Members don't see Ads, login now! LoginRegisterContact

Rolling Thunder

Arcade Video game published 38 years ago by NAMCO, Ltd.

Listed in MAME

Rolling Thunder screenshot

Rolling Thunder © 1986 Namco.

Rolling Thunder is a single-player scrolling platform shoot-em-up in which a James Bond-esque secret agent codenamed 'Albatross' has been ordered by the Rolling Thunder anti-espionage unit to stop the criminal organization known as Geldra. Albatross must also rescue captured field agent, Lelia Blitz and overthrow Geldra's leader, Maboo.

Rolling Thunder's gameplay takes place on two levels of platforms, with the player able to jump or drop to platforms as and when required. Albatross begins the game armed with only a standard-issue pistol and a limited amount of ammunition. If the pistol's ammunition runs out, the player can only fire a single slow "chaser" bullet - with only one allowed on-screen at any one time - until more ammo is acquired.

Each level is littered with doors; most of these contain constantly emerging enemies and must be carefully passed; some, however, also provide ammunition and new weapons. Ammo rooms are clearly marked while weapons rooms have re-enforced metal doors. A weapons room gives the player a fully automatic assault rifle that allows for continuous firing by holding down the shoot button. As with the pistol, the assault rifle has a limited amount of ammunition.

The majority of Rolling Thunder's protagonists are hooded soldiers known as "Maskers". Maskers are dressed in various colors, which determines both their strength and attack pattern. Some Maskers do not shoot, but throw grenades instead, while others will shoot their gun while crouching, making their shots much harder to avoid.

Other enemies includes ninjas, mutated bats known as Gelzos, panthers, shrieking yellow creatures known as Blogas and lava men.

Albatross must travel through two different segments or "stories" - each composed of five stages - making for a total of ten stages. The stages in Story 2 are essentially a harder version of their Story 1 counterparts, featuring more traps and different enemy placement. At the end of the final stage, the player must battle the Geldra leader Maboo to rescue Leila and complete the mission.

Goodies for Rolling Thunder
Click to enlarge
(members only)

Namco System 86 hardware
Game ID : RT

Main CPU : (2x) M6809 (@ 1.536 Mhz), Hitachi HD63701 (@ 1.536 Mhz)
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM2151 (@ 3.57958 Mhz), Namco 8-channel WSG, Namco (@ 6 Mhz)

Players : 2
Control : 4-way joystick
Buttons : 2


Rolling Thunder was released in December 1986.

Rolling Thunder was the first Jamma game ever produced.

Licensed to Atari for US distribution (February 1987). 2,406 units were produced in the USA by Atari.

A Rolling Thunder unit appears in the 1996 movie 'High School High'.

Alfa Records released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Namco Game Music Vol.1 - 28XA-170) on July 25, 1987.

Goodies for Rolling Thunder
Click to see more
(members only)

* New title screen.
* BGM of area 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 10 are changed.
* Different enemy arrangement.
* Addition of a Continue feature.
* Addition of the Extra-life feature.
* 150 time units (180 in the old version).


* One of rolling thunder's more useful 'hidden features' is that it's actually possible to visit the ammo rooms more than once. Once you have stocked up on bullets from a particular room (for example, a Machine-Gun-Bullets room), go forward past the door approximately the distance of two jumps (ensuring that the door in question is completely off screen), then turn back, visit the room again, and find more ammo. The reason this works is because the game is divided into invisible 'sections' and once you cross a section boundary, the game forgets everything from the previous section.

