Operation Thunderbolt

Arcade Video game published 36 years ago by Taito Corp.

Listed in MAME

Operation Thunderbolt screenshot

Operation Thunderbolt © 1988 Taito Corp.

Operation Thunderbolt is a light-gun controlled shoot-em-up in which one or two players take on the role of Special Forces operatives. They must take on a terrorist group that has seized a US passenger plane which is threatening to execute all hostages if their demands to release terrorist prisoners are not met within 24 hours.

The plane landed in Africa and the hostages were removed and hidden at several different locations throughout the region. The CIA calls on Roy Adams, hero of the 'Operation Wolf' mission of the previous year, to find and rescue the American hostages. This time, Roy decides to take along a trusted comrade called Hardy Jones.

The game is a direct sequel to "Operation Wolf" and as with the first game, players are constantly attacked by waves of enemy soldiers and vehicles. Enemies can throw hand grenades and knives, as well as launch missiles at the players, while enemy vehicles can also shoot missiles, launch rockets and use rapid-fire machine guns. The players' ammunition and grenades are limited but can be topped-up by shooting barrels and crates.

While Operation Thunderbolt plays very similarly to it's prequel, scenes no longer simply scroll horizontally - every second of the game's eight stages feature 3D into-the-screen action.


Prom Stickers : B67

Main CPU : Motorola 68000
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM2610

Players : 2
Control : Lightgun
Buttons : 2
=> Shoot, Grenade


Operation Thunderbolt was released in December 1988 in Japan. It was then released in February 1989 in the US and in March 1989 in Europe.

The game's plot is loosely based on a real life incident known as 'Operation Entebbe' which consisted of the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 which took place in June 27, 1976 and ended on July 4, 1976. One year later, Menahem Golam directed a movie based on the incident called 'Mivtsa Yonatan'. Coincidentally the English title of the film is called 'Operation Thunderbolt'.


Two different versions were released in US; the new one features some changed texts (during introduction).


Project reader : Masaki Ogata
Game designers : Junji Yarita, Hiroyuki Sakou
Game programmers : Daisuke Sasaki, Akira Ootsuki, Youzou Koma, Tatsuo Nakamura, Shinji Soyano
Music composer : Spratter. A
Sound editers : Masahiko Takaki, Kazuyuki Onui, Yasuko Yamada
Character designers : Junji Yarita, Yoshihiko Wakita, Minori Ishino, Taira Sanuki, Hisakazu Katoh
PCB designer : Takashi Ohara
Mechanical designer : Itsuji Yamada
Cabinet designer : Atushi Iwaoka
Art designers : Hiroyasu Nagai, Osamu Matsuura


Amstrad GX4000 europe (1990)
usa Nintendo SNES (oct.1994) "Operation Thunderbolt [Model SNS-36]"
europe Microsoft XBOX (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends"
europe Sony PS2 (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends [Model SLES-53438]"
usa Microsoft XBOX (oct.25, 2005) "Taito Legends"
usa Sony PS2 (oct.25, 2005) "Taito Legends [Model SLUS-21122]"
korea Sony PS2 (jul.18, 2006) "Taito Legends [Model SLKA-15056]"
japan Sony PS2 (jan.25, 2007) "Taito Memories II Joukan [Model SLPM-66649]"

europe Amstrad CPC (1989)
europe Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1989)
europe Commodore Amiga (1989)
europe Atari ST (1989) by Ocean
usa Commodore C64 europe (1990)
Amstrad CPC+ europe (1990)
europe Atari ST (1991) by Hit Squad
europe PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends"
usa PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (nov.10, 2005) "Taito Legends"


Game's manual.
Game's picture.
Game's ROMs.
Game's screenshots.