Published on June 28th, 2013 | by Lee Cooper2
It’s hard to call anything stupid without coming off as insulting. There’s that pesky definition that accompanies the word, implying that the one deemed stupid is slow or deficient; most certainly an unavoidable consequence of dictionary usage. While Thunder Wolves is neither of those things, it is quite often unintelligent. In the best way possible, of course.
Thunder Wolves is a game that would have likely thrived in the mid-80′s. The explosive, over-the-top helicopter action would have surely captured the quarters of thousands of innocent arcade goers, jamming up just often enough to allow an acne-riddled tween his glorious score to boast about joyously. That is, until he’s inevitably defeated by an equally unattractive stereotype with more spare time on his hands. Unfortunately, the senseless arcade-styled fun is both the strongest and weakest aspect of the game, leaving much to be desired once your measly 3 hour turn is up.
You’re the leader of the “Wolf Pack”, a ridiculously efficient and experienced team of helicopter bringers-of-death. Your mercenary skills will be put to the test as you fight the global battle against terrorism, one explosion at a time. With a handful of helicopters and an arsenal of unrealistically powerful fire-power, you take on the worst the world has to offer alone or with a friend in local co-op.
Throughout the condensed campaign you’ll shoot down plenty of aerial attackers, explode military vehicles galore, fire flares to avoid enemy air-attacks, rescue a fair share of troops, destroy some bases and radio towers, maneuver across enemy covered territory and protect friendly vehicles from certain-death. Thunder Wolves is never cheap on the explosions; there’s rarely a boring moment in the game. With vast plains, claustrophobic tunnels and sunny beaches to slightly more tropical locales, there’s a pretty view for every batty onslaught. While there are some bugs scattered throughout the levels — trees randomly spinning in the dirt, or enemies exploding twice when shot (awesome, I know) — the environments are beautifully detailed; and while a majority of the terrain is mostly generic, there are some truly enjoyable sights to be seen.
What really shines in addition to the joyously addicting combat are the missions throughout the short campaign. A variable assortment of objectives — mostly involving shooting or blowing something up, and sometimes with a ticking timer — make for an excitingly amusing experience. With later levels forcing you to swiftly dodge mercenary attacks through missile peppered skies, completing missions becomes a nostalgic rush; one riddled with ably-delivered jokes and references aplenty.
The voice actors managed to deliver their lines with such an acerbic tone; never truly reaching any level of seriousness, but always keeping a few sarcastic notes away from military jargon. Other than some annoyingly repetitive announcer calls and script-read sounding dialog, lines come across well enough to keep you interested throughout the shallow — albeit occasionally funny — story.
Keeping with the silly tone of the game, the choppers at your command are a breeze to whip through the sky. I imagine that real helicopters aren’t nearly as easy to navigate. With so much enemy fire to avoid while you exact your retribution, it’s nice that the helicopters you pilot in Thunder Wolves control more like a Steven Seagal bird than anything military grade. As the difficulty rises towards the final hour of the game, precise maneuverability becomes key to not being obliterated by the many incoming dangers scattered about the map. In these instances, the game never feels cheap. Missing a cue or mismanaging fire is always in your hands, and the difficulty never jumps unfairly. If you lose, it’s likely your fault.
Thunder Wolves only truly comes to life when it steps away from the typical arcade conventions — such as during a drone piloting mission that has you sneak through an underground base — and brings more modernized gaming to the playing-field. The fun is always as mindless as can be, but packs just enough charm to help forgive its flaws. Thunder Wolves doesn’t break new ground because it doesn’t have to. It doesn’t take orders, nor names. It simply kicks-ass.