* A step-by-step guide to one of Rolling Thunder's more impressive glitches :
1) In levels five and ten, once you get to a certain point in the level (around halfway through), you come up against two boxes stacked on top of each other (i.e. you can't jump over it), and a platform above you (on which you jump and continue to the RIGHT).
2) At this point, jump UP onto the platform, then position yourself at the very RIGHT EDGE of the railing on the platform (you can only jump up/down where railing is present) which should correspond to the very LEFT EDGE of the BOXES; then jump DOWN. This will put you at the very LEFT EDGE of the boxes.
3) Next, making sure not to move the joystick to the left, walk towards the RIGHT, hit the JUMP button, and you should find yourself 'caught' between the bottom and top boxes. Then jump RIGHT again, clearing the top box and landing on the ground. Don't fire at anyone, and don't panic, but simply go to the RIGHT watch yourself walk through everybody completely unharmed. You can simply walk past everyone until you reach the final, cloak-wearing enemy. Finally, providing you have properly stocked up on 'MG bullets' earlier in the game, simply hold down the fire button and kill the enemy. One final thing to note is that when using this method on level TEN, in that last area before the final arena, there are the 'stairs-like' hurdles, and on each of these steps, a white enemy will appear.
4) You have to be careful not to be in too much of a hurry, or they will follow you into the arena, where they can and will hurt you, or keep you busy enough that the guy in the cloak will. So make sure you have a little extra time to let those guys disappear off the screen (after you've made all of them appear) before going after the guy in the cloak in the arena.

* This is completely useless, but fun to do : at the end of each level there is this force field, which drags you through the door. Just before you get sucked in, turn your back to the exit and make low jumps (jump button only) while pushing the joystick towards the exit. This results in your agent jumping backwards a little every time. When the force field catches you, your character will appear to 'moonwalk' into the exit.


1. Rolling Thunder (1986, Arcade)
2. Rolling Thunder 2 (1991, Arcade)
3. Rolling Thunder 3 [Model T-14096] (1993, Genesis)


Music composed by : Junko Ozawa


japan Nintendo Famicom (mar.17, 1989)
usa Nintendo NES (1989)
japan Sony PlayStation (oct.30, 1997) "Namco Museum Encore [Model SLPS-01050]"
usa Microsoft XBOX (aug.30, 2005) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary [Model NMO-2201A-NM]"
usa Nintendo GameCube usa (aug.30, 2005) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary [Model DOL-G5NE-USA]"
usa Sony PS2 (aug.30, 2005) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary [Model SLUS-21164]"
japan Sony PS2 (jan.26, 2006) "Namco Museum Arcade Hits! [Model SLPS-25590]"
europe Microsoft XBOX (mar.24, 2006) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary"
europe Sony PS2 (mar.31, 2006) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary [Model SLES-53957]"
europe Nintendo GameCube (may.5, 2006) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary [Model DOL-G5NP-EUR]"
usa Microsoft XBOX 360 (nov.4, 2008) "Namco Museum - Virtual Arcade [Model 21022]"
europe Microsoft XBOX 360 (may.15, 2009) "Namco Museum - Virtual Arcade"
australia Microsoft XBOX 360 (june.4, 2009) "Namco Museum - Virtual Arcade"
japan Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console Arcade] (jul.21, 2009)
japan Microsoft XBOX 360 (nov.5, 2009) "Namco Museum - Virtual Arcade [Model 2RD-00001]"

usa Atari Lynx : Unreleased prototype
usa Sony PSP (aug.23, 2005) "Namco Museum Battle Collection [Model ULUS-10035]"
europe Sony PSP (dec.9, 2005) "Namco Museum Battle Collection [Model UCES-00116]"
japan Sony PSP (feb.23, 2006) "Namco Museum Vol.2 [Model ULJS-00047]"
korea Sony PSP (nov.8, 2007) "Namco Museum Vol.2"

Atari ST (1986)
europe Commodore Amiga (1987)
usa Commodore C64 europe (1987)
europe Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1988)
europe Amstrad CPC (1988)
europe Commodore Amiga (1988) "Amiga Gold Hits 1"
usa PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (oct.25, 2005) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary"
europe PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (mar.27, 2006) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary"
australia PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (may.19, 2006) "Namco Museum - 50th Anniversary"

usa LCD handheld game (1986) released by MGA (Micro Games of America).
usa Apple iPhone/iPod (mar.13, 2012) "Namco Arcade [Model 465606050]"
usa Arcade (2010) "Pac-Man's Arcade Party"
usa Arcade (2018) "Pac-Man's Pixel Bash"


Game's manual.
Game's picture.
Game's ROMs.
Game's screenshots.
See goodies section.