[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rolling-Thunder_5741.png]]

''Rolling Thunder'' is an arcade game released in 1986 by {{Namco}}. It is a side-scrolling action game where players controls "Albatross", a member of WCPO's "Rolling Thunder" espionage unit, who infiltrates the hideout of a terrorist cult named Geldra, led by a green-skinned humanoid alien named Maboo. Unlike other action titles, it is a little more slower paced, and is more about taking cover from enemy fire and conserving ammo than mindless running and gunning. You often have to find cover, hide behind doors (some which hold more ammo for your weapons) and leap up and down between floors.

An NES port was released in 1989. Although an official Famicom release in Japan, the NES version of ''Rolling Thunder'' was one of the few Namco games that were localized in the U.S. by Tengen without Nintendo's license along with ''PacMan'' and ''R.B.I. Baseball'' (a localization of Namco's ''Family Stadium''), resulting the game being released as one of Tengen's black cartridges. The original arcade version has also been re-released in various Namco Museum compilations.

Two sequels were released: ''Rolling Thunder 2'', an arcade sequel released in 1990 that featured better graphics than the original and 2-player co-op (with Leila as Player 1 and Albatross as Player 2) with a SegaGenesis port in 1991; and ''Rolling Thunder 3'', a Genesis-exclusive final entry centered around a new agent named Jay.

There is also an officially sanctioned webcomic, ''[[http://www.shiftylook.com/comics/rapid-thunder/archive Rapid Thunder,]]'' that continues the plot of the games.

Not to be confused with [[Film/RollingThunder the unrelated 1977 action film of the same name.]]

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!!This series provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Leila in ''[=RT2=]''. [[spoiler: Ellen]] is also playable by a cheat code in ''[=RT3=]''.
* ActuallyADoombot: [[spoiler:Dread pulls this on you in the third game when you face him for the first time in the underground base. It's not until you beat Stage 9 do you find out he's still alive.]]
* AdaptationExpansion: The Genesis version of ''Rolling Thunder 2'' added three extra stages where you get exclusive new weapons and fight new bosses.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Dread in the third game, which is the only one to have cut-scenes with dialogue.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Hiding behind doors. Besides wasting time, enemies will keep appearing and sometimes they will stay around the door until you come out. The second game required this in the last level, but that's only because you need to conserve ammo for Gimdo, the final boss. Unless you like firing [[PainfullySlowProjectile Painfully Slow Bullets]] that is...
* BlatantItemPlacement: The doors that supply you with more ammo when you enter them. You can easily tell there's one when a sign is nearby. Some doors also hold time bonuses and extra health, but those are less obvious.
* BlushSticker: This happens in the NES version of the first game when Leila kisses Albatross on the NewGamePlus.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted with everything but your pistol. If your pistol runs out of ammo, [[{{Painfully Slow Projectile}} you'll fire slower "ghost bullets"]] until you find more ammo or die.
* BottomlessPits: The first two games have them.
* CaptainErsatz: Maboo looks a bit too much like [[DragonBall Piccolo Daimaoh]], while his successor Dread resembles the reincarnated Piccolo wearing a monocle.
* ChainReactionDestruction: Some robot bosses in ''2'' and ''3''. ''3'' also had the cracker grenades which explode this way.
* CrosshairAware: The sniper and spider robot in the third game. There's also the first and third bosses of the Genesis version of Rolling Thunder 2.
** For really good and obvious reasons, this is averted in the third game's bike level, jetski level, and plane level (you're on a hijacked plane and you can virtually see the whole plane interior).
* CodeName: Your agents.
* CollisionDamage: The only damage you can take that isn't a OneHitKill. Averted in sequels, where the enemy has to actually strike you to do damage, otherwise you just bump off of him with no damage.
* ContinuingIsPainful: Woe to you if you die, you'll go back to your pistol and lose any extra ammo and your machine gun (if you had one) when you restart from a checkpoint, or worse, the whole level. ''Rolling Thunder 3'' subverts this problem by resuming from where you die, thankfully, and you keep everything you have unless all your lives are lost, in that case you start the stage over from the beginning.
* DenialOfDiagonalAttack: Subverted in 3, where you can fire at an angle upwards and in midair. This only works with your pistol, though.
* DistressedDamsel: Leila in the first game.
* EasyModeMockery: Played straight in all three games. In the original arcade game, when you beat the first five stages, Maboo laughs at you and you go through a HardModeFiller. The NES version, along with both Genesis games, gives the player a password after completing the normal difficulty which restarts the game on a harder setting. The full ending of each console game can only be seen by completing their respective hard modes.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: All games have at least one, but the first one was pretty much where it took place.
* EvilLaugh: Maboo does this when you either get a GameOver or complete the first five levels.
* FloatingTimeline: A weird example. The first game was an intentional period piece set in the late [=1960's=], but ''Rolling Thunder 2'' moved the game's setting to the [=1990's=]. The sequel even establishes that it's the same Leila and Albatross from the original game, not just different agents who inherited the codenames.
* GoombaStomp: Starting in the second game, jumping onto an enemy will knock him back and briefly stun him without damaging you, making this a semi-legitimate attack.
* HandBlast: Maboo in the NES version of the original, Gimdo in the Genesis version of ''Rolling Thunder 2'' and Dread does this in the second phase of his final battle.
* HardModeFiller: The latter half of the first game, which feature redesigned versions of the first five stages with more elaborate traps (except for Area 9, which is entirely original).
* KillItWithFire: The Flamethrower weapon in the Genesis version of ''Rolling Thunder 2'' and ''Rolling Thunder 3''.
* LicensedGame: It's a little-known fact that the ''Rolling Thunder'' series is actually based on a manga from Hong Kong. The characters in the game are unusually tall and skinny because that is also how they are drawn in the manga.
* LifeMeter: The arcade version's was pretty ridiculous. Your life gauge had eight bars when your character actually had only two hit points. Getting shot ''once'' killed you, and touching an enemy decreased the life gauge in half. This was corrected in the arcade sequel and all the console versions.
** In ''Rolling Thunder 3'', you get three hit points if you play on the normal setting, but the harder difficulty gives you the standard two hit points. Some unmarked doors actually have life expansions, or the special weapon door if you didn't pick an alternate weapon in the pre-mission menu.
* LoadBearingBoss: After killing Dread in the last level of ''Rolling Thunder 3,'' [[spoiler: He tells Jay that a self-destruction mechanism is wired to his heart and destroys everything in the base, including Jay.]] When you beat the game on the "Hard" difficulty, [[spoiler: It's confirmed that Jay survives, through you can probably tell from the silhouette during the credits where he rises from the rubble.]]
* {{Mooks}}: The Maskers in all three games. The sequels turned them into MechaMooks.
** [[CampGay But they look FABULOUS!]]
* MiniMecha: When you face Dread in the last level, he fights you in one in his first phase.
* MsFanservice: Leila in the first few games. [[spoiler: Even more so with Ellen in the third game, where making her a playable character has her dressed in a rather revealing outfit. For example, look at her animations as well as her GameOver screen.]]
* MissionControl: Ellen in ''Rolling Thunder 3.'' [[spoiler: A cheat code makes her playable.]]
* NintendoHard: Especially the first game.
* NotCompletelyUseless: The knife in ''3''. Not only is it helpful for close range combat, but it's helpful against Dread's second phase in your final battle with him.
* NostalgiaLevel: In ''Rolling Thunder 3'', one of the secret stages is an abandoned cobweb filled version of the first level from the original ''Rolling Thunder''.
* OneHitPointWonder: Played With. Getting shot even once kills you, but you can take two physical attacks before dying. In the third game it's two shots and three punches unless you play on the Hard setting.
* POVSequel: ''Rolling Thunder 3'' takes place during the second game, where Jay goes after Dread, Gimdo's second-in-command.
* RespawningEnemies: The Maskers keep coming out of doors constantly.
* RoboticReveal: [[spoiler: Gimdo in ''Rolling Thunder 2''.]]
* ShockAndAwe: How Leila is tortured in the arcade version of first game.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''VideoGame/TimeCrisis'' borrows some elements from these.
* StalkedByTheBell: In ''Rolling Thunder 3'', a sniper appears and fires at you if you take too long to finish a level. The sniper stays until you lose all of your lives, beat the level, or reach the boss. Jay also won't hide behind doors and will step out as soon as opens one.
* TakeCover: One of the earliest games to use this mechanic.
* TimedMission: The first two games.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: Stages 3 and 6 of ''Rolling Thunder 3'' take place on a motorcycle and a jetski, respectively.
* VillainExitStageLeft: Applies to Gimdo in ''Rolling Thunder 2'', where he gets away in a sub at the end of the first half. Dread does this a couple of times to Jay in ''Rolling Thunder 3'' as well.
* WakeUpCallBoss: The robot boss in the Genesis version of ''Rolling Thunder 2''. His crosshair will slowly move back and forth and fire at you. Unless you can take advantage of a certain blind spot close to him early on in the battle, you'll lose a few lives and see the continue screen once or twice until you figure it out.
** The third game's first boss isn't any better. It'll move back and forth and fire shots at you, and will also jump in the spot where you're currently standing. What's worse is that when half of it's health is gone, it'll switch to a crosshair which fires explosive shots.
* AWinnerIsYou: The first game's ending when you finally kill Maboo. The second game is a little better, but not by much. The 3rd game averts this trope.
* WithThisHerring: You always start with a pistol with limited ammo, and have to find more ammo or other weapons (usually a Machine Gun) behind doors. ''Rolling Thunder 3'' gave you a knife if you chose not to start a round with any special weapons.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: While Leila is a brunette in the actual game, the promotional illustrations for the first game and the packaging illustration for the Mega Drive version of ''2'' depicts her with blue hair.
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