SAS: Operation Thunderflash!!
by Mark Rivers
Super Sparklers
Crash Issue 37, February 1987   (1987-01-22)   page(s) 125

Here's a game that gives you the chance to be an SAS hero - if you think you can handle it! You take the role of Rock Hardman, leader of a crack SAS squad, who's been chosen for a tough mission - in fact it's his toughest yet. A foreign embassy has been taken over by terrorists and hostages are being held. Single-handedly he must set this situation right.

You move diagonally across the screen, rotating quickly if a terrorist attempts to attack from behind. The embassy consists of a number of rooms, all of which house a deadly terrorist. You make your way through these rooms one by one, killing the terrorists as you go. Your enemies are aware of your position and make every attempt to see you off before you reach them, therefore it is important to eliminate them with your first shot whenever possible. You are endowed with four lives, one of which is lost each time a terrorist bullet hits home.

The embassy is a three-storey building, with movement between the floors achieved by lifts. The hostages are randomly scattered about the entire embassy, and you must search them out and deliver them to safety while eliminating the terrorists.

There is a time factor to be taken into consideration, represented by a system of diminishing points. You start with a total of 100 points, one of which is lost with every movement made. This total can be replenished by releasing hostages and killing terrorists, and you must have enough points left to escape when your mission is completed.

Control keys: S up, C down, B back, J forward or Z anticlockwise, X clockwise, M walk, K fire rotate left, X rotate right, M walk
Joystick: Kempston
Use of colour: monochromatic
Graphics: a little flickery, unremarkable
Sound: spot effects throughout
Skill levels: one
Screens: fifty

'Wow! a good piece of budget software - I'm surprised - I'm shocked - I like It. Operation Thunderflash is one of those games that you can either play or you can 't. The terrorists really are nasty so you've got to be quite quick on the draw. Graphically, this is the first poor Filmation- style program that I've seen - the characters flicker a lot and they aren't really detailed enough. It would also have been nice if there was more than one type of terrorist. The sound is a bit on the drab side, with very few effects and no tunes. All in all, I still think this offers excellent value for money, and I recommend it.'

'Visually this game seems very attractive on the surface - but in reality it contains little more. A closer look at the characters reveals that they are out of proportion with the scenery, and somehow look stretched. The animation of the people is kept to the simplest form, and thus looks very jerky. I found it very hard to get started, until I discovered that It was just a case of 'spin and shoot', with the enemies posing no real problem. The keyboard play is very erratic and extremely hard to get used to. Nowadays, if a 3D monochrome, arcade adventure wants to make an impression it has to be something very special - even at £2.99. Operation Thunderflash holds little lasting appeal. Not recommended.'

'The characters in this game are pretty poorly drawn and animated; the main dude looks as if he's two pixels thick- and if you ' re really lucky, you can see the other men through him! Variety is sadly lacking, as a lot of the screens look very familiar, and most of the terrorists are identical in appearance. Shooting the opposition isn't easy, as they shoot as soon as, if not before, you come into line with them. If you do get near them the chances are that one of you won't be going away! As far as value goes, Operation Thunderflash hasn't got much wrong with it. There are a lot of men to be shot, and, despite the fact that it looks very like a cheapie, it might be worth checking out.'

Value for Money63%
Summary: General Rating: A fairly respectable piece of budget software.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 14, February 1987   page(s) 83

This game is more light drizzle than thunderflash! You play the part of Rock Hardman (worra hero), leader of a crack team of SAS Stormtroops. You've infiltrated an embassy and your mission is to rescue hostages who're being held by a group of extreme and vicious terrorists, led by the horrendous Kred.

Sounds fine in theory, but in practise - forget it! Rock seems to have been struck down with a hideous disease, which means his legs have gone completely stiff, and all his mobility has gone from his hips. He waddles around in a terribly ungainly manner! Thee doesn't help when it comes to being quick on the turn, as the game says he must be. And what's worse - every step he takes loses points from your score. You only gain points by shooting people and releasing hostages.

There are 50 rooms to make your way through, on three levels. They're carefully drawn in 3D and you've got to wander through the cellar, the ground floor or upstairs to find the hostages. You're equipped with an armour piercing weapon, which as you'll find, can only fire in straight lines, calling for exact positIoning of Rock. Hard to do when you're under fire.

This is a daft game - it's too hard to get into and has poor graphics and game play. Ifs still stuck in basic training as far as I'm concerned!

Value For Money5/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 59, February 1987   page(s) 88,89

SAS Operation Thunderflash is a Super Sparkler - a cut above a regular Sparkler and put out for £2.99.

It looks a bit like Strike Force Cobra but is simpler and its simplicity may be its greatest virtue.

There is nothing much to do in this game other than kill people. It's OK though, the people you get to kill are all totally degenerate terrorists. That is, you can tell they're terrorists because they kidnap people and you can tell they are degenerate because they have long hair and beards. You on the other hand are Rock Hardman, leader of a crack SAS team. You appear to be obese. I don't know why - maybe it's the tension.

The setting is an embassy as presented in Knight Lore-style 3D. There are comfy executive type chairs and Habitat-style coffee tables - a tribute to the graphics quality I guess.

The game blurb says: only cunning, skill, determination and force will succeed in conquering these symbols of subversion. This is pretty heavy right-wing stuff. I mean, maybe these terrorists have a case. Unfortunately there is no 'chat to terrorist' option so I guess you'd better just kill them.

The business of terminating terrorists with extreme prejudice is actually rather clever and requires quite a lot of skill and extremely fast reactions.

Each of the rooms in the embassy presents the same problem in a different way: how to get into a position where, even momentarily, s/he can't shoot at you but you can shoot at him/her.

It involves a lot of split-second timing as you work out how the terrorists move and how you can make use of the position of the different items of furniture to give you an advantage.

There isn't much else to the game - obviously you have to find your way around the embassy and rescue hostages when you find them but in the end it's all about killing them before they kill you and it isn't easy.

I rate SAS Operation Thunderflash pretty highly. The game idea is very simple but it takes a good deal of skill to make it through even half a dozen rooms.

It's all very well presented with convincing 3D graphics and at £2.99 you'll get a lot more fun out of it than a good many full price games.

Label: Super Sparklers
Author: Mark Rivers
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Summary: Well presented and challenging 3D game. A simple idea but lots of violent fun. Strongest Sparklers release for ages.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 71, February 1988   page(s) 37

I won't bother with the humorous opening, in SAS
Operation Thunderflash you are a leader of an SAS squad and you have to rescue some ever so nice hostages, destroy all the ever so nasty baddies and get out before an ever so loud bomb goes boom. The game is viewed in 3D isometric filmation kind of fashion and as with all games of this sort is under rotational control. Or is it directional, the game I had didn't seem to be able to make up its mind. The graphics are ugly and jerky, the gameplay is slow and the idea has worn thin. I couldn't find anything decent about it, even the price tag put me off.

Label: Top Ten
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Summary: Overpriced budget trash. Let it lie.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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