Technosoft was one of the truly great videogame studios. Based in Japan, they are best known for their brilliantly innovative shoot-em-ups, their careful attention to visual detail, and their unforgettable musical scores. They hit their creative peak in the early ’90s on the Sega Genesis: the masterful Thunder Force series; the surprisingly clever Elemental Master; a superb rendition of the best video pinball game ever made, Devil’s Crush. And early in the Genesis’ life span lay a little gem called Herzog Zwei.
Author: Daniel Thomas
Sonic & Knuckles represents Sega at its absolute peak, at a time when they defined cool. Sonic was largely responsible for that, wrestling half the video game market away from Nintendo and spawning an unending stream of mascot games. And like any rock star, the time came for the big, epic statement; that definitive work that captures all the themes and summarizes its era, its Sgt. Pepper.
As soon as you plug in Thunder Force III, you know you’re in for a crazy-fueled ride. That vibrant title screen pops up amid scorching rock chords, and that signature theme gets stuck forever in your head. There’s a certain confidence in many of the great video games, a bold swagger that spills over from the artists and programmers and musicians onto the screen. We are witnessing one of the great game studios at the top of their game.
Every once in a while, you discover a video game that comes straight out of left field. You can’t really describe it, because there’s precious little to compare it to. You only know that you’re faced with something truly inspired, truly clever. I don’t think there’s a better example of that then Panic!. This game is just damned weird.
Toaplan is king of the shooter, and its excellent Fire Shark got a stellar rendition on the Genesis, courtesy of Dreamworks. This is one title you should track down and play.