Operation Thunderbolt is a 1988 light gun shooter developed and published by Taito. Although it was originally released exclusively in arcades, conversions eventually came for home consoles, including the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and SNES. It was also included in the Taito Legends compilation for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC in 2005.
As the sequel to 1987’s Operation Wolf, the game already had an in-built fanbase, and became extremely popular in arcades. Critics praised it overall, due to the small innovations made over its predecessor and not changing more than necessary.
Operation Thunderbolt Premise
Across Operation Thunderbolt, you’re tasked with taking six enemy bases as you look to save the American hostages from capture. You’re given an arsenal of weapons, including a grenade launcher and machine guns, to take down the waves of enemy soldiers and vehicles that come your way.
Most levels in the game feature hostages, who you have to avoid shooting. You won’t lose if you shoot them, but you do lose some life points for the loss of innocent life, so you should avoid it at all costs. There are eight stages in total. In the final stage, you find yourself on the hijacked airliner, and your decisions will affect the ending of the game that you receive, with good and bad endings available.
Operation Thunderbolt Main Characters
Despite being an arcade title at heart, Operation Thunderbolt actually has a strong storyline to sink your teeth into. The game follows Green Beret soldiers Roy Adams and Hardy Jones, as they’re tasked with saving American hostages who are aboard a hijacked airplane in the fictional land of Kalubya.
Operation Thunderbolt Titles in the Series
Operation Thunderbolt is part of the Operation Wolf series, which had its day in the late ’80s and early ’90s. As a series of rail shooters, it was largely abandoned as the genre became less prevalent in the industry. For many years, most players of the franchise will have been gamers finding older machines left over in arcades.
After 1998’s Operation Tiger, the series went into hiatus, and it would be 25 years before we ever saw the series again. Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission is a full remake of the original with modern graphics and updated gameplay mechanics. Now that the series has reestablished itself among gamers, we may see further remakes of the old titles, even if a brand-new entry remains unlikely.
- Operation Wolf (1987)
- Operation Thunderbolt (1988)
- Operation Wolf 3 (1994)
- Operation Tiger (1998)
- Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission (2023)
Operation Thunderbolt Cheat Codes
Operation Thunderbolt has just a couple of cheat codes that you can enter. To use these, enter the following cheats while at the high-score screen. The cheats will then take effect in your next playthrough.
|Cheat Code Effect
|WIGAN NINJA or EDOM TAEHC
|Gives you unlimited lives.
|Spawns double the amount of enemies.
If these two cheats aren’t enough for you, the SNES version of the game has a bunch of cool Pro Action Replay codes that you can use to change the game. To use these, you either need a Pro Action Replay cartridge or to play the game on an emulator.
Operation Thunderbolt Pro Action Replay Codes
|Cheat Code Effect
|Gives you a permanent bulletproof vest.
|Your cursor now automatically kills or damages enemies (does not affect crates).
|Enables rapid firing.
|Gives you infinite bullets.
|Gives you infinite clips.
|Gives you infinite continues.
|Gives you infinite health.
|Gives you infinite rockets.
|Gives you invincibility.
|Makes more power-ups available – almost all enemies drop ammo, more power-up crates drop down.
|Enemies continue to fire when prompted to continue the game.
Operation Thunderbolt Cheat Code FAQ
How Do I Enter Pro Action Replay Cheats for Operation Thunderbolt?
To enter Pro Action Replay cheats for Operation Thunderbolt, you need to play the game on an SNES emulator. On your emulator of choice, you need to find the Cheats section. This will be different depending on the exact emulator. From the Cheats screen, you should be able to enter the codes from there.
How Do I Enter Base Game Cheats for Operation Thunderbolt?
To enter the base game cheats in Operation Thunderbolt, enter the codes while at the high-score screen. This will enable the cheat for your subsequent playthroughs.
What is the Invincibility Cheat for Operation Thunderbolt?
To get invincibility in Operation Thunderbolt, use the Pro Action Replay code “C09371:60.” This will make you unkillable and make the game much easier.
Does Operation Thunderbolt Have Achievements?
No. As a retro title, there’s no way to earn achievements in Operation Thunderbolt. Let’s hope it gets the Operation Wolf remake treatment, so we can finally earn achievements in Operation Thunderbolt once and for all.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Screenshot from Operation Thunderbolt.