In Thunder Force III, the free-directional, overhead stage format featured in the previous two games is removed and replaced entirely by the horizontally aligned stage format. The horizontal format becomes the new standard for the following games.
The player is allowed to choose which of the initial five planets (Hydra, Gorgon, Seiren, Haides, and Ellis), to start on. After the first five stages are completed, the game continues for three more stages into ORN headquarters.
The weapon system from Thunder Force II returns in this game, with some modifications. Some weapons from Thunder Force II are reused or modified slightly (the enhanceable Twin shot and Back shot remain the defaults), while others are completely new and exclusive to the game.
This time, when the player’s ship is destroyed, only the weapon that was currently in use is lost (unless it is a default weapon and assuming the game is operating at the default difficulty settings). On any higher difficulty modes than the default one, all weapons are lost when the ship gets destroyed. CLAWs also make their return and have the same behavior and functions, except now when the player collects the CLAW item, the ship automatically receives its maximum two CLAWs (again, CLAWs are lost upon ship destruction in every difficulty modes). Also, when using most weapons, the CLAWs will mimic the ship and fire the same weapon (similar to the Options in Gradius games). The final new addition is that the player’s ship now has a speed setting, which can be increased or decreased across four levels at the press of a button.
The game was an improvement over Thunderforce II the graphical quality of the game is superb, and the sound is pretty good, again in a shoot em up the gameplay is the most important factor and Thunderforce III is a mean, fast paced game.
Pause game play and press Up(10), B, Down(2), and repeatedly tap B to fill the weapon meter. Press A for the Claw weapon, and resume game play. Note: This code may be enabled with each new life.
Hold A + B + C and press Start at the title screen to display a menu with ship speed, difficulty, and sound test options.
Press C during the ending sequence. Your character will wave and wink.
Use two controllers to share control, with one player flying and the other firing the weapons.
Shoot all weapons:
Continuously tap C while pressing B to fire all weapons at once. Note: This is best accomplished by using a auto-fire controller with C set to rapid fire.
1 RYBT-A6XY MASTER CODE–MUST BE ENTERED
2 AECA-AAH8 Start with 2 fighters
3 A2CA-AAH8 Start with 7 fighters
4 BECA-AAH8 Start with 10 fighters
5 A3AT-AA7R Infinite fighters
6 AECA-AAF8 Start with 2 credits instead of 7
7 ATCA-AAF8 Start with 5 credits
8 BTCA-AAF8 Start with 13 credits
9 A2FT-AA8C Infinite credits
10 AKAT-AA8R Keep special weapon power when you lose a fighter
11 9TCA-BGSR + D6CA-AAHT + 96CA-AAHW Start with all special weapons available
12 AKAA-AA6W Never get special weapons ability