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Thunderjaws logo

Zeppelin * £7.99

Thunderjaws A horizontal scrolling scuba diving shoot-‘em-up and a leaping platform romp. You swim through a nest of nasties to reach a platform section then go back into the water. It is a multi-level, multi-style game that stresses joystick action above cerebral functions. Bright and colourful graphics that animate. That is being polite.

Thunderjaws lacks real bite as the action offers little variety despite the regular changes of environment. There is no real spectacle and little threat. Thunderjaws was a weak arcade and not surprisingly the computer version fares little better.
Trenton Webb

Verdict: 51%

Amiga Format, Issue 28, November 1991, p.102


Thunderjaws logo

Domarks Umsetzungen von Tengen-Automaten sind manchmal eine etwas verwaschene Angelegenheit, am Amiga sind ja jüngst erst "Hydra" und "Stun Runner" baden gegangen. Und wie's aussieht, sind auch die Donnerhaie eher ein Schlag ins Wasser.

Thunderjaws ...oder vielmehr ein Sturm im Wasserglas: Madame Q entführt harmlose Schwimmerinnen in ihr Tiefseelabor, um sie als Versuchskarnickel für ihre Gen-Experimente zu mißbrauchen. So geht es natürlich nicht, also zwängen sich ein oder zwei Spieler in die Gummihaut und nehmen den Kampf gegen bissige Haie und schießwütige Taucher auf.

Unter Wasser ruckelt der Meeresgrund horizontal durchs Bild, Freund und Feind bewegen sich ausgesprochen träge – das mag ja realistisch sein, besonders amüsant ist es nicht. So paddelt man also dahin, killt die Gegner mit der Harpune und sammelt ihre Hinterlassenschaft (Energiepillen und wenig hilfreiche Extrawaffen) ein. Nicht weiter schwierig, schon bald ist der Eingang zu Madame Q's erster Höhle erreicht, wo es im Laufschritt Cyber-Punks und Techno-Spinnen an den Kragen geht. Allerdings tauchen oft so viele Gegner gleichzeitig auf, daß es hier ebenso schnell den eigenen fünf Leben an den Kragen geht!

Tja, und so wechselt sich halt fades Tauchen mit unfairen Fußmärschen ab, für ein bißchen Abwechslung sorgen allein die Zwischengegner. Dabei geriet die technische Ausführung fast so schlampig, wie das Gameplay einfallslos ist: mittelprächtige Grafik, 08/15-Musik und FX, mangelhafte Kollisionsabfrage und endlose Wartezeiten. Nö, Thunderjaws ist wirklich zu dünn (flüssig), da gucken wir doch lieber unserem Goldfisch zu... (rl)

Amiga Joker, November 1991, p.46

Amiga Joker
Grafik: 54%
Sound: 46%
Handhabung: 31%
Spielidee: 29%
Dauerspaß: 30%
Preis/Leistung: 32%

Red. Urteil: 33%
Für Fortgeschrittene
Preis: ca. 89,- DM
Hersteller: Domark/Tengen
Genre: Action

Spezialität: Zwei Disks, Pausemodus, Highscores werden nicht gesaved.

Thunderjaws logo

thunderjaws A bit of a sleeper in its arcade form, Thunderjaws has finally made it to the Amiga after a six-month development time.

Unfortunately, though, the premise set by the game's brilliant scenario isn't quite borne out by the game itself. Set in the not-too-distant future, the voluptuous but thoroughly evil Madame Q has set up a sprawling underwater base and is kidnapping thousands of beautiful babes for her unnatural experiments. Thus, with a shortage of well-rounded cuties about to hit the western hemisphere, the government has acted by sending in a team of experts to free the hostages and put an end to Madame Q's meddling.

Converted from the obscure Tengen coin-op, Thunderjaws is the work of Neil Harding and Lloyd Baker, who have been battling with the conversion since January. However, although the gameplay has been recreated faithfully, it still comes across as tired and, frankly, far from exciting or addictive. These problems have been inherited from the coin-op, though, so fans of both the arcade parent and the Amiga version of Rolling Thunder (which Thunderjaws is the unofficial sequel to) should be happy with the conversion. In all, Madame Q's aquatic base spans thirteen areas, and standing between our two lantern-jawed heroes and the final face-off are a series of horizontally-scrolling stages featuring all manner of mutated and robotic nasties.

Before the game enters its familiar Rolling Thunder territory, the actual gameplay is split into two distinct gamestyles, with the two heroes initially left to swim through shark and mine-infested waters until they reach one of the bases. Starting out in the murky seas leading up to the first base, the diver (or divers in two-player mode) start the game armed with a trusty harpoon and an unlimited supply of spears. From either side of the screen, cybernetic sharks, enemy divers, and assorted mines appear, and these must be avoided or one of your three lives will be lost. The coin-op's sprites were large and bold, with massive bio-mechanical sharks and suitably beefy divers pouncing on the unwitting player, and to say that the conversions' sprites are a little disappointing is a massive understatement. I understand that Domark were forced to reduce them so that the entire game could be squeezed into the Amiga, but the tiny divers and miniature sharks are far from impressive and can hardly be described as imposing or menacing and give the game an unfortunate 8-bit look.

Things start to look up on entering the base itself. The puny sprites of the underwater section are replaced by chunkier and more colourful characters, and there are some impressive end-of-level guardians. However, the animation undermines this initial good impression. As progress is made towards the wayward Madame Q, the levels start to expand with the addition of ladders which take the game away from the normally horizontally-scrolling area, and into a large, eight-way-scrolling shoot 'em up. However, as he struggles up the ladder, the animation on the main character is nothing short of laughable, and mars an otherwise good section.

These two gamestyles are swapped between as the two heroes progress, and the levels get harder as the enemy's intelligence is raised. The original coin-op was very cash-intensive, with the enemy attacking in their droves, and the necessary extra weaponry rarely available (unless more cash was inserted). In the cause of good gameplay, though, Neil has incorporated a system where the weapons appear slightly before you need them, and this makes the game far more playable. I don't want to sound unnecessarily hard on Thunderjaws because as conversions go it is more than satisfying.
However, the disappointing graphics and animation let it down badly and make an otherwise playable game look worse than it is. The improvements that Neil has made over the coin-op make the game easier to get into and more addictive to play, but my overall impression is of a weak game.

A playable conversion, but one for die-hard fans of the coin-op and its predecessor only methinks.
Steve Merrett

CU Amiga, August 1991, pp.91-92

DRAWING THE LINE… The recent batch of arcade machines enable the player to complete them simply by pumping wads of cash into them. And whilst these massive beasts feature incredible graphics, the added difficulty means they are far from playable. This particularly affects conversions, too, and just recently a line has had to be drawn so that a good balance between playability and difficulty is kept, whilst ensuring that the changes don't impair the gameplay at all. Thunderjaws is a perfect example of this, and the original coin-op's extra weapons were scattered liberally through the game and would expire just when they were needed the most. However, The Kremlin's John Kavanagh (the leader of the Thunderjaws team) wanted to make the game as playable as possible, and asked Neil to come up with a better system. And the result does actually make a difference without sacrificing the closeness of the conversion.

DOMARK £25.99
A playable but graphically weak conversion.