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The Galaxy Federation has defeated the forces of the Orn Empire. But the former allies of Orn have united into a single powerful army known as Vios. The Galaxy Federation attacks their headquarters on the planet Aceria, but loses the battle. They then develop a new fighter spacecraft, the FIRE LEO-04 Rynex, and send a trained pilot to neutralize the Vios.

Quest for the Darkstar (Thunder Force IV in Japan and Europe) is, like its predecessor, a side-scrolling shoot-em-up. The gameplay system is similar to that of the previous game, upgradeable default weapons as well as additional ones that can be collected throughout the stages. Unlike the previous games, the player can choose between four different initial stages. It is possible to control the game's speed by tapping or pressing a correspondent button. Another new addition is a powerful Thunder Sword weapon, which the player acquires halfway through the game.


Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Genesis The ruins of a city...
Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Genesis Desert level
Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Genesis This boss will throw plates at you, and if you go behind him, he will shoot rockets at you
Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Genesis Boss battle

Promo Images

Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Magazine Advertisement BEEP! MegaDrive (SoftBank Creative, Japan), Issue 33 (June 1992)

Alternate Titles

  • "Thunder Force IV" -- European/Japanese title
  • "Sega Ages: Thunder Force IV" -- Nintendo Switch title
  • "SEGA AGES サンダーフォースⅣ" -- Japanese Nintendo Switch spelling
  • "サンダーフォースⅣ" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Fantastic Genesis SHMUP - get it! Genesis Lucas Schippers (59)
More than a side-scrolling shooter Genesis none 1974 (11)
Fantastic Shooter. Genesis Majestic Lizard (676)

Critic Reviews

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) Genesis Mar 19, 2011 10 out of 10 100 Genesis Jan, 2004 10 out of 10 100
Joystick (French) Genesis Sep, 1992 97 out of 100 97
GameFan Magazine Genesis Oct, 1992 96.5 out of 100 96
Hobby Consolas Genesis Jan, 1993 95 out of 100 95
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Genesis Sep, 1992 11 out of 12 92
Mean Machines Genesis Sep, 1992 87 out of 100 87
Megablast Genesis Jan, 1992 87 out of 100 87
Video Chums Nintendo Switch Sep 23, 2018 7.7 out of 10 77
The Video Game Critic Genesis Oct 30, 1999 B 75


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  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1993 – #2 Best Genesis Game in 1992

Contributed to by リカルド・フィリペ (321031) and Satoshi Kunsai (2074)