In Thunder Force II the game is now split into two formats: the free-directional scrolling, overhead stage format from the previous game, and horizontal forward-scrolling stages (referred to as “side-view” stages) which would become the series mainstay, dropping the former entirely. Each stage begins in the top-view perspective, where the player has to locate the cores of a certain number of major enemy bases and destroy them. After this is accomplished, the stage continues from the side-view perspective, which plays like a traditional horizontal scrolling shooter. After the boss of the side-view sub stage is defeated, the player moves on to the next stage.
Building upon its predecessor, Thunder Force II introduced a weapon system that would become the staple for the rest of the series. The player’s ship now has default arsenal of weapons which include a twin, forward firing shot, a single forward, and single backward firing shot , and a bomb shot in the top-view stages. By collecting certain items, the default weapons can be upgraded to more a powerful level. Also, the player could obtain a certain number of new weapons with various unique abilities by collecting the weapon’s corresponding item.
Once obtained, the weapons can be switched between at the player’s desire, but if the ship is destroyed, all weapons are lost except for the defaults. The top-view and the side-view stages have different sets of weapons; losing weapons in the top-view stages do not affect the weapons equipped in the side-view stages and vice versa.
Thunder Force II also introduced the CRAW add-ons; small pods which revolve around the ship. The function of the CRAWs is to block weak incoming bullets, and to provide extra firepower by firing single, normal shots. The player may acquire up to two CRAWs at a time, but will lose them upon ship destruction. Exclusive to this game is an item which temporally increases their orbit speed, making them more likely to block bullets.
The graphics were generally good, the backdrops are excellent but the game sprites could have been a little better. The sound effects are good but most importantly its a nice, fast paced shoot em up but not the best on the Sega Mega Drive
Hold A + B + C and press Start at the title screen. A menu allowing starting level selection, difficulty, and other options will appear.
1 AEET-AAAA Start with 2 lives
2 A2ET-AAAA Start with 7 lives
3 BEET-AAAA Start with 10 lives
4 CTET-AAAA Start with 21 lives
5 GJET-AAAA Start with 51 lives
6 MJET-AAAA Start with 91 lives
7 ATSA-AA2T Infinite lives–top-view missions only
8 ATKT-AA4Y Infinite lives–side-view missions only
9 AEET-AAFJ Start with 1 credit
10 ATET-AAFJ Start with 4 credits
11 BEET-AAFJ Start with 9 credits
12 DEET-AAFJ Start with 25 credits
13 GJET-AAFJ Start with 50 credits
14 MJET-AAFJ Start with 90 credits
15 ATEA-AA20 Infinite credits