In the Galactic Standard Year of 980, The Lohun Emperor declared war on the Unified Federation of Galaxies, known as the Galaxy Federation. After a long struggle against the Lohun Empire, two extraordinary pilots, in the legendary Stukks Fighter, managed to destroy the Lohun Control Ship and stop the Empire in its tracks.
The Lohun Empire's Main computer system, supposedly destroyed in the battle, was actually only damaged. The still-functioning mainframe data was retrieved by one of the Lohun's allies, the Kha-Oss Legion, and is being rebuilt on the planet Vios.
Should the information in the computer be analyzed, it may show weak points in the Galaxy Federation's defenses. If this happens, the Lohun Empire and the Kha-Oss Legion will certainly move against the Galactic Federation again.
You have been chosen to lead the battle against the forces protecting the Lohun computer's mainframe data, in a desperate attempt to save the Federation from destruction. You mustn't fail!
--From the Genesis Lightening Force Quest for the Darkstar instruction manual.
Originally called "Thunder Force IV" in Europe and Japan, the title of the game was changed by Sega of America once it came to the United States. It was renamed "Lightning Force: Quest for the Darkstar." While the game remained relatively unchanged in terms of gameplay, hardcore fans of the Thunder Force games were not in favor of this, seeing it as a move that really wasn't necessary for a proper release.
Lightning Force: Quest for the Darkstar being one of the many Genesis games I grew up with, if you sense any bias in my overview then I apologize. The gameplay is pretty much classic scrolling shooter at its finest, but with a few changes from other games of the genre you might have played. The most notable is that the environment stretches out beyond the height of the screen which allows a wider range for play. The several power ups and firing methods that you pick up are also a big plus. The soundtrack... simply awesome. As epic as a Genesis' sound can be, the music is synthesized and composed in such a way that it fits the environment. For example, the upbeat and ready-to-kick-butt theme of the Strite level and kind of dreary yet somewhat still suspenseful theme of the Ruin. The soundtrack is pretty much praised by all Thunder Force series fans. Overall, it's just a fun game and if you haven't given it a go yet, you should try it now because it'll only be fun!
In an almost Star Fox like fashion, you get to choose which order you'd like to go through the four levels: Ruin, Strite, Dazer, and Air-Raid. While there are different strategies as to how to go about playing, easiest to hardest, you can choose whichever combination works the best for you. If you manage to clear the four selectable levels, you move on to ten more levels that you are presented in a pre-selected fashion, in short you aren't given the luxury to choose which order you can play them in. However, this is where challenge comes in: be struck by an enemy once and your ship blows up. However, it reappears in the same spot after a life has been used so if you can stack up enough lives, it won't be too big of an issue.
What makes a shooter game, as much as the gameplay, is the weapons you get as you advance. Starting off, you're given two modes of fire: Twin Shot (weak in comparison but quick to fire) and Back Shot (fires backwards as well but a single weak streak). These are your default weapons and cannot be lost if you die. However, moving along with the game you earn even greater firing modes like Blade (more powerful but tough to penetrate weaker holes), Railgun (powerful but can only shoot the powerful lasers backwards), and Claw (fire extra shots from certain weapons except the Snake) amongst a few others. Unlike your two default firing methods, though, these you lose if you die while in play. The only real pick ups, besides the weapon upgrades, are the 1-UP's you can find and these will definitely prove useful if you're having difficulty passing the levels.
At the end of each stage, you are presented with a big boss battle. Each one will have a different pattern of attack and it's up to you to find out a strategy to wash them out once and for all. A good thing to do is to keep your more powerful weapons with you, granted you aren't killed a great number of times.
|A Button||Change Speed|
|B Button||Fire Weapon|
|C Button||Switch Weapons|
|Start Button||Pause Game|
|Pause the game and type in this code: Up, Right, A, Down, Right, A, C, Left, Up, B, Up. Unpause and you will have all the weapons.||99 Lives|
|When you start the game, wait for the title screen to show with the words, "Press Start Button." Once you get to that screen, hold A and press start. You will come to a configuration screen in which, as well as change the number of lives, you can set button schemes, difficulty, engine power and listen to sounds from the game. Set the lives to zero and you have 99 lives once you begin to play.|
|Beat the game on any difficulty setting. Go the configuration screen and you can listen to 10 new themes that aren't in the game!|