Thunder Force 2 (1991)
My love of Techno Soft's Thunder Force series is well known by regular readers here at Red Parsley and while the third game is definitely my favourite, I've always retained a lot of affection for this second game too. So, after a recent play-through of the tough son-of-a-gun, I managed to get a few screenshots as well and, in accordance with my crusade against the wanky websites that tag their shots, here are the results of my endeavours for your viewing pleasure!
Title and 'Secret' Config Screen:
As with all the overhead stages, find and destroy the four large bases. Hang around in one spot for too long and the big dude in the fourth shot turns up...
I love this stage, it's one of my favourite stages in any horizontal-scroller. All the weapons are available at some point and each has a use somewhere too. The mid bosses are pretty easy but the end boss is a real reaction-tester...
This tricky stage loops in all directions so it needs memorising or it's easy to get lost and wander around aimlessly looking for the last base!
Not too much happens on this stage aside from a combination of barriers and fast-scrolling! Mid boss can be defeated in two or three seconds and the final boss is a piece of cake if you have Nova or Side Blasters - just hide at the top-right of the screen and rain your plasma death down on the stupid (and rather un-spacey) tank!
The toughest stage in the game for me, this one, and the only one I rarely finish without losing at least one life. This is down to all the narrow, rocky passageways you have to fly down, usually with the idiotic shot-blocking ships buzzing around you as well. Grrr!
Another fantastic stage and probably the best-looking one too. Stacks of features, obstacles, and traps all the way through. The first challenging mid-boss (one on each side of the screen) but the end boss is easy - another one for Nova or Side Blasters...
This is the largest of the overhead stages, which is apparently set amongst some ancient ruins of some sort, and it's another pretty tough one. There are absolutely loads of ground-based enemies all over the place shooting at you incessantly and the airborne ones can take a bit of punishment too!
The final horizontal stage which appears to be set underneath the ruins of the previous stage. There's lots of walls and obstacles, and even a few multiple routes (with the odd dead-end, of course!), particularly during the high-speed tunnel section that takes you to the boss encounter which is a fairly tough one too...
Final Boss - Eeek:
For the final battle we return to the overhead viewpoint for an R-Type-ish battleship which is seemingly flying over a fiery version of the first stage with pools of lava in place of water. You'll need to travel all the way around it taking out all of its defences before it takes off.
Finish it off in space to view the credits of the talented fellows at Techno Soft responsible for this splendid and underrated shmup :)