Though it does have some good points, and it is an admirable effort, I don't really recommend playin Thunder Hoop. Apparently it has two sequels that aren't yet emulated in MAME. I'd definitely be interested in playing them, as TH does show potential, and it'd be nice to see if it was ever realised.

1 comment:

  1. It is indeed a good game and i agree with most of what you say. The levels are mostly fine except for their wrong difficulty order (meaning some later lavels are easier than previous ones, which makes little sense). I would definitely recommend playing it. It's the same mechanics of TOKI with some tweeks here and there and one or two uninspired bosses.