Thunder Force V – “Rising Blue Lightning” (Hyakutaro Tsukumo)August 10, 2010
Technosoft is well-known for creating shooters, primarily space shmups like the Thunder Force series. These games are incredibly brutal and contain lots of gigantic bosses. Thunder Force V brought the series to the PS1 and Sega Saturn in 3D polygon glory. The series tends to be fairly generic in that it doesn’t have any unique gameplay (such as a force pod in R-Type) to differentiate it from other games, nor does it have a strong character design (Darius). Instead, the series was popular because a) it was the top shmup on the Sega Genesis and b) it was very well crafted. Thunder Force V was composed by Hyakutaro Tsukumo, whose works include Hyper Duel, Blast Wind, and Neorude. “Rising Blue Lightning,” the Stage 3 theme, is one of my favorite pieces from the album. If you ask me, the stage is a little generic, with a quick trip to the clouds, but mostly a giant techno-city. This piece is from the Thunder Force ~ Lost Technology ~ soundtrack album, which contained a monologue absent from the soundtrack album, but had a louder recording.
“Rising Blue Lightning” is a very active piece, primarily due to the rapidly rising and falling notes of the intro and the quick beat of the synth taiko drums. The song is mainly a synth piece, but is supported by guitars that add atmosphere, creating a nice counter to the synth line.
There is also a good dojin arrange of this piece by Akindo in the album Thunder Force Renaissance. The arrange is dominated by a synth violin playing melody and backed by deep brass. The shrieking, piercing notes of the violin prove very dramatic, and again, there is a nice counter with the more serious brass. Ultimately though, Akindo’s arrange is a pretty straightforward orchestral arrangement, but it is a good one.