Nostalgia Can’t Make Thunder Strike Twice

ThunderCats
Gameplay
graphics
audio
value
fun
Genre
Reviewed On
Nintendo DS
Available For
Difficulty
Intermediate
Publisher(s)
ESRB
ESRB
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ThunderCats was part of my childhood in many ways. One of which was, I used to watch it with my younger step brother every time I went to my dad’s house. Needless to say that the nostalgia bug bit me once I grabbed ThunderCats. With this type of game my expectations are never really high, but you hope that the game is at least of average quality.

Average would have been an improvement I’m afraid. Once I slid the game cartridge in my 3DS I sighed in disappointment. The graphics were far below par, yet looked vaguely familiar to me. Sure enough, it hit me like a freight train once the actual gameplay started.

ThunderCats had the same style graphics that a Bionicle game had back when I was fourteen years old. Currently, I’m perched at twenty years of age, so there is a six year difference between games with no graphical improvement.

Graphics are only one aspect of a game, gameplay is the meat and potatoes of any title, and can often make up for sub par graphics. In the case of ThunderCats, it was expected to be the saving grace.

However, the levels consisted of walking to the right and then swinging your sword at the enemies that enter the screen. And even the attack controls the game allowed are dysfunctional at best. Movement is clunky and really made the game frustrating. I can’t even count how many times I was hitting the attack button trying to smash things before they hit me, only to fail. ThunderCats has no way to evade attacks, so you end up just hoping your reflexes are quick enough to handle the barrage of enemies.

The story is poor and most of the support characters are pointless to have in any battles where they are truly needed. The boss battles are pointlessly frustrating and do nothing more than add to the polarizing experience. The complete absence of a tutorial or even a control map overview really makes this game agonizingly angering right from the start.

Audio was just a redundant loop of sleep-inducing tracks that made you want to nap more than play. I had to mainline coffee more than once just to grind through certain stages in the first few chapters. There are very few sound effects. I counted three, including the sword hit, the ThunderCats yell and some anguished noise when you take a hit. You will hear that one a lot.

Overall, I got to watch a game take a great childhood memory of mine and throw it under the bus. Under normal circumstances, a game can tweak something and be good to go. ThunderCats is too far gone and should have not been made.

This is the lowest scored game for reasons other than technical difficulties that I’ve given out in my year and a half at GiN.

ThunderCats earns just one GiN Gem out of five. And hardcore fans will probably rate it even lower.

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