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Thunder Fox

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Description

Thunder Foxhunder Fox is a well-executed side-scrolling soldiers-of-fortune two-player game from Taito. The board uses a very similar architecture to Crime City, but it's more advanced. The main game code (total size 256K on two 27010s), runs on a 12MHz 68000, and the sound (total size 64K on a 27512) runs on a 2MHz Z-80A. The game code is possibly encrypted, decryption being performed by two PAL16L8Bs just next to the 68000 (upper left corner in the board picture above; I haven't yet reverse-engineered it enough to know if those PALs are decryptors or address decoders). The board uses mostly the same custom ASICs as Crime City, except that Thunder Fox has a couple more devices which appear to handle the parallax scrolling layers. Thunder Fox has very nice parallax scrolling; at least three layers (not counting the score overlay) are supported directly, and some of the levels have at LEAST 7 layers of clouds and/or waves. Very tasty. The sprite hardware supports scaling and possibly also rotation, neither of which are actually used as such in the game - just in the end-game sequence which shows you a lot of sprites from the game in various sizes and orientations.

Oooh, look at the size of his weapon. Why is player 1 nearly always blue with blond hair, and player 2 red with brown hair?

There is quite a bit of variety in the gameplay. Most of the game consists of the kind of action you can see in the level 1 raining screenshot to the right, but there are interludes where you are either flying an autogiro (see below; do these vehicles exist? They look cool!), or zooming along on a jet-ski dodging mines, other jet-skis and knife-wielding frogmen jumping down from a helicopter. In the first level, you can also jump into jeeps and drive them along. All the sprites are large, colorful and well-animated, as you'd expect from a modern Taito game.

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