I’d seen pictures of this underwater shoot ’em up but didn’t really know what to expect from what seemed a pretty naff James Bond wannabe. Released in 1991 by Domark, our villain is the busty Madame Q who desires nothing less than to rule the world. She’s gone and kidnapped lots of gorgeous young girls who are to be experimented on and turned into monsters. Okay, so our task is to find her secret base, kill all the baddies, and free the hostages.
Firstly, grab something rubbery to wear because her base is deep underwater and you’re not alone. I’m reminded of Scuba Dive on my old ZX Spectrum, but these dangerous waters are patrolled by armed guards and robotic sharks. Harpoon everything that moves and destroy the automated defences before blowing open an entrance to her lair.
A cool loading screen but where’s the intro gone?? Still, at least 2-player co-op is still included.
Once inside, the game changes to a scrolling platformer which is basically a ripoff of Rolling Thunder – I think every ST owner remembers that dreadful conversion!! Thankfully, this stage is far better and with many henchmen and other strange characters chasing you. Weaponry remains the same and can also be upgraded to a flamethrower, uzi, rockets, and more. Battle a boss and rescue yourself a few gorgeous babes – who will be extremely grateful.
Once completed, the game flips back to another underwater stage and we repeat for another mission. The difficulty level increases as we infiltrate another base but it’s now that I really needed to activate a trainer because the later levels are crammed with an insane amount of baddies!! Also, end of level bosses are very tough but made worse by the fact that everyone else turns up for nothing more than screen littered with many brawling sprites!!
Yikes, our evil villain looks freaky but rescuing the sexy girls produces kisses and hugs for our hero!!
Visuals are okay with some neat sprites but nothing beats watching the girls falling to their feet for lots of comical kissing. Sadly, there isn’t a chiptune bopping away in the background but the sound effects are quite good. Actually, no, they are crude at best. The grunts are deranged but I liked the haunting female’s scream of death.
I must admit, I don’t know what to make of Thunder Jaws. It’s predictable throughout but the addition of two-player co-op is excellent. However, those later levels are impossible without cheating and gameplay is often sluggish so whiffs of a lame port. Having said all that, it’s certainly not the disaster Rolling Thunder was and I have enjoyed myself pretending to be James Bond rescuing sexy girls and saving the world from a busty tyrant… Yep.
Thunder Jaws can be download for either floppy or hard disk but only if you look good in flippers! Please note, faster computers will benefit from better framerates but only when installing onto a hard drive – thanks to 8BitChip.
The end screen for all those unwilling to endure the agony of Thunder Jaws. Probably best I don’t comment…