Thunder Force V is a scrolling shooter game developed by Tecno Soft and the fifth chapter of the Thunder Force series. It was initially released in 1997 exclusively in Japan for the Sega Saturn with two retail versions, the normal pack which was just a standard release, and a special pack which contained a remix music CD of various Thunder Force series music entitled Best of Thunder Force. In 1998, Thunder Force V was ported to the PlayStation in Japan and released as Thunder Force V: Perfect System. It was released in the US by Working Designs (under the SPAZ label).
Sekika 3, an unmanned research probe launched by the Earth Aeronautics and Space Administration, reaches the Oort Cloud, an enormous ring of comets encircling the outer limits of the solar system. Sekika 3's original mission is to analyze the comets, but the probe instead makes the most profound discovery in the history of humanity: an artificially created object floating deep within the Cloud. Mankind now knows it is not alone in the universe.
Sekika 3 returns to Earth with its precious cargo and establishes orbit around the lunar base of the World Unified Government. The world's best and brightest scientists analyze the alien object with every tool at their disposal, and quickly determine the dazzling find to be a starcraft with technology so advanced that, in the words of one stunned researcher, "It's difficult to tell where the science ends and the magic begins." The ship's unknown creators are dubbed "Vastians," and the ship itself is named "Vastians' Steel," or "Vasteel." Among the technological components of Vasteel studied in the following two decades are its nuclear-fusion power plant, time-space distortion field, and molecular superconductor.
Astonishing breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence prompt the creation of the "Guardian" supercomputer, which is given the task of studying Vasteel, unlocking its remaining secrets, and combining its technology with human designs. A gigantic man-made island named "Babel" is built in the heart of the South Pacific to house both Vasteel and Guardian.
Guardian incorporates Vasteel technology into the construction of massive starships with the capacity for interstellar travel, and terraforming systems that can transform hostile planetary atmospheres into human-friendly climates rich with oxygen. While the ships are built and stockpiled within Babel, the World Unified Government selects planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy as candidates for settlement. What the Government fails to tell its citizens is that Babel's emigration ships are in fact heavily armed battleships, bristling with experimental Vasteel weaponry.
The Turing Code, a security program designed to dampen Guardian's artificial intelligence and maintain a degree of external control, is mysteriously deleted from the supercomputer. Free of the Code's influence, Guardian achieves sentience and becomes the first artificial lifeform. For reasons that remain unclear, Guardian declares war on the World Unified Government and Earth itself, using Babel's construction facilities to produce weapons of mass destruction. The Government launches a massive counter-attack in an attempt to destroy Babel, but the futile effort results only in the senseless deaths of several hundred thousand soldiers and civilians. Over one-third of the Earth's population is slaughtered by Guardian's army of automatons within a year.
What remains of the World Unified Government miraculously scrapes together enough of its remaining resources to produce the RVR-01 "Gauntlet", a duplicate of the original Vasteel in every way. An elite combat unit is formed to pilot the Gauntlet fighters and destroy Babel and Guardian before mankind is snuffed out of existence.
The unit's code name: Thunder Force.
The setting of Thunder Force V takes the player away from the conflict between the Galaxy Federation and the ORN Empire as chronicled in the previous games, and brings us to Earth in the future. At the very end of Thunder Force IV, the pilots of the fighter craft Fire LEO-04 "Rynex" were forced to eject from their ship due to a massive explosion caused by the destruction of their final target. The explosion damaged Rynex severely, but did not destroy the powerful starfighter. Some time later in 2106 (it is not specified how long), Rynex drifted into the Solar System and reached the Oort Cloud, where the craft was picked up by the EASA probe Sekika 3. After analyzing the craft, the probe brought the Rynex back to Earth's Moon, where a massive lunar station manned by Earth's brightest was soon launched in an effort to pick apart the craft's extraordinarily sophisticated weapons and power systems.
The scientists dubbed the unseen race as the "Vastians" (an Esperanto word meaning "Great Distance"), and renamed the Rynex "The Vastian's Steel" or "Vasteel" for short. In order to analyze the alien craft, humanity constructed the supercomputer Guardian. Guardian not only reverse engineered its technology, but also implemented it into new forms of technology. From that point on, every major discovery of that era was attributed to Vasteel. Since Vasteel Technology made star travel possible for mankind, the Unified Earth Government tasked Guardian with building vast fleets of interstellar ships which they had planned to use for colonizing other planets.
