- In 199X,
The world is overtaken by a storm of terrorism.
The evil power of invasion extends over the land, sky and sea.
However, there are brave men fighting against it for putting down the storm...
… and they're called "Thunder" and "Fox", because it's an arcade game from 1990.
Thunder Fox is an arcade game made by Taito for the arcade, released after The Ninja Warriors with a similar gameplay format, but set in modern times.
The title refers to two tough-as-nails commandoes, "Thunder" and "Fox", leading an anti-terrorist unit, sent to infiltrate and dismantle a terrorist cell. An ass-kicking ensues.
Besides for the arcade, Taito released the game for the Sega Genesis as well, which is slightly easier than it's arcade counterpart. The amount of obstacles are reduced, with a longer Life Meter granted to both Thunder and Fox. Some of the bosses are also swapped around for good measure.
Break through the enemy's front line!
- Adapted Out: The jet-ski and hover-plane chase levels are absent in the Genesis release.
- Attack Drone: Small, floating drones with twin-machine guns are occasional enemies, trying to take potshots at Thunder and Fox. They're hard to hit without jumping, but goes down in a single weak punch.
- Auto-Scrolling Level: A few of these appears in both ports, when Thunder and Fox leaps on speedboats or hover-planes and begin giving chase across enemy territory at full speed, using the turrets on their vehicles to shoot at enemies in the way.
- Battle in the Rain: In the arcade version, the first stage set outside the terrorist compound occurs in the middle of heavy downpour. It magically stops however as soon as Thunder and Fox approaches the first tank boss.
- Battleship Raid: The second stage of both games, where Thunder and Fox enters an Airborne Aircraft Carrier base belonging to the terrorists (after shooting down their external defenses via hover planes) and force their way in. After destroying it's core, cue an intense escape from the entire ship about to self-destruct as Thunder and Fox made their way to an exit.
- Blade Enthusiast: Fox is the knife expert of the two, where players choosing him have Fox lashing out slashing and stabbing moves with greater speed than Thunder. Consequently his ammunition pickup is a lot less than his partners. Even the end credits depicts Fox polishing his blade after killing the terrorist leader!
- Blade on a Stick: The boss of the naval base's helipad stage (both Genesis and arcade) is an elite terrorist mercenary who, against all logic, is armed with a spear. Although to be fair, he's surprisingly agile leaping all over the place while trying to skewer his targets, and his spear can actually shave quite some health off Thunder and Fox if they're caught by his Weapon Twirling move.
- Construction Vehicle Rampage: A weaponized crane used by the terrorists shows up as a boss in the Genesis release, with a wrecking ball it repeatedly swings at Thunder and Fox.
- Cool Chair: For both releases, the terrorist leader Final Boss is seated on a weaponized, elevated chair with an automatic turret underneath, which he repeatedly uses to attack Thunder and Fox from above. Though once his seat is destroyed, he then fights the heroes on foot.
- Exploding Barrels: Barrels are everywhere throughout the game, and what's even better is that instead of exploding instantly, they blow up after two to three seconds. Thunder and Fox can easily shoot at them, keep a distance, and watch as passing mooks get blown off their feet.
- Fiery Redhead: Fox is a red-haired badass, tough-as-nails military commando and one of the two playable ass-kickers. And for bonus points, wear pants the same colour as his hair.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: The flamethrower is an early pickup Thunder and Fox can use, capable of incinerating multiple enemies at once.
- Mirror Match" While most of the bosses are aircrafts or armored vehicles, some of the bosses are extremely durable human enemies roughly the same size as the titular heroes. Including the spear-swinging mercenary on the helipad, the terrorist leader's second-in-command and dragon (who attacks Thunder and Fox using a 50. Cal machine-gun) and the terrorist leader himself (well, at least until his elevated seat is destroyed).
- Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: For some inexplicable reason, most of the terrorist mooks armed with daggers will attempt attacking Thunder or Fox... when they're carrying firearms. The results are quite predictable.
- Palette Swap: Thunder and Fox uses the exact same sprite in both versions, with the only difference being the color of their hair and pants (Thunder is the blonde guy in blue pants, For is the redhead with orange pants).
- Pistol-Whipping: Both Thunder and Fox can pull a melee attack when using their machine-guns or shotguns, by using their weapon's butts to knock terrorists off their feet.
- Powered Armor: In the Genesis version, the terrorist leader serving as the Final Boss of the Genesis version sics his personal bodyguard, clad in gigantic yellow exo-suit as the second-to-last boss battle. This is the only "new" challenge added by the re-release, with the mecha being completely absent in the arcade version.
- Protagonist Title: The two playable commandoes are respectively code-named "Thunder" and "Fox".
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Thunder, as pictured on both the arcade flyer and Genesis cover, is going to shoot the player. Either with a pistol or a bazooka.
- Sea Mine: The stage where Thunder and Fox hops on jetskis to reach the terrorist's naval outpost have floating, spiky naval mines they must leap over or get damaged.
- Tanks for Nothing: A tank shows up as the first boss of the arcade release, and it's a slow, weak and easy Warmup Boss. It's projectile attacks are slow and avoidable, the cannon shots can be dodged easily by ducking, and it's attempts at ramming over Thunder and Fox can be overcome by jumping on it and using the tank for a ride. Also every now and then, a mook will stick out the tank's hatch, allowing Thunder or Fox to quickly kill him before lobbing a grenade into the still-opened cover.
- Weak Turret Gun: Turrets are recurring obstacles in both games, and they're rubbish. Two stabs from a knife is enough to blow them up.
- The terrorists' activities, which plunged the people of the world into unspeakable horror, have been extinguished by the gallant deeds of our heroes Thunder and Fox.
They crushed the spread of global terrorism, and after their fierce battle, Thunder and Fox wished peace on the earth forever.