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Level 1
Rolling Thunder 2 (Level 1)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 02, 2011   |   Episode 19 (Show Archive)  

   

Welcome to Level 1. Every week we look at a random game's very first level. It doesn't matter what kind of game it is or what system it's for -- we're here to dissect the game's first level and see what it tells us about the rest of the game. I promise you an eye-opening experience in each episode! This week we look at Rolling Thunder 2, one of the greatest spy games ever made. This Genesis exclusive may not be as beloved as the original, but you can't go wrong with the two-player co-op gameplay. Let's dig a little deeper when we push start and test out Rolling Thunder's first level!
Rolling Thunder 2 (Namco)
[ Release: 1991 - Console: Sega Genesis ]
Rolling Thunder 2 (Genesis)
Rolling Thunder 2 (Genesis)
Released four years after the first game, Rolling Thunder 2 is one of Namco's best 16-bit releases. Albatross is back and ready to save the world from a nuclear terrorist. But he's not alone, this time around he's bringing Leila, a sexy new addition to this Genesis exclusive. This two-player spy game would go on to spawn a third game, though weak sales (and lackluster reviews) sank this series. It turns out that Albatross's arch-nemesis wasn't some nuclear-toting villain after all, but rather consumer's apathy.

Level 1 - Miami Villa: I wake up. Immediately I reach for my gun and prepare for my morning rituals (shower, eggs, security sweep). But it's missing; somebody has taken my gun. I'm not concerned, a super spy of my stature is trained to look past the worry. I summersault my way to the closet, where I know there will be three sniper rifles, two dozen pistols, an entire box of grenades and an elephant gun. I read for a pistol and get ready to pounce, but the sweet
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
smell of pancakes briefly takes me off my game. I put down the gun and breathe a sigh of relief. It's not some trained assassin breaking in to kill me ... it's just my incredibly sexy girlfriend, Leila.

The intoxicating smell of breakfast draws me out of my room and down a long hall. There she is, the woman that broke me out of a life of mindless killing and showed me my soul. Without her I would still be deep in the forest risking my life to kill a few dozen terrorists. But she's more than my savior; she's also my partner at the WCPO
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
Rolling Thunder task force. The missing gun and smell of pancakes can only mean one thing: We've been called up for duty!

As we sit down to a peaceful breakfast, Leila reminds me how we used to have to drive all the way into the secret HQ just to get a mission. What a hassle that was. Thanks to the top-of-the-line 1990s technology, we can stay at home and turn on our 19 inch Zenith TV to learn what Mother has in store. It doesn't get any better than this.

We're informed that the situation is dire and Rolling Thunder is calling up their best agents. We're told to investigate Miami Beach, where the arms merchant Gidmo was last
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
seen. Although this sounds like a routine mission, we're informed that events could get sticky if somebody doesn't intervene. How sticky? Everybody keeps talking about a nuclear football. It looks like they chose the right man for the job.

With guns loaded and Leila's favorite bikini already packed, we set off to investigate the Miami villa. My plan was to sneak in, avoiding all guards and making the assassination look like an accident. Unfortunately my better half had other ideas. The
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
moment that woman saw a guard, she unloaded an entire clip into the back of his head. I'll be honest, it was a little shocking. There I was tip-toeing through the pile of boxes, and here she goes and turns this guy into swish cheese. How rude.

There's no time to argue with the woman, we have a job to do. The two of us rush the main plaza, shooting guards and picking up ammo. I leap up to the building's
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 1: Miami Villa!
second story, a trick the enemies didn't see coming. I take them out and collect a machine gun. I had a few of these back home; I'm not sure why I brought a pistol with limited ammo.

I look down and see Leila in trouble, she's been pinned by a guy volleying grenades. I swoop across the balcony and shoot him in the back, giving her easy access to the sniper up ahead. It's like clockwork; the two of us make it look easy. We rendezvous
Rolling Thunder 2 - Boss - Purple Armored Soldier
Rolling Thunder 2 - Boss - Purple Armored Soldier!
next to a large cargo truck. Up ahead we see the gate that surrounds Gidmo's mansion. Unfortunately we forgot our invitation at home. I guess we're going to have to shoot our way in!

Boss - Purple Armored Soldier: As we near the compound we're met by a colorful assortment of guards. One is yellow, another is green and off in the distance stands a menacing purple armored guard. He stands there mocking us, laughing at every move we make. It's the only thing that's going to stand between us and Gidmo. I put lower my gun and get ready for an epic fist fight. I've been dreaming of this moment for years. My hands shake with anticipation, this will be the story I tell my grandchildren. I start to charge the purple soldier when out of the blue I hear a gun shot. He's dead. The purple armored soldier went down in one shot. I turn around to see a very satisfied Leila. My heart sinks. Women.

What Have We Learned Today: Today we learned that not every super-secret mission needs two agents. I could have very easily gone through this entire mission by myself, but no, SHE has to ruin it for me. She doesn't even take into account my feelings. I wanted to punch that
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 2: Gidmo's Compound
Rolling Thunder 2 - Level 2: Gidmo's Compound!
purple guy until his teeth started to bleed. That was my kill. But no, she just has to go in and take the credit. If she's so good, why not assign her to another part of the mission? There's a reason why I used to work by myself.

What Did We Miss: Once inside Gidmo's estate Albatross and Leila are confronted with the ultimate enemy: Cougars. No, not middle-aged women looking for twenty-something men. I'm
Albatross will return in Rolling Thunder 3!
Albatross will return in Rolling Thunder 3!
talking about the felines who like to jump on you and scratch off your face. I'm not sure what else is in store for these two, I have a perfectly acceptable fear of animals that can scratch your face off.

A Letter From the Developers of Rolling Thunder 2: "To whom it may concern: Please stop re-writing the story of Rolling Thunder 2. You make several accusations about the characters and events in this game that do not hold up and we ask you to not confuse your readers. For starters, Leila and Albatross are not in a committed relationship, they are merely agents working the same case. Furthermore, you gloss over the story, which is a gripping tale of good versus evil in a post-Cold War era. Because of these mistakes (and many other we won't list here), we ask you to remove this trash from the internet. You should also cancel The Leaderboard, nobody likes it."
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