There comes a time that you pick up a new game for a console and you immediately realize that this is the game that defines that console. Obviously, this is a rare thing, and you know that you've found a true gem when it happens. When you play Gate of Thunder, you will realize that you have found that game.
The TurboGrafx is known for its shooters. In fact, you could almost say that shooters are a dime a dozen on NEC's much beloved console. If anyone knows how to get the most out of the TurboGrafx hardware, though, it's Hudson. Once again, the people who brought you Bomberman have struck gold with a shooter for the ages.
You know the story...you're the last hope to save the universe from endless hordes of aliens. However, this is the game that the Super CD format was made for. If it were my guess, I'd have to say that this game probably sold more TurboDuos than any other game.
Let's start with sound. As far as I'm concerned, Gate of Thunder has the best CD audio soundtrack of any game on the system. It's the kind of soundtrack that you'd actually enjoy listening to in your car. Sure, it's 80's metal through and through, but when you have hair like Axl Rose's, that's pretty much all that you listen to. Even when you don't consider the soundtrack, quality voice samples are abundant in this title, and sound effects are top notch.
It won't take you long to notice that Gate of Thunder's graphics follow suit with its sound. Sprites are colorful and there are many large enemies with detailed animation and very little flicker to be found. The only problem with all this graphical splendor is that it all comes at you too fast to enjoy it for very long.
Top Notch gameplay is a must for any shooter worth its wait in gold. Hudson came through in the clutch with responsive control. The power-up system is not the most innovative I've seen, but there is a decent variety there, and it's quite easy to get the hang of cycling through the available array of weapons. If there were one thing that I would ask for, it would probably be the addition of two player gaming. Unfortunately, the TurboGrafx is quite short on multi-player games in general, due to its built-in limitation of a single controller port.
If there's a single game that you must own on Super CD, this may very well be the one. Gate of Thunder brings non-stop action, intense graphics, and a blistering CD soundtrack to the table. What's even better is the fact that it was one of the TurboDuo pack-in games, so you can probably pick it up for a relatively reasonable price. Do yourself a favor and head out to your favorite game store today. Believe me, you'll be thanking me later!