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  • Adaptation Displacement: Remember Thunder Force II on the Genesis / Mega Drive? Yeah, well, remember the Sharp X68000 version that it's a port of?
  • Awesome Music: Multiple examples. See the page.
  • Badass Decay: The ORN Faust in IV was impervious to all of Rynex's weaponries, even possessing it in the end; in VI it's vulnerable even to Rynex's supposedly-less-powerful mass-produced incarnation, and multiple of them wind up permanently destroyed by Earth and Galaxy Federation forces.
  • Broken Base:
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    • Thunder Force VI. Is it worthy of the series, or just another inferior installment due to its short and easy gameplay, as well as its constant homages to previous games?
    • Also in the case of V, which one is better? The original Japanese-exclusive Sega Saturn version which features better graphics or the PlayStation version?
  • Catharsis Factor: Stage 5 of V. You get a new ship with powerful Wave Motion Gun weapons that can be used infinitely and then proceed to enjoy one of the easiest stages in the game, blowing the Guardian's defense forces into pieces.
  • Ear Worm: The option music in Thunder Force II (X68000 version), IV, and VI, "Tan Tan Ta Ta Ta Tan".
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Free Range in V. Even the manual of the North American version describes it as the strongest weapon in the game and encourages you to use it.
    • In VI, the only ship you can initially play as starts off with all of its weapons and never loses them, which by Thunder Force standards is pretty broken. In other words, the default ship is more broken than the unlockable Rynex-R.
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  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: One of the main reasons Thunder Force VI wasn't so well received.
  • Memetic Mutation: The ORN Emperor from Thunder Force VI was a short-lived meme in Korea.
  • Narm: The intro dialogue in Thunder Force II:
    "This is Exceliza, I want to fly now." "Roger, good luck."
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The mere existence of Rynex in V. To put it simply, it is one of the most dangerous machines in the entire cosmos. Every single horrific event that transpired in the game, from Guardian going insane to the absolute devastation caused by the conflict, was all because humanity decided to reverse-engineer the legendary starfighter. It really speaks volumes on how terrifying the Rynex is, once fallen into the wrong hands. Just ask Khaos.
    • V's Final Boss starts off with the usual Boss Warning Siren and text "ALERT! The enemy is dead ahead! [...]", only for the AI voice to malfunction and the screen to be filled with "ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! [...]" with no advance warning.
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    • Thunder Force V's bad ending: Cenes is subject to repeat what happened to Vasteel/Rynex, only instead of ejecting from the ship, she is trapped in it. All while frantic music plays and the Guardian begs her to blow the ship up, despite being unable to.
    • The good ending as well. While heartwarming music plays, the Last Letter scene is still a bit spooky.
    • Enemy/boss design in the games are often pretty Nightmare Fuel-y too, like the Evil Core in IV's eighth stage—a putrescent-looking thing that's served by little white flies that explode. And in its final phase (where a single giant fly is carrying it around), it basically drools its attacks out.
    • The ORN Emperor in VI.
      • The Easy Mode ending as well. It consists of a dark screen of flashing images and the eyes of the ORN Emperor while ominous chanting in the background is heard as ORN Faust calls for Earth's unconditional surrender using a darker version of The Guardian's speech from V.
    • Somehow, C-CTNs-C's (a.k.a. Cenes Crawford) appearance in Thunder Force VI is a bit creepy to some people.
  • Polished Port: The SEGA Ages version on Switch has everything you'd expect in a console-to-another-console port (screen fitting and filter options, button configuration) and M2's usual top-notch porting standards, but adds a neat new feature: you can now have voices not interrupt the background music! And if you beat the game, you unlock the Styx from III as a playable ship.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • For some reason, Thunder Force AC has a really slow autofire rate, forcing players to furiously mash the fire button to achieve the same rate of fire as the Genesis version's autofire. And then there's Thunder Spirits, a port of AC with still no autofire and lots of slowdown.
    • Thunder Spirits actually has autofire, it just has to be turned on in the options menu, which for some reason is hidden instead of being obviously accessible. Ostensibly this was all to make the game more challenging. It does, but probably not in the way that was intended.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: In III (on Normal and below) and IV onwards, getting killed takes away the weapon you have equipped, unless it's the Twin Shot or Back Shot. In practice, this means you'll frequently be using the weapon you least need when you're in situations where you feel like you have a reasonable chance of taking a hit.
  • Scrappy Weapon: Blade in IV. Normally, when you shoot an enemy, blue explosions indicate no damage and red explosions indicate damage. However, when hitting enemies with the Blade, all hit explosions are red, meaning you can fire nonstop at a boss and not realize you've been doing no damage to it all along until you're wondering "Why Won't You Die?" 5 minutes later. At least its base counterpart, the Twin Shot, doesn't have this problem.
  • Sequel Displacement: Few gamers have heard of the original Thunder Force (it doesn't help that it was released in 1983 on an obscure Japan-only computer platform), and even fewer have played it.
  • Sequelitis: VI was released 10 years after V, and came to be a big disappointment among fans, with only six short stages, a radically different soundtrack, excessive homages to past games, weapons as broken as Thunder Force V's, and a new weapon mechanic in which you start with every weapon and never lose any of them.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Thunder Force VI, which did not quite catch the high expectation its previous titles had anticipated.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Barring the 6th installment, the series composers sure love their heavy metal.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Thunder Force VI- the ORN Empire has found its way to Earth despite Cenes Crawford's and the Guardian's best efforts, Earth forces have revived the Sword Fleet just in time to make a stand at their homeworld's orbit, and their most advanced weapon, the RVR-00 Phoenix fighter with Brigadine booster, is about to deal the first blow...... and all we get from that story angle is a mere cutscene.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Thunder Force V features a "Direct" control option that assigns each of the five weapons to its own button, alongside the traditional option of "cycle through weapon list" buttons. Direct weapon switching was sadly not kept for Thunder Force VI.

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