[Remake] Super Thundercats: Lost Eye of Thundera

Like all good lazy license cash-ins of the 80s (and 90s), Thundercats – a cartoon about giant kitties fighting ancient Egyptians – was no stranger to enduring pretty terrible attempts at being made into “games”. I mean, lackluster gameplay aside, there wasn’t even a final showdown with Mum-Ra! Thundercats-no, if you know what I mean.

pr_bop-0031-uqi8gqqq

Now, a fan-made remake, which adds the “Super” nomenclature so loved in the 90’s to the title improves upon it in almost every way. But can Super Thundercats: The Lost Eye of Thundera elevate the source material into a good game? Or will it be another steaming load for the kitty litter box? Find out after the jump.

The original Thundercats: Lost Eye of Thundera was plopped out in 1987 by Elite Games, but what we actually got was a rush job by a small time developer – more on that later. As for the gameplay itself, the levels were repetitive, and full of enemies mindlessly rushing toward your clunky attack animation or, more often, straight into the various pits dotted around the game’s strictly linear levels. Also, for no clear reason whatsoever, Lion-O had a laser pistol and occasionally flew an aircraft. I must’ve have missed those episodes. As mentioned in the intro, for those brave souls who persisted to the bitter end there wasn’t even an epic battle with Mum-Ra to enjoy. I mean, there wasn’t anything – the game abruptly ended after the last stage. Woo. To give the game some merit – the graphics were quite good for the time.

As is often the case with these archives of dodgy game history, the story surrounding the game’s development is far more interesting than the game itself. In an attempt to hedge its bets, Elite actually arranged for three different games to be developed simultaneously in the hope that at least one would be finished on time. They weren’t. Instead, like some of the cheap presents that one Aunt gives you, Elite quickly bought an entirely different game about Samurais (also apparently with laser pistols) and hastily re-wrapped it in Thundercats sprites. I would be surprised, if this practice wasn’t already commonplace well into the 90s (just take a look at the history of Super Mario 2). Oh, and if you think that fancy dog food/blender/handbag is really different from any other one, think again.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the lurid history of Thundercats: The Game: The Development: The Story (coming in Haiku-form to a Japanese bookstore near you soon) the  best source of info I found is this in-depth video by, er… Games Yanks Can’t Wank. Yeah, I don’t (want to) know what that means, either. But the video-journalism is top notch and I highly recommend a viewing:

Moving on to the remake, I can say it does indeed do much to improve upon the numerous pitfalls of the original. Admittedly, this doesn’t mean a whole lot considering what it had to work with in the first place. Still, the improvements are a light-year leap ahead of the source – there are obviously better graphics and sounds here, the attack animation is more fluid, and perhaps more importantly the laser pistol has been replaced with a sword upgrade (that shoots fireballs somehow but at least tries to make more sense), Thundertank stages to mix up the action in place of the weird Wonderboy III style aircraft sections, and boss fights with notable characters from the series. And yes, there is finally a showdown with Mum-Ra. In an awesome nod to the cartoon, you even get to enjoy a neat little animation clip after beating the game.

pr_bop-0027-iukfcxyj

pr_bop-0026-n2ipiqdk1

Sadly, for all its efforts, Super Thundercats its not particularly amazing by any stretch. It’s not bad enough to make you cough up hairballs or anything, just that when judged on its own – standalone from the source material – it’s a pretty basic hack ‘n’ slash platformer at the end of the day. However, when considered through the lens of the original, Super Thundercats is clearly the superior feline.

Therefore I think Super Thundercats be most of interest to those who played the original back in the day, and want to see at least some idea of how much better it could have been. And besides, it’s freeware. In that sense, I’m hoping for a similar remake of Masters of the Universe, which I desperately tried to love on the C64, but given that it was tied to the terrible movie there’s little hope of redemption there.

Super Thundercats | download

Advertisements

About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started newretrogames.wordpress.com and contribute to www.thecitylane.com. I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on November 8, 2016, in Arcade, Platformer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: