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Thunder Force II is both a side scrolling and top down shooter. In the game you control a ship. In some stages the action is side scrolling and in others it is top down (overhead). The weapons systems is fairly basic. You can switch from shooting a more powerful weapon straight ahead or two less powerful guns shooting forward and backward simultaneously. There are various power-ups that improve your fire power.

In the top down levels you can only travel in cardinal directions and cannot maneuver around obstacles easily or slow down. The control in the side scrolling levels is reminiscent of R-Type or Gradius, but with more basic weapons systems. In future incarnations of the series the top down aspect would be abandoned.


Thunder Force II Genesis you can fly up, down, left, and right
Thunder Force II Genesis Title Screen
Thunder Force II Sharp X68000 More weapons to choose from
Thunder Force II Sharp X68000 First overhead stage, hard as hell but there's a lot more parallax scrolling here than in the MD version

Alternate Titles

  • "Thunder Force II MD" -- Japanese title
  • "サンダーフォースⅡMD" -- Japanese Mega Drive spelling

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User Reviews

An experiment that didn't quite work out. Genesis Majestic Lizard (655)

Critic Reviews Genesis Jul 08, 2004 9 out of 10 90
1UP! Genesis Apr 12, 2013 87 out of 100 87
Mean Machines Genesis Oct, 1990 82 out of 100 82
PixlBit Genesis Jan 23, 2014 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) Genesis Nov, 1989 31 out of 40 78
Megablast Genesis 1992 66 out of 100 66
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Genesis Oct, 1989 7.8 out of 12 65
Micro News Genesis May, 1990 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 50
SEGA-Mag (Objectif-SEGA) Genesis Aug 03, 2008 5 out of 10 50
HonestGamers Genesis Mar 15, 2011 3 out of 10 30


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Released in June 1989, Thunder Force II MD was the very first third-party game released for the Mega Drive in Japan, eight months after the system's initial launch.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly


    In the Sharp X68000 version of the game, after losing your last life, the game will exclaim "Shit!" in frustration. This was not carried over to the Genesis/Mega Drive versions.
    Contributed to by Terok Nor (21932) and Majestic Lizard (655)