P47 Thunderbolt: The Freedom Fighter logo

FIREBIRD £24.99 * Joystick or Keyboard

The P47 Thunderbolt was one of the American Air Force's best fighters during World War II. From 1943 onwards, P47s were based in Britain and were principally used for short-range sorties over northern France.

In this one or two player shoot-em-up, converted from the Jaleco coin-op of the same name, the player gets the chance to climb in the cockpit of one such plane and work his way through eight stages of mayhem.

It's a side-viewed horizontal scroller which moves slowly from left to right, where the player has to destroy not only ground targets, such as gun turrets and tanks, but also enemy planes which attack from all parts of the screen and usually come in waves.

You're armed with a front-firing gun initially but extra weapons can be collected by shooting the small helicopters that appear occasionally and collecting the symbols which they leave behind.
The power-ups that are available include bombs that fall from your plane every time you press the fire button - whilst still firing forwards as well - and spray missiles which fire from the front of your plane and then spread out in a fan formation killing anything they touch (very handy!).

Unlike most games of this ilk, the strength of your power-up is governed by the strength of the plane. Every time you collect a power-up, your energy level increases, starting at one and rising to a maximum of four.
Your energy level determines the number of extra weapons that each power-up releases: for example if you collect a bomb power-up, one bomb is released for each level of energy, so you will find that you can have four bombs dropping out each and every time you press the fire button.

Note though, that once you've collected a power-up, collecting another will discard the first because you cannot have more than one at once. The nice thing is that you don't loose the extra weapon when you lose a life, it just steps down a strength level.

Work your way through the stages (avoiding the scenery on some levels) and before progressing to the next level you have to destroy the end-of-level guardian which could be either a train, a battleship, a plane or a tank. Should you make it though all eight stages you can then go back and do the whole thing again at a higher difficulty level (of which there are four), which is where the simultaneous two player option comes in extremely useful.


The parallax scrolling on each level is good and the background graphics in general are excellent. The sprites are all well drawn and well animated and the game has ended up looking very much like its coin-op parent. The sound is limited to either 'on' when you get the standard coin-op tunes plus spot effects explosions and the like) or 'off' when you get nothing at all.


Like all shoot-em-ups, it has a limited life span. It's a goodie though, so if you really fancy a new challenge this is as good as anything that's around at the moment (and a lot better than some others).


A nice example of the genre. It doesn't offer much new, but blast fans won't be disappointed and the two player option, as ever, makes for a lot of fun.

P47 Thunderbolt: The Freedom Fighter logo

Die horizontal scrollenden Ballergames kommen einfach nie aus der Mode! Firebird hat gerade den 457864. Vertreter der Gattung auf den Weg geschickt...

Diesmal gibt es keinen supermodernen Düsenflieger, sondern eine "Republic P-47025 Thunderbolt", die bevorzugt im Weltkrieg II den Luftraum unsicher machte. Mit diesem musealen Stück darf man sich durch alle acht Level schlägen und dabei wie üblich Gegner abschießen und Extras aufsammeln (sechs in der Zahl). Die Feinde sind in der Luft (Jagdflieger, Hubschrauber, groooße Bomber), am Boden (Geschütze, Panzer etc.) und im Wasser (Schiffe, Schiffe, Schiffe). Am Ende jedes Spielabschnitts wartet dann der obligatorische Endgegner: Züge, riesige Panzer oder Schlachtschiffe.

Die Grafik ist detailreich und bunt - aber dieses Scrolling! Es ruckelt einfach alles, was auf dem Screen ist, und das reichlich stark. So ein Rückfall in die Software-Steinzeit kann einem den ganzen Spielspaß vermiesen. Und dann die Musik! Langweilend und leierned, abschalten läßt sie sich aber nur zusammen mit den (passablen) FX, d.h. es herrscht absolute Stile. Außerdem hat das Spiel ein paar Macken, wenn man z.B. den Extrawaffenspender recht weit links auf dem Screen erwischt, kann man das Extra schon vergessen.

