P-47 Thunderbolt (Firebird) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format

P-47 Thunderbolt
By Firebird
Atari ST

Published in ST Format #7

P-47 Thunderbolt

Following in tried and tested footsteps, P-47 Thunderbolt is a horizontally-scrolling, weapon-collecting, shoot-'em-up. This time, instead of taking place around some desolate moon in the distant reaches of the Galaxy the game has a very earth-bound theme.

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was a heavy-duty American fighter plane used during the early part of World War II for short-range bombing raids over Northern France. The plane was later fitted with "drop tanks" to allow for the extra fuel necessary for longer missions.

In Firebird's latest release you find yourself in the cockpit of this celebrated fighting plane taking part in a variety of long-distance attack raids - from the greenery of Northern France to the dusty plains of Africa. Your attack squadron is huge - there's just two of you!

P-47 Thunderbolt

You and your brave compatriot have to inflict as much damage as possible while fighting off hordes of enemy planes, tanks and helicopters in an attempt to reach the humungous end-of-level baddy. This foe must be destroyed before you're cleared to fly off and attack another area.

You're initially armed with simple front-firing machine guns, but destroying carrier helicopters occasionally reveals extra weapons such as bombs, missiles, directable fire and spray cannons to help deal even more death to the dastardly Hun.

As you'd expect, Jerry doesn't take a thrashing too kindly and sets up his troops quickly after a raid. So even if you do manage to blast your way through all eight attack stages, you must return to blast them again.


P-47 Thunderbolt

Sadly, P-47 Thunderbolt suffers from chronic sound effects. The tunes are dreadful and soon become infuriating. The spot effects are as unrealistic as a three foot cardboard cut-out of St. Paul's Cathedral. You're highly recommended to play the game with sound staying well and truly off.

The graphics are a different matter altogether. Firebird have captured the feel of the coin-op's graphics to a tee, even down to the loading screens. One can't help being impressed by the incredibly smooth parallax scrolling and the sheer number of sprites moving about the screen has to be seen to be believed. After the disappointingly tiny train in stage one, the end-of-level enemies become bigger and more detailed, but thankfully with no loss of quality in animation.

Occasionally the scaling of various sprites is a little askew, but even that doesn't detract from the game's overall stylish appearance. Another example of what can be achieved with scrolling and animation on the ST if you put your mind to it - it's just a shame the grotty sound lets it down!


Even though P-47 doesn't really offer anything innovative to experienced shoot-'em-up players, it's surprisingly good fun to play. The going is extremely tough right from the outset, throwing you in at the deep end with pea-shooter guns to fight off tanks. Once you've learned the first few attack patterns and picked up a couple of weapons, you soon get into the swing of things and blast away with the best of them.

The Jaleco original of P-47 proved popular with blast freaks, and Firebird have done an excellent job in converting it to the ST. The arcade version wasn't the best game ever, so the home version doesn't break any boundaries. It presents you with a simple shoot-'em-up that's enjoyable but lacking the lasting interest required of a classic blast.

Maff Evans

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