The legendary Rolling Thunder joins the Arcade Archives

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No sign of William Devane

This week’s Arcade Archives addition from Hamster is not only an iconic action classic, but also happens to be one of my favorite retro games of all time — Now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it’s Namco’s super-challenging pioneer of the run ‘n’ gun genre, Rolling Thunder.

Released in arcades in 1986, before being released on a huge variety of home computers and consoles, Rolling Thunder sees the WCPO dispatch its top “not James Bond honest” agent, Albatross, tasked with infiltrating the clandestine headquarters of the apocalyptic terrorist organization “GELDRA”. Armed with a powerful handgun and the tightest pants in video game history, Agent Albatross must battle his way through GELDRA’s forces, stop their sinister leader, and rescue the beautiful agent Leila, who was captured during a previous WCPO assignment.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber AL82 Longplays.

Sporting simple, two-level platforming action, razor-sharp action, and a cool Eurospy soundtrack, Rolling Thunder was an absolute smash hit on release, and is still compelling today, thanks to its fast and tight action and evolving array of enemies — not to mention a challenge that holds up among the toughest of today’s titles. Albatross and Leila would return for an equally excellent sequel, Rolling Thunder 2, which hit arcades and Sega Genesis in 1990. A second sequel flew under the radar in 1993, with the franchise long overdue its deserved comeback.

Rolling Thunder is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8. Brrrrrap.