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[PlayStation 4] Thunderbolt Collection Review

[PlayStation 4] Thunderbolt Collection Review
  • On August 10, 2022

Thunderbolt Collection from QUByte and PIKO bring us some solid shoot ‘em up action to PlayStation 4. Learn more in our Thunderbolt Collection review!


Thunderbolt Collection from QUByte and PIKO brings us some solid shoot ‘em up action to PlayStation 4. We get not one but games for this one, the 8-bit Thunderbolt and the 16-bit sequel Thunderbolt II, from 1993 and 1995, respectively. They offer a classic gameplay loop for those of you familiar with the genre since for both vertical shoot ‘em ups, you’ll need to shoot at everything that moves as you work your way towards the boss fight at the end of each stage.

For the 8-bit version of Thunderbolt, things are simple and to the point. You’ll move your spaceship with the left analog stick or the D-Pad and will shoot by pressing the Circle button. You can collect power-ups to improve the attack power for your shots. You can increase attack power up to level 3. If you’re hit, your attack power will go down a level. If fully leveled up, collecting a power-up of the same color will unleash a mighty super attack. Collecting a power-up of a different color will change your weapon to the level 3 version of that color. You can also collect sub-weapons that unleash a homing attack or that place small spaceships circling around you to protect you.


For the 16-bit sequel – a.k.a Thunderbolt II – things are a bit more advanced. You’ll now attack with the X button, while the Circle button will unleash any of the bombs you have in your arsenal. You’ll also collect power-ups to boost your attack power, homing missiles or orbs to protect your spaceship from attacks, extra bombs, and power-ups with a huge S that will allow you to increase your speed – which is a must since your spaceship is very slow – as well as a heart power-up to recover all of your ships energy.

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In each of the games, you can take advantage of the five save slots you can use to save your progress. Just press the L2 and R2 buttons on the DualShock 4 to bring up the game menu, select save, and then select where to save your game. If you make a mistake and need to revert back to a save, just press the L2 and R2 buttons again, select the load menu, and then pick which save you want to carry on from. This is very useful for both shoot ‘em ups since you can save your state when you’ve destroyed a wave of enemies – or right before starting a boss fight, and then load that save if needed.


To customize your experience with the Thunderbolt Collection, you can select and combine four different game filters and three screen modes. The filters are smooth, sharp, CRT, and XBR, while the screen modes are normal, fit, and stretch. The first two filter options will make the image look, well, smoother or sharper, while the last two filters will give the game an old-school look as if played by way of a CRT TV or by applying an upscaling effect. The screen mode options will display the action inside of a frame, have the 4:3 image fit completely on your TV so it hits the top and bottom parts, while the stretch option will stretch the image to a 16:9 aspect ratio.

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You can expect to find a Platinum trophy for this collection, thanks to a list that includes 6 Bronze trophies, 4 Silver trophies, and 9 Gold trophies. You’ll need to play through both the 8-bit Thunderbolt and the 16-bit sequel to be able to add this new Platinum to your collection. For the 8-bit game, obtain the maximum bullet upgrade for the scarlet shot, trinity shot, and cannon shot, as well as obtain the guard update, defeat each of the bosses, and complete the game. For the 16-bit version, you’ll have to reach maximum speed, get the maximum bullet upgrade with any shot, fight against the first, fifth, and seventh boss, obtain a score of 10,000 and 100,000 points, and complete the game on normal or hard mode.

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Thunderbolt Collection gives us two shoot ‘em ups in a single budget package. While 8-bit Thunderbolt only has three stages, you will end up either replaying the last stage and boss over and over again until you get things just right, or you’ll have to abuse your save states and spend 10-15 minutes on the final boss fight alone. Why? Because your spaceship’s hitbox is actually shaped like a box, which means that while your instinct might say you won’t be hit by a bullet or an enemy, said bullet or enemy is certainly going to deal some damage or bring you down in flames. The 16-bit sequel is a bit more forgiving and offers more than twice the levels of its prequel, but it also suffers from a lot of slowdown at odd times. The collection is recommended only for shoot ‘em up completionists looking to experience every game in the genre out there. Thunderbolt Collection is out on PlayStation 4 with a $7.99 asking price.

This Thunderbolt Collection review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by QUByte.

Review Overview

Shoot 'em up collection with two simple games in the genre