Here’s another Thunder Force tune, this time from Thunder Force IV, aka Lightning Force (1992). Considered by many to be the height of the series, Lightening Force made the most of the Sega Genesis graphics processor, with multiple background layers and tons of sprites moving very quickly. It also included dozens of bosses the size of the screen and some of the best Genesis synths. One of my favorite pieces from this game is actually the title theme, “Lightning Strikes Again”. The piece was composed by Takeshi Yoshida.
There really isn’t all that much to “Lightning Strikes Again;” the piece is a short 32-second guitar intro, so if you blink, you might miss it! Still, the piece is superb, with a nice, driving beat and full-blast rock guitars that really drag you into the intro. It’s a great capture of the emotions behind the game and an establishment of its atmosphere. There’s also a nice rasping buzz that comes at the beginning and end of the piece which is quite interesting. And for a shmup, it’s often unnecessary to have much more than that – both the music and the graphics are exciting enough to draw the player’s attention within those 30 seconds and get him to play the game. See it in action in this video of the title screen:
There have actually been at least a couple mixes of “Lightning Strikes Again,” which is pretty surprising considering the track’s length – but also a testament to the memorability of those guitar riffs – this game (and the title theme) is immediately recognizable within the first half-second. The first remix is off the Thunder Force IV soundtrack, Technosoft GAME MUSIC COLLECTION VOL.5 ~ Thunder Force IV. The track “Remind Revolution” contains an arrange of this song at the end, but it also includes “Evil Destroyer”, the Stage 1 boss theme. The second is actually the Stage 5 boss theme from Thunder Force V, “Duel of Top” where you actually get to fight the ship from Thunder Force IV. Pretty cool! I think the title is referring to the ‘top fighter craft’. The guitar here is very similar to that used on the Genesis, only higher-quality, but still with that Genesis grating sound. This mix was composed by Hyakutarou Tsukumo.