Originally developed for the Sega Saturn by Tecnosoft, but a year or two later, was released for the Sony Playstation by Working Designs.

The story behind the game was that an alien ship was recovered just beyond the orbit of Pluto. The ship was returned to Earth for further analysis. The technology was labeled "Vasteel". Through further research and development, an island called Babel was constructed in the South Pacific Ocean to manufacture Vasteel technology. To operate Babel, an artificial intelligence named "The Guardian" was created. In the year 2150, The Guardian decided to declare war on the human race. Using the Vasteel weapons created, The Guardian wiped out many lives. In response, the surviving humans formed an attack squad, named Thunder Force, as their last hope of destroying The Guardian and preventing human extinction.

In addition to seven stages of shooting action, the game features a Time Attack mode, where the goal is to obtain the quickest time to defeat all of the stage bosses in the game. Other game features include:
  • Two different endings
  • Graphics Viewer
  • Jukebox with all of the in-game music
  • Three hidden ships
During play, the player controls the RVR-01 "Gauntlet". The Gauntlet was constructed from Vasteel technology, utilizing many different weapon systems. The weapons available to the RVR-01 are as follow.
  • Twin Shot: Your standard weapon. Fires a stream of bullets straight ahead
  • Back Shot: Also comes standard on the RVR-01. This weapon fires a stream of bullets to the rear of the ship.
  • Wave: Covers a wide area of attack, but the attack power is weak. Useful for clearing large areas of weak enemies
  • Free Range: A laser that can only fire in the targetting area of the Free Range weapon. This weapon is the most powerful when fighting enemies at close range.
  • Hunter: A special weapon that fires spheres of energy towards enemies and will automatically seek them out.
  • CRAW: A floating sphere of energy that orbits your ship and boosts the power of your weapons
  • Over Weapon: Activated by pressing the button on the controller assigned to this function. The Over Weapon uses the energy of the CRAWs to boost the power of the currently utilized weapon.
  • Shield: Activates an energy barrier that can absorb three hits from enemy ships and/or shots.
To access the hidden ships mentioned in the game features above, follow the steps below.
  1. Start either a normal game or a Time Attack game
  2. Hold one of the three buttons mentioned below on Controller 2 while making your stage selections in the normal game, or setting the order to fight the bosses in Time Attack mode
    • Triangle: You will control the RVR-01E, a green variation of the RVR-01. Three CRAWs will orbit the ship, but attack power on all weapons will be reduced by 60%, compared to the RVR-01. All points scored in games using this ship will be doubled.
    • Square: You will control the RVR-01Ex, a purple variation of the RVR-01. Only two CRAWs will orbit the ship. This ship is the slowest of the available fighters, but to make up for the limited CRAWs and speed, the weapons system has been optimized to do 75% more damage compared to the RVR-01.
    • Circle: You will control the RVR-01Hi, a red variation of the RVR-01. Three CRAWs will orbit the ship. Compared to the RVR-01, the RVR-01i is twice as fast and can do slightly more damage. A major disadvantage to using the RVR-01Hi is that the CRAWs take longer to regenerate to full power after repeated use of the Over Weapon.
  3. After confirming your selections, you should begin play with the ship that you specified. Note that during normal games, after Stage 4, you will be at the controls of the RVR-02 "Vambrace" for the remainder of the game, and will lose the benefits/penalties of the ship you were using in the previous stages.

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