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Review: Thunder Wolves (PSN)

Thunder, Thunder, Thunderwolves... HO!

Thunder Wolves is a relic of a bygone age, the days when Arnie and Sly rampaged across the cinema screen and video games were as subtle as a rocket launcher to the face. Annoying Yankee Doodle Dandy voice-overs and a plot you would not waste the back of a cigarette packet to write it on make this the biggest tribute to 80’s arcade gaming since Renegade Ops.

Your chain gun never runs out ammo or overheats, your missiles resupply after a few moments, and crashing your chopper into the side of a mountain does little more than extract a sweary joke from your mercenary co-star, Max. Of course, you may not hear what he has to say due to the cacophony of explosions and the never-ending heavy metal soundtrack.

There is a plot but it’s nothing more than a screen of text before each mission voiced by a snarky American lady – a prelude to making everything explode. After making everything explode you can turbo boost over to your next objective of blowing the crap out of something else while Max and chums swear gleefully across the radio.

Shortly after everything has been blown to pieces you may get a mission which finds you taking the gunner seat on the chopper or an on-rails section during which you can blow further stuff to the heavens and yet another mission finds you piloting a mini drone helicopter through a bunker and blowing the crap out of enemies.

As you may expect, the controls are simple, with a press of L3 or R3 changing the altitude of your helicopter, square releasing chaff to deflect homing missiles and R1 and R2 are for blowing stuff up and blasting things to bits respectively. There are around ten helicopters to fly and as you progress you can unlock new skins and new choppers, each with their own weapons and abilities, all of which help blow things up in spectacular fashion.

Thunder Wolves sports patchy graphics and a frame rate that’s downright dodgy, with the audio comprising of a mess of explosions, swearing and shred metal; if this game was released a couple years ago it would be perfectly acceptable but with next generation around the corner the game can, at times, look decidedly below par.


Despite its shortcomings Thunder Wolves does one thing superbly which, in case you had not guessed, is flying an angel of death and destroying everything on screen.

A couple of the levels stand out, one of which is a night time attack on a oil rig that turns in to a battle against a super tanker decked out with AA batteries. This followed by a sniper section and a final boss battle with Crazy Khalid in his helicopter. Of course, at the end of the level Khalid decides to blow everything up, just for good measure.

With thirteen levels Thunder Wolves is rather short and takes around four hours to complete, but the inclusion of a local co-operative mode means it’s the perfect game for some post-pub action. Player one controls the chopper and launches flares whilst player two is the gunner, it’s stupid amounts of fun which will have you shouting “Yeehaa!” and fist-bumping your mates.

What’s Good

  • A well-balanced arcade shooter.
  • Occasional sniper and bombing missions break up the action.
  • Co-operative campaign adds value.
  • You can blow everything up. Including trees.

What’s Bad

  • Frame rate judders when things get hectic.
  • Constant sweary radio chatter can get annoying.
  • Graphics are lush in some parts but awful in others.

We are used to console games being sprawling epics with plots that Shakespeare would be proud of these days, but sometimes you may want to switch off your brain and blow the crap out of some pixels. Thunder Wolves is the type of game that has been rarely seen this generation, even less so on the PSN which has very few all-out shooters compared to the Xbox Live Marketplace.

It’s trashy, loud, single minded and not without a number of annoyances and flaws. However the utter stupidity and carnage of the game is infectious and there is nothing really like this on the PSN so for those reasons, I am going to award it an explosive and controversial:

Score: 8/10

  1. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    I would’ve been really interested in this if it had online coop, unfortunately I’m a saddo and have nobody to sit next to me on the sofa to blow shit up. I’ll give it a miss then.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 11:10.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      Ah, tits! Local co-op only? That’s my desire to purchase out of the window. No sale.

      Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:24.
  2. scavenga
    Since: Jul 2009

    I want this.

    Sorry if I overlooked it in the article, but when is it out?

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:15.
    • OnlineAssassin77
      Since: Jun 2012

      it’s been out a good few weeks now, infact just over a month going on the info in the little info box on the right ;)

      Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:20.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      It looks like it was on the store but has been pulled, not sure why. I’ve contacted the publishers to find out what’s going on.

      BTW from what I can tell the 360 version also has a choppy (ha) frame rate.

      Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:23.
      • OnlineAssassin77
        Since: Jun 2012

        I know it was on there as i considered a purchase a few weeks back,maybe they pulled it to fix the frame rate issues.

        Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:31.
      • scavenga
        Since: Jul 2009

        Ah, cheers very much for the info.

        I must have missed it upon launch, or perhaps it wasn’t made available on the Norwegian store..?

        …”choppy frame rate”… *chuckles*

        Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 13:04.
  3. OnlineAssassin77
    Since: Jun 2012

    A lot of things use Triple A batteries these days, nice to have that bit of nostalgia with the super tanker using Double A’s, but are they EverReady.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:16.
  4. three_leg_jake
    Since: Aug 2011

    I loved the chopper shoot ’em up section of FC3 so this may be right up my street.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 12:24.
  5. hazelam
    Since: Feb 2009

    reminds me of the old MegaCD game Thunderhawk, only prettier.
    given the title i’m guessing that was one of the inspirations for this game.

    i really enjoyed that game, i might enjoy this, i’d have to give the demo a try first though.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 14:33.
  6. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    Never heard of this before, and it sounds alright, but I would have prefered if it was a little less arcade style and a tad more realistic.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 15:06.
    • freezebug2
      Since: Dec 2008

      It’s ok, played a few levels last night and it’s in that ‘Renegade ops’ type genre that I always like….blow up shit. The loading screen time is a bit abysmal though and frame rate does chop around but aside from that it is alright.
      I’d recommend Renegade ops if you like this type of game though…quality!

      Comment posted on 25/07/2013 at 08:49.
      • cam the man
        Since: May 2009

        It’s a good fun game but like you say the loading times are terrible, you could strip down an Apache engine while it’s loading.

        Comment posted on 26/07/2013 at 18:15.
      • freezebug2
        Since: Dec 2008

        Yeah, it’s actually teetering on ‘gamebreaker’ territory for me. I really don’t have any patience for loading screens dragging their arses like a spoilt child in supermarket walking past the sweets aisle!
        The problem is at it’s worst if you get killed and have to restart the last checkpoint, then wait and wait, oh….and then wait! :P

        Comment posted on 27/07/2013 at 09:31.
  7. Amphlett
    Since: Jul 2009

    Dear TSA,
    I have just read through your “Thunder Wolves” review for the PS3 and feel that I must air my deepest disappointment with your review. Despite the article being written by the usually witty, tongue in cheek writer Tuffcub, and there being ample opportunity for double-entendre, I counted not one reference to ‘big choppers’, not one. This is below the standard I have come expect from Tuffcub and TSA.

    Please TSA, please ensure that Tuffcub inserts big choppers more often and when Tuffcub, or any of your staff, inserts a big chopper I would like to know about it.


    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 22:04.
  8. coruscant
    Since: Oct 2010

    Thought about getting it, still not sure after playing the demo… may pick it up at some stage soon.

    Comment posted on 24/07/2013 at 22:04.
  9. funkyellowmonkey(ps3 id)
    Since: Forever

    Tried it but couldn’t get the hang of the flight controls – there is no option to invert the controls either, which is odd as most games that aren’t flying games have the option to?!…

    Comment posted on 25/07/2013 at 23:33.
  10. lambchop
    Since: Aug 2013

    Now this looks like a classic that I’ve missed!!

    Comment posted on 09/04/2014 at 14:57.

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