The game's main mechanic is that of Button Mashing: Your ship has an energy bar that constantly drains, and also affects the strength of its attacks. To fill it up, the player has to mash the shot button. The faster the player mashes the shot button, the faster it fills, and the stronger the player's shot becomes. Players take on an armada of alien invaders and thwart their attempts.
This Game Provides Examples of:
- Button Mashing: The main mechanic of the game. The faster you mash the button, the stronger your power bar gets.
- Cores-and-Turrets Boss: More than half the bosses are these, including the final boss.
- Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version (Thunder Blaster) is by far a lot more difficult than the English versions. For starters, you face off many more enemies, including foes that come from behind to bump into you, and it also uses a checkpoint system instead of instant-respawning.
- Excuse Plot: There's aliens, go and stop them.
- Fighter-Launching Sequence: This happens at the start of the Japanese version of the game.
- Fluffy the Terrible: "Green Peas" may sound like a non-indicative Atrocious Alias (he's white), but his reason for that naming is because he fires out loads of homing, indestructible small green balls in Thunder Blaster. (In Lethal Thunder, he's as lame as that name gets).
- Giant Mook: Several kinds, many of which are Demonic Spiders.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: The bosses are named after colours, and the Final Boss is called "Gold Mine".
- Multiple Endings: You only get the good ending (Ending A) if you do not let any of the bosses escape. Otherwise, you get endings of increasing depressing-ness for each boss you let escape, the worst one has the earth being destroyed.
- Nintendo Hard: Besides having to button mash to deal enough damage to foes, there are many enemies that are extremely nasty.
- Reflecting Laser: One of the Mooks in the final stage shoot these.
- Smart Bomb: You power it up by Button Mashing.
- Space Mines: One of the Mooks. Destroying it makes them explode into a spread of shrapnel.
- Spread Shot: Three of the four weapons are these, the last one being a single-stream flamethrower. The Yellow (Ball) weapon is a variant- if the player holds forward, they spread out even more, if the player holds back, they concentrate into a single beam.
- Status Effects: Getting hit by a green blob will give you an energy drain status, draining your weapon power faster and forcing you to button mash even more to get it back high.
- Theme Naming: The enemy alien bosses are named after colours. (White Feather, Red Tide, Bluish Green, Dark Brown, Green Peas, Silver Scale, Gold Mine).
- Time-Limit Boss: Several of the bosses will "time out" and escape if you take too long to beat them. This will affect the ending you receive- let any boss escape and the ending gets worse.