The setting of the Thunder Force games (excluding the fifth chapter) are centered around the war between inhabitants of the "Galaxy Federation" (protagonists), and the "ORN Empire" (antagonists). The games feature the "FIRE LEO" spacecraft and its iterations, developed by the Galaxy Federation under "Project Thunder Force" to be small, but maneuverable and powerful fighter craft. The Galaxy Federation feels that these ships have the best chance of defeating large forces such as the ORN empire's, as opposed to sending a host of larger ships. Thunder Force V details the discovery of Galaxy Federation technology by Earthlings and the conseqences this discovery causes.
Early games in the series had multi directional scrolling, overhead stages where the player would attack airborne and ground targets. These stages were later removed in favor of horizontally-scrolling stages that contained various gameplay elements derived from popular horizontal scrolling shooters Gradius and R-Type, such as an array of interchangeable and unique weapons, satellite turrets which provide the player additional firepower, and level design which encourages player memorization and skillful ship maneuvering/positioning in order to effectively pass.
Thunder Force VI is currently only scheduled for release in Japan, on October 30, 2008
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