Trotzdem, ganz katastrophal ist P47 nicht, dafür sorgt schon die Zwei-Spieler-gleichtzeitig-Option. Es ist halt einfach durchschnittliche Action-Kost; icht persönlich ziehe jedenfalls das thematisch ähnliche "Scramble Spirits" bei weitem vor! (mm)

P47 Thunderbolt: The Freedom Fighter logo

Price: £24.99

In the dead zone after Christmas you begin to wonder if any good software is going to appear again, or whether you will have to wait another 365 days for something worth playing. P-47 may not be the answer to your prayers, but it is certainly worth a closer look.

Jaleco's 1988 coin op is the subject of all the action. Based on the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a USAF fighter known as the 'Lead Sled', which saw action during WWII, it is a standard shoot 'em up.

You take control of the plane and fly it through eight levels of action, facing enemy ground and air attack in the shape of fighters, bombers, tanks and gun emplacements. Each level has a superior obstacle to overcome before you can progress - a heavily defended train for example at the end of level one.

Extra weaponry is made available as you bring down enemy helicopters, with bombs, spray missiles, speed ups and directable fire and even extra lives left in the air for you to fly into. Speed ups are crucial because your P-47 is a sluggish beast, whilst directable fire is of the greatest benefit for combat allowing you to chuck out bombs in any direction you choose to fly.

Graphically P-47 is nothing special. Little concession is made to accuracy in scale or detail, whilst the colours rely on brightness more than taste and realism.
Sound is limited to a tiny tune, explosions and the odd spot effect when you pick up extra weapons. As far as gameplay goes I found it pretty frustrating, with little room for manoeuvre. P-47 is hard, no doubt there.

P-47 clearly, is not worth climbing mountains for. It is competent considering the original was nothing special - a second division coin-op at best. Sometimes it works to convert a minor arcade game as with Silkworm, but then it has to be done perfectly. P-47 just does not quite make the grade on that count either. The question is, whether you are desperate enough for a new blast. Take my advice and look elsewhere.

P47 Thunderbolt: The Freedom Fighter logo

Firebird, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

The P47 Thunderbolt was one of the top fighters of WWII; a massive, heavily armored plane built like a big old Cadillac. MicroProse/Firebird provide a nice blurb on the plane with their instructions/poster but it's pretty much irrelevant. Jaleco's coin-op is another horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up and realism has nothing at all to do with it.

There are eight long levels, and the objective on each is to fight through to the end and obliterate the massive baddie at the end. Along the way are scattered a wide range of pick-ups:
'B' is for bombs which are useful for blasting battleships, anti-aircraft guns, tanks, and massive trains.
'E' is for spray missiles which break into bullets, all the better to smash up Nazi fighters, bombers, monster planes, and huge anti-aircraft rockets.
'M' is for multi-missiles, which can be launched two at a time, trashing helicopters, guns on towers, and more besides.
'S' is for speed-up, revving your engine up for much-needed extra maneuverability.
'T' is for directable fire. Suspiciously hi-tech, laser-like bolts zoom off in the direction you're moving.
'1 Up' is for an extra life, for early grave avoidance tactics.

None of the weapons can be combined - you can only have your standard machine gun and one of the add-on weapons. This is obviously where tactics come in; bombs are crucial for level one's end-of-level baddie, but fairly useless for level two's. Most of the weapons can be upgraded, from 2-8 projectiles as you pick up more of the same letter. Should you complete the eight levels then it's back to the start, Amiga owners with the added benefit of a congratulatory screen and increased toughness (there are four levels of difficulty).

Phil King While not exactly innovative, P47 provides some straight blasting action and is a good conversion of the rather dated coin-op. Although most of the enemies are small and impressive, the huge end-of-level baddies are good (on both machines) - especially the huge battleship with its masses of guns. However, solo player will find the unvaried action repetitive, so the Amiga's simultaneous two-player mode is a welcome feature.
Scorelord The Amiga's slick presentation compares with any console and the in-game graphics are as good as, if not better, than anything the Sega Megadrive's produced. But if P47 proves the Amiga can do console-type game as good as anything out of Japan, gameplay is severely lacking variety. At £15 it would've been irresistible, but £25 is way too much.
Of course, the C64 game is much cheaper, but the levels are too long and easy - making non-simultaneous two-player games very tedious. The graphics are okay, although the ground attack missions are coloured oddly, and the camouflage works too well, leading to vehicles disappearing! Not a bad game, but lacking the Amiga's superslick presentation the unimaginative gameplay is all the more apparent.