Blades of Thunder reduces the thrills of chopper combat to that of delivering crates of Kentucky Fried Chicken to remote Indian reserves in the Canadian wilderness.

As a budget title, you get what you pay for here. As an arcade style shooter with virtual 3D graphics Blades of Thunder has potential, but the gameplay is boring and repetitive. The concept of using a chopper to take down a terrorist organization seems like only part of the gameplay. There's just not much to do beyond moving your craft to the right and left to avoid enemies while deploying your weapons.

A team of terrorists is planning to hijack oil reserves in the Middle East to fuel its war machine. During missions that take place over land, sea and in the air you will target key installations and secondary targets with various missiles and rockets while defending yourself from air attacks with your machineguns.

The controls are as simple as the gameplay. Strafe left to right to avoid direct hits and press the A or B button to shoot your weapons. A radar located at the bottom right of the screen will show you where the enemy is located. The challenge becomes more difficult as more enemies are introduced on the endlessly scrolling, and ultimately boring, environments. To preclude any slowdown the map scrolls forward and in a fixed position all the time. The camera gives you a top down view of the vaguely-3D graphics which shows some relief of these bland environments. You will take note how the game is set in the Middle East where desert and water comprise most of the relatively flat terrain.

Missions are lengthy and there's no sense of direction or freedom. You're so restricted in your movement that it feels like the game is on-rails which generally speaking, it is. The ground scrolls by for miles and miles with no landmarks to orient yourself - not that you could do anything with that information if it were available since you're always headed in the right direction.

Blades of Thunder serves up the chills instead of thrills. You have to defrost the fun out of this game but since the action never heats up you might want to consider playing this game with gloves. The pace is plodding and the challenge is limited to that of a mini-game. We've played better games than this in the arcade more than 25 years ago, and frankly I wasn't impressed with a lot of those games either.

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System: GBA
Dev: Interactive Vision
Pub: Summitsoft
Release: Feb 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole