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Rolling Thunder 3 – a hidden gem on the Genesis

August 4, 2015

Cover rollingthunder3 small

Rolling Thunder 3 for the Mega Drive or better called Genesis, is maybe that kind of thing most people mean if they use the term ‚hidden gem‘.

And in fact, especially in Europe this game is fuckin’ unknown. No wonder, this game was released only in the US in 1993. An original Namco game released on the US market only? Yes you heard right, even in Japan the game has not been released. By what reason ever.

The game itself is the successor of … surprise, surprise … Rolling Thunder 2. Rolling Thunder 2 is a good action game of the Walk & Gun genre. Yes, there’s no running, these girls and guys stay cool in firefights, no reason to rush. The controls are simple, walk, jump, fire or bomb. But they are precise. I like part 2 a lot! But part 3 I like even a bit more. But Rolling Thunder 3 is one player only, in Rolling Thunder 2 on the other hand you can choose between one or two player mode.

2 SideScroller Rolling Thunder 3 (U) [c][!]009

The third installment of the series is the first non arcade game from its roots in the series. It’s only released on home console and as already mentioned Genesis exclusive.

General it’s the same sort of game like Rolling Thunder 2. You’re on a secret mission for an intelligence service James Bond style. What divides the third part from the second is the presentation with some anime cut-scenes and slightly improved graphics. As usual in sidescrolling action games it’s not a big story but gives the game a proper atmosphere. I like that.

2 SideScroller Rolling Thunder 3 (U) [c][!]013  2 SideScroller Rolling Thunder 3 (U) [c][!]011

Gameplaywise some slight improvements found their way into part 3. To make it more accessible now you have three lives, and you don’t get backtracked to the last checkpoint. You simply start from the point you died. After the three lives used you have to start from the levels beginning. You can now fire diagonal upwards and even jump while firing. Before enter a level you can choose the secondary weapon. On the stages you can obtain ammunition and extras by walking through doors. And there are many of them.

If you don’t need to run and you also like the slower paced Walk’n Gun games like me, than this game is a must have for you. Part 2 of course too, but this is easy to find – part three is more rare.

Don’t rest for too long, If you need to long a sniper shoots you at the end of a level. There’s no timer like in part 2, but if you need to long the sniper appears. That increases the difficulty. But don’t care, the time limit is not so strict, If you walk smooth normal through the levels you can avoid the sniper … but don’t dawdle to much. If you take every door walk swiftly through them.

rolling-thunder-3-02  Rolling-Thunder-3-5

3_rolling_thunder_3  4_rolling_thunder_3

Rolling Thunder 3 is a really good game for the Genesis. I highly recommend this game to every MegaDrive/Genesis fan. No it’s not the best game on the Genesis, there are so many other hits on the system. But it’s a really good game, has its own charm, plays great, looks good and sounds good. A must have for every Genesis fan. It’s relatively rare and therefore not cheap to have. Especially if you from Europe and have to add shipping costs and tax. But if you find a cardridge in good condition for a decent price … pick it up!1

If you’re interested in the first installment of the series, you can find the game on the Namco Virtual Museum for PS360. Rolling Thunder 2 is simply also on your MegaDrive/Genesis available.

Regrettably I don’t found any reviews from magazines back the time. So my personal ratings of Rolling Thunder III is (out of 10/10= best):

Rolling Thunder 3 rating (Genesis 1993 US-NTSC)

Controls:            8.0

Visual/Style:       8.0

Audio:                 7.0

Technique:          7.0

OVERALL:       8.0


Legend (ratings):

10/10         brilliant, really rare brilliant, has absolutely no competitors, this game defines genres and the world of games!

9/10           brilliant, really brilliant but has some competitors, not much but some, don’t defines really, but is part of the best of the best!

8/10           really good to great game, depends on tending more to 8 or 9. Among a bunch of other competitors, but great!

7/10           good to really good game, depends on tending more to 7 or 8. There are better games out there, but this game is still a good one.

6/10           really average … mostly in every way. With some real flaws. I you like the genre and your expectations are low, maybe you will have some fun with it. But not so much, this game could be so much better.

5/10           absolutely not necessary to play, it’s a waste of time. Maybe if you like to play trashgames with some friends and a couple of beers. Maybe then, it’s your decision.

4/10           see above – only even worse.

3/10           If you play this piece of shit and knowing about it … go to a doctor!

2/10           total trash – put it into the place where it belongs to. Keep the world clean!

1/10           you’re kidding? Break this cardridge immediately! Now! Show that thing what a hammerfall means! This shit shell die in pain!1



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