SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC launches for Switch on May 28


Nintendo Switch will soon get another classic shoot-’em-up to add to its library, with SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC set for release in the West on May 28 (May 29 in New Zealand).

First released in December 1990, Thunder Force AC was an arcade port of Thunder Force III for Sega Genesis. Unlike Thunder Force‘s top-view, free-roaming design and Thunder Force II‘s mixture of top-view and side-scrolling levels, Thunder Force III is a pure side-scrolling shooter.

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC, like the rest of the SEGA AGES line-up, is developed by M2, a studio with an impressive history of retro ports. They did the SEGA 3D Classics ports for Nintendo 3DS, Konami’s various Anniversary collections, Collection of Mana, and the retro arcade games found within Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6: Song of Life.

A screenshot from SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC, showing the game being played in a window surrounded by artwork

Features of this release include:

Arcade Mode, a faithful adaptation of the original arcade release featuring three other unlockable ships lifted from later Thunder Force titles (FIRE LEO-04 RYNEX, FIRE LEO-04 RYNEX with the Thunder Claw weapon, and FIRE LEO-3 STYX MP Mass Production Model)

A Kids Mode to help you on your mission by providing increased attack power, additional credits (9 instead of 6), and the ability to retain your weapons even after your ship has been destroyed, among other adjustments

Two different sets of Leaderboards – “Expert” for those that play the game with its default settings enabled, and “Freestyle” for when the settings have been changed

The option to save and view Replays, including those from the leaderboards!

A range of SEGA AGES enhancements including stereo sound for most of the music and sound effects, HD Rumble, a CRT-like “Vintage” display, a “Cabinet” mode letting you relive that arcade ambiance, and save states, so any pilot error becomes a distant memory.

A screenshot from SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC, showing the game being played on a digital arcade cabinet.

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC is already up for preorder on the Switch eShop, priced at US$7.99 / AU$10.95 / NZ$11.95. It launched in Japan earlier this month for 999 yen.

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC finds itself in good company, with the Switch is fast becoming a shmup powerhouse. It’s already home to ported classics like Ikaruga, Thunder Force IV, Fantasy Zone, the Psikyo Shooting Stars collections, as well as excellent newcomers like Black Bird and Rolling Gunner. (I just hope CAVE comes to the party soon—Switch versions of DoDonPachi and Mushihimesama would be wonderful.)


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Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.