Thunder Force III is a shoot ’em up developed and published by Techno Soft for the Sega Megadrive in 1990. It drops the overhead view stages from the first and second games and is entirely side-scrolling, which personally I find a little disappointing.
Why? Because the overhead stages at least made the game look and play differently to many other shooters at the time and to go entirely side-scrolling just made it feel generic.
Thunder Force III does have a few elements that make it interesting, though. Like the underwater levels with bubbles that make you rise upwards if you’re caught in them, and a landscape that re-configures itself (ie. moves) as you progress. That said, the game is excruciatingly difficult at times. In some levels there are barriers that appear suddenly and can only be avoided if you know they’re coming up.
Thunder Force III is not a bad game and Megadrive fanatics often cite it as “one of the best shooters on the system”. The game does have some bad sprite tearing in places and is a little disappointing after the previous game, in my opinion.