Review: Thunder Wolves (PSN)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw7dUSllWyk

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.

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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.

thunder620

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

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18 Comments

  1. 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.

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

  2. I want this.

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

    • 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 ;)

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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*

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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

  7. 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.

    Regards,
    Amphlett

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

  9. 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?!…

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

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