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Thread: Thunder Spirits V.S. Thunder Force III

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    Cherry (Level 1) 8-Bit Archeology's Avatar
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    Default Thunder Spirits V.S. Thunder Force III

    I found Thunder Spirits at a yard sale and popped it in today.

    I am a huge fan of Thunder Force III, and was let down by how it played and sounded.

    The wiki said the soundtrack was improved but I noticed the sound wasnt better. The music was fine, but the sounds where lacking big time.

    Also it seemed to slow down a lot when the screen was more populated.

    What's your opinion about this port?
    &
    Does anyone have any info on the port, such as Technosoft taking sides with Sega?

    Or why they took out the turbo style shooting to destroy thumbs?

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    ServBot (Level 11) davidbrit2's Avatar
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    Slowdown isn't a big surprise. The Genesis has a significantly faster CPU, as well as DMA capability. The general rule is that Genesis games are smoother and faster, while SNES games look and sound a little nicer.

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    Pear (Level 6) Gentlegamer's Avatar
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    Thunder Spirits is a bad port of Thunder Force III, which accounts for the poor SNES optimization and resulting slowdown, the same issue many of EA's sports games had. In modern gaming, the PS3 suffered from this early in its life, as most games were designed for Xbox 360 then ported, resulting in unoptimized performance that made the platform look weaker than it really was.

    If you want to see what the SNES can do with a shooter, look at Space Megaforce.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) genesisguy's Avatar
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    Genesis games are always a little smoother. Especially in the quick paced shoot em' up genre.
    THe NHL EA games are another example. Play NHL '94 on both systems back to back. The SNES is actually missing some of the animation frames and appears clunkier in it's actual game play.

    Sound is debatable.

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genesisguy View Post
    THe NHL EA games are another example. Play NHL '94 on both systems back to back. The SNES is actually missing some of the animation frames and appears clunkier in it's actual game play.
    SNES always seemed to get the short end of the stick when it came to sports games. I don't think any of the Madden Football games on SNES are any good, and you'd think with the built-in scaling and rotation, that they would be fantastic.

    The only sports games that work really good on SNES is the NBA Live series. I always felt like NBA Live '95 on SNES is pretty freaking amazing. The sound is amazing, the color is amazing, and the playability is very good. I also thought that the unique 3D perspective of NCAA Basketball was really cool upon release, although the game doesn't stand the test of time very well. NBA Live still holds up pretty well even today.

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    Bell (Level 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    I also thought that the unique 3D perspective of NCAA Basketball was really cool upon release, although the game doesn't stand the test of time very well. NBA Live still holds up pretty well even today.
    I only played its hockey counterpart NHL Stanley Cup briefly. I couldn't tell what was going on. :P

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    ServBot (Level 11) Steven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8-Bit Archeology View Post
    I found Thunder Spirits at a yard sale and popped it in today.

    I am a huge fan of Thunder Force III, and was let down by how it played and sounded.

    The wiki said the soundtrack was improved but I noticed the sound wasnt better. The music was fine, but the sounds where lacking big time.

    Also it seemed to slow down a lot when the screen was more populated.

    What's your opinion about this port?
    &
    Does anyone have any info on the port, such as Technosoft taking sides with Sega?

    Or why they took out the turbo style shooting to destroy thumbs?

    Thunder Force III >>> Thunder Spirits. It's not even close. Still, I enjoyed Thunder Spirits after readjusting my expectations. But it was clear there was a lack of care and polish that went into it. It should have been awesome, but was rather disappointing (though far from worthless)

    As for turbo, there is, thankfully, an option to do that, but you need to make a small input first:



    It does help out the enjoyment of the game tremendously, unless one prefers button mashing. Personally, I never did.

    Wrote a review of it several years back: http://www.rvgfanatic.com/7401/1532120.html

    Should have been the ultimate TF game. Sadly, it wasn't. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

    RVGFANATIC: SNES, Saturn, mad ramblings and more
    RELIVE | REMEMBER | REPLAY

    Brand new URL!

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    It's not a direct Genesis port. Thunder Spirits is a port of Thunder Force AC, which was an arcade remix of Thunder Force III.

    Also^ even if it was optimized to run it's best, that would have never been the ultimate Thunder Force game, as long as Thunder Force IV/Lightening Force was a thing. Plus I don't know how well V and VI came out.
    Last edited by MidnightRider; 06-30-2014 at 08:47 AM.

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SparTonberry View Post
    I only played its hockey counterpart NHL Stanley Cup briefly. I couldn't tell what was going on. :P

    Yeah, so much of the mode 7 3D Perspective, was a thing of it's time and place. In late 1991, and 1992, Mode 7 was a wiz bang effect that had a very state of the art appeal to it. NCAA Basketball really took full advantage of that, and made essentially the first real 3D basketball game, even though they were using sprites on a 3D backdrop. Super Soccer, a May 1992 release, was also a huge benefactor of the unique perspective. Roger Clemens Baseball tried to use it, but it didn't come off so well.

    NCAA was a legitimate basketball game, that was WAY before it's time. Sure, the Mode 7 perspective was obviously it's big gimmick, but it's a pretty good basketball game underneath as well. I bought it at launch, and I remember being thrilled with it. Me and my buds would play it, and we felt like we were getting a taste of the future, and in a way, we were. This was mid 1992 we are talking about. Way before 3D games really became a thing. So, to have this Basketball game that was essentially fully 3D, it was a pretty cool parlor trick for that time and era.

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    One funny thing about NCAA was the Japanese version. It had a kind-of-silly name (I think Super Dunk Shot) and the teams were all bootleg NBA teams
    (the most blatant being like the New Jersey Mets and Indiana Packers)

    As to Thunder Spirits, that turbo-fire option will help with the first stage, but then the second is like a test of memory to speed up/slow down with the speed key through a volcano eruption, I recall. I hate those sort of things. :P

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    Strawberry (Level 2) ccovell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbrit2 View Post
    Slowdown isn't a big surprise. The Genesis has a significantly faster CPU, as well as DMA capability.
    The SNES also has DMA, several kinds of it, in fact.

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    ServBot (Level 11) davidbrit2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccovell View Post
    The SNES also has DMA, several kinds of it, in fact.
    Ah, you're right. Sounds like the Genesis may have had a bit higher DMA throughput, though.

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    Cherry (Level 1) 8-Bit Archeology's Avatar
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    I know a decent amount about games. But not so much about the tech of the consoles. So I need to ask a dumb question. Whats DMA, and how is the SNES DMA different from the Sega DMA?

    I want to learn. O.o

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    Strawberry (Level 2) ccovell's Avatar
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    Good learning material here:

    http://wiki.superfamicom.org/snes/show/DMA+%26+HDMA
    DMA, or "direct memory access" is found in a number of computer systems, not just the Super Nintendo. Itís basically a way for a peripheral or coprocessor to read data directly from memory, instead of requiring the main CPU to do a number of reads and writes. This is typically faster, if only because it lets the system skip the opcode fetch-and-decode. In the SNES, the CPU is paused during DMA since the address busses are in use for the transfer.


    HDMA is similar in concept, though rather different in execution: instead of transferring a block of memory all at once, it transfers a few bytes during the H-Blank period of each scanline. This is extremely helpful, as most PPU registers may only be changed during a frame (at least without glitching) during this narrow window.


    The SNES has 8 channels (numbered 0-7) that can be used for either DMA or HDMA
    Also: http://trixter.oldskool.org/2008/12/...rocessing-101/
    Multiple DMA VRAM copies during vblank were how games did scrolling and animation. It was even common on the NES: games would transfer sprite position data via DMA during vblank. The Master System, Genesis, and SNES used DMA to upload new frames of animation to VRAM, update tilemaps, and sprite position data.
    Both Snes and Genesis have DMAs but the Genesis has better DMA than the Snes has.

    1) Snesís DMA is 2.68 Mbps, whereas Genesisís DMA is 3.35 Mbps

    2) Snes canít DMA during active display at all, whereas Genesis can, only at a slower pace.
    (Point #2 directly above is not exactly correct, as HDMA is a type of DMA for during active display, and the S-PPU contains writeable registers that can point to CPU RAM (thus making ROM-to-RAM and RAM-to-RAM DMA possible mid-screen on the SNES, but anyway...))
    Last edited by ccovell; 06-30-2014 at 10:13 AM.

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    DMA is a direct memory access if I remember right. Basically tasks are sent through the machine and the SNES has both a 24bit and an 8bit BUS. Normally you can only send one task at a time to be processed, but with the DMA you can do more which allows for things to run faster/more efficiently than they would otherwise.

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    DMA is a hardware memory-copy (such as copying from main RAM to video RAM). But it's much faster than using a CPU routine to manually copy.

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    Cherry (Level 1) 8-Bit Archeology's Avatar
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    Thanks. So as it seems, the Genesis is better for speedy games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8-Bit Archeology View Post
    Thanks. So as it seems, the Genesis is better for speedy games.
    Pretty much. The Genesis can do a more intense shooter, the SNES can do a nicer looking/sounding RPG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightRider View Post
    It's not a direct Genesis port. Thunder Spirits is a port of Thunder Force AC, which was an arcade remix of Thunder Force III.
    I came to say that ^

    Most of you guys will just wanna skip all this text and just look at the box covers & arcade flyer

    Thunder Force AC came out for Japanese arcades in the later part of 1990 following the release of Thunder Force III on MD in Japan (June 1990)
    and on Genesis in the U.S. (I think late-Q3 1990).

    "arcade remix of Thunder Force III" is the perfect description of what Thunder Force AC was.

    The arcade game used Sega's System C-2 Hardware -- Was based on the MD/Genesis hardware, not the older-but-more-powerful System 16A/16B boards that ran games like
    Fantasy Zone, Shinobi, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, E-SWAT, Etc. So the System C-2 Hardware is in the same class as both the Mega-Tech Hardware and Mega Play Hardware.

    These boards were used to play a selection of MD/Genesis (one board could also play SMS games) in a coin operated arcade setting, much like Nintendo's 8-Bit NES-based PlayChoice-10, the Nintendo VS. System and the SNES based Nintendo Super System.

    Unlike the Mega-Tech and Mega Play boards, System C-2 had a slightly faster 68000 CPU (~9 MHz) than MD/Genesis (7.6 MHz).

    I had long ago believed (which may not be the case) that System C-2 and its games had more colors on screen simultaneously and/or a larger palette of colors to choose from.
    I don't know but I thought EGM said it was more than the standard 64 out of 512 colors.

    Best to just go by System16.com for arcade hardware specs.

    SEGA SYSTEM C-2 HARDWARE:
    http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=705&page=1#1896

    SEGA MEGA-TECH HARDWARE:
    http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=706

    SEGA MEGA PLAY HARDWARE
    http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=707

    Obviously those boards are not on par with even theSystem 16A (let alone System 16B with its hardware zooming / scaling)
    http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=700
    http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=701

    I think the main differences between those three boards and the MD/Genesis console they're all based on were the sound chips.
    Mega-Tech could play 8-Bit Sega Master System cartridges, Mega Play could not.


    Thunder Force III md/gen - ThunderForce AC arcade / Thunder Spirits super famicom / snes

    Mega Drive JPN


    Genesis U.S.


    Japanese TFAC flyer:



    Thunder Force AC was then ported as Thunder Spirits to the Super Famicom hardware in 1991.






    As far as levels, I'm going by what I remember of Thunder Force AC so Thunder Spirits may or may not be different, I don't recall.

    -some levels from TFIII but at least two TF III levels were gone.
    -at least 1 level from MD/Gen TF II
    -at least 2 new levels exclusive to TFAC

    Japanese Sega Saturn got Thunder Force AC and Thunder Force IV in the compilation Thunder Force Gold Pack 2 ( TF II and III in Gold Pacl 1).
    Last edited by parallaxscroll; 07-01-2014 at 01:29 PM.

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