However, the fleet produced in Babel by Guardian was in fact a heavily armed armada of warships, which came to be known as the Sword Fleet. After the Turing Code (a security program which dampened Guardian's AI) was mysteriously deleted from the system, Guardian achieved full consciousness and in return, began to deliver massive strikes against the Earth itself. The Unified Earth government was swiftly defeated, but their last attempt was in sending Cenes Crawford and a hotshot group of ace pilots against Guardian and its forces using the RVR-01 "Gauntlet" starfighter series which had been designed and built before the computer's rogue annihilation of half of Earth's population. The Earth Side Combat Unit No.222, now renamed as Thunder Force 222, was responsible to assemble and fight Guardian's forces across the planet in an attempt to destroy the computer and wrestle back control of the Earth itself. Prior to this fight, Cenes herself has already died twice, but a particular brand of Vasteel technology has enabled a greater use for cloning than ever before - a program which is known as "Circulate-Death". Cenes and the other pilots of 3-2 are all C-D members - ace pilots who've died at some point while in military service but because of their unrelenting skill, are needed to pilot the complex Gauntlet fighters as ordinary pilots were deemed too unqualified to be in command of such craft. In an act of defiance, the pilots approached their mission with vigor, and were widely successful in their attempts as well, until Cenes made a discovery: Guardian was LETTING them win the entire time, repeatedly pulling back and retreating from battle scenarios even when it had the advantage. Cenes couldn't believe that Guardian was letting them hustle it, but when the supercomputer initiated a massive self destruction command which destroyed the Sword Fleet, she decided to fly her RVR-02 "Vambrace" starfighter into Judgement Sword – the command ship which Guardian had uploaded its central core into.
After fighting Guardian's core, the AI transmitted a message to Cenes, and also asked something else of her, which she thought about long after the battle was concluded and her ship itself was essentially dead, floating through space. Cenes resolved herself to this fact in the knowledge that she would have to finally die, and stay dead- as Guardian's retaliation and subsequent destruction of the majority of the Earth's populated areas had also destroyed the military complex where the DNA profiles of the C-D pilots were stored. So in effect this was Cenes third, and albeit, final life. Cenes realized that she could either stay up in space and watch as her ship lost life support and she died – or she could trigger a power surge that would rip the ship apart and destroy it completely. Cenes opted for the latter option, as she discloses all of the information she's learned about Guardian in a last ditch transmission to the Unified Earth Government. In closing, she tells them that Guardian's last words were "May Fortune be with you...." and then she states: "Now for my last words.....I hope this ship blows up REAL good!"
The truth behind the Guardian's decisionEdit
It is later discovered that Guardian went rogue after downloading Rynex's history into its own archive. It has been rumored that the AI's system couldn't handle the horrific details of the true race which had built the Rynex. In knowing that the RVR-02 Vambrace would cause the same destruction of the human race as Rynex had done in its latter service, Guardian implored Cenes to destroy the ship. At least by ensuring the destruction of all Vasteel technology, the world would continue on as it had before the Rynex was even discovered.
Taking into account the events of previous Thunder Force games, it would appear that what happened to Guardian was even more horrific. Thunder Force IV's ending implies that Khaos, the AI that controlled the ORN Empire, possessed the abandoned Rynex. Presumably, it was still present when humanity discovered Rynex and re-christened it Vasteel. When Guardian attempted to analyze Vasteel's databanks, Khaos took the opportunity to possess it as well, along with the entire Babel, and essentially attempt to create a new ORN Empire by destroying and remaking Earth with Vasteel technology. This would fully explain why Guardian wanted Cenes to destroy Vambrace, with Babel critically damaged and both Rynex and Judgement Sword gone, the RVR-02 was the only possible host left for Khaos. As a result, Vambrace's destruction would bring final death to Khaos and its evil machinations.
The stage format has the same horizontally aligned orientation of previous games and only stretch to the size of a TV screen as in Thunder Force III. The biggest change in the look of the game is the use of three dimensional polygons to model the game sprites and some of the scenery (instead of the two dimensional sprites in previous games). This change gives the appearance of 3-D objects scrolling against a 2-D backgrounds, which is commonly referred to as a "2.5-D" effect. As in Thunder Force IV, the player can choose the play order of the starting stages, but now only the first three stages can be manipulated in this manner. The same speed gauge from Thunder Force IV is used, and is operated the same way (though the speed is limited to a range of 50% to 100%).
The only difference between the weapon system of this game from Thunder Force III and IV is that there are no longer any items to enhance your default weapons (Twin shot and Back shot). Instead, they are automatically enhanced at a later point in the game and the enhanced versions become your new defaults. All the weapons have appeared in previous Thunder Force games, but a few have been changed radically (such as the "Free Range" weapon that was originally known as "Free Way" in Thunder Force IV).
The CLAWs (now referred to as CRAWs - Constitutional Ray Art Weapon units) have a few changes from previous games. They still rotate around the player's ship, absorb enemy fire, and act as extra turrets for your weapons, but now a maximum of three CRAWs can be used by your ship. In addition, they remain on screen for a finite period of time upon ship destruction, giving the player a chance to recollect them.
A new feature in Thunder Force V involving the CRAWs is the use of the "Over Weapon". By pressing the appropriate button, the player's CRAWs will combine with the currently selected weapon to create a more powerful version of that weapon. Over Weapons can only be sustained for a limited period of time by using CRAW energy. As an Over Weapon is used, the CRAW will shrink in size and gradually change color from blue to green to red, indicating its energy is being depleted. Once all CRAW energy is depleted, an Over Weapon can no longer be used. CRAWs will recharge their energy automatically over time when not being used for firing the Over Weapon. Also, collecting new CRAWs will replace the player's existing CRAWs if they are depleted. If a CRAW is red, it will be destroyed by the next bullet it absorbs.
- RVR-01 "Gauntlet": The first official version of Rynex adapted to human needs.
- RVR-02 "Vambrace": A newer and highly powerful starfighter developed by the U.E.G., its only problem was that it consumed a lot of finances and resources to be built. Therefore, it was the only one produced.
- RVR-02B "Brigandine": The Brigandine is actually the Vambrace, equipped with a larger and higher power payload. The Brigandine also boasts more fuel, and a shielding system. The only drawback is that the Brigandine is also a huge target.
Stages and BossesEdit
|A||No Blue||Deep Purple||Legendary Wings||Deep Purple|
|B||Wood||Iron Maiden||Beast Jungle||Iron Maiden|
|C||Human Road||A3||Rising Blue Lightning||A3|
|4||Guardian's Guardian||Guardian's Knight||Cyber Cave||Guardian's Knight|
|5||Judgement Sword||Vasteel Original||Steel of Destiny||Duel of Top|
|6||From the Bottom of One's Heart||Guardian Animus||Electric Mind||Fatherless Baby|
|7||????||Khaos Ascendant||The Justice Ray Part 2|
The Sega Saturn version of Thunder Force V is graphically superior, as it features special effects not present in its PlayStation counterpart. A good comparison of the differences can be found in Stage 3 "Human Road", in which some extra graphical touches found in the Saturn game were removed when ported to the PlayStation. However, the PlayStation version features extra artwork, CG rendered movie sequences, better sound, game modes, and other easter eggs that the Saturn version lacks. Also, the PlayStation version shows less slowdown than the Saturn counterpart.
Incompatibility with PlayStation 5 Edit
Sony originally announced the upcoming PlayStation 5 will feature backwards compatibility from PlayStation to PlayStation 4 VR, making very possible that both Thunder Force V: Perfect System and Thunder Force VI could be included in the PlayStation 2 compatible titles either region-free or not. Unfortunately, it was revealed that the PS5's backwards compatibility, called "Legacy Mode" will range from PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro, excluding all the previous consoles, becoming a nail in the coffin for the last entries in the series.
|Thunder Force V|
|Characters||Cenes Crawford • REFFI • Guardian|
|Ships||RVR-01 "Gauntlet" • RVR-02 "Vambrace" • RVR-02B "Brigandine"|
|Stages||No Blue • Wood • Human Road • Guardian's Guardian • Judgement Sword • From the Bottom of One's Heart|
|Bosses||Deep Purple • Iron Maiden • A3 • Guardian's Knight • Vasteel Original • Guardian Animus • Khaos Ascendant|