With the Thor: Ragnarok movie in theaters now around the world, I decided to review a game with Norse gods in it. And although there several games featuring Norse mythology and vikings, we’re going to take a look at one of the very few where you can actually play as Thor himself: God of Thunder.
God of Thunder is an action game (with several puzzle elements) developed by Adept Software and published by Software Creations. It was originally released for DOS (as shareware) in 1993 and re-released a year later in CD-ROM format. Ron Davis, its main designer, has since released it as freeware.
And no, this isn’t the same Software Creations who developed Silver Surfer for the NES.
But before we take a look at the game itself, let’s look at the CD-ROM cover, shall we?
As we can see, this cover features Thor himself throwing his famed hammer, Mjölnir, at a giant serpent wearing a crown. And before you say anything, Thor here is a redhead because that’s how he is originally depicted in the old Norse myths. He’s only blonde in Marvel media. The cover also has a cartoony look, foreshadowing the game’s humour. It’s not a bad cover, as it conveys everything you need to know about the game.
And now it’s time to boot this sucker:
As you can see, the main title screen is just a reproduction of the CD-ROM cover and then we get to the main menu. The story is that Loki, the god of mischief, has conquered part of Midgard (Earth) with the help of Jorganmund, the Midgard serpent and Nognir, the prince of the Underworld. Odin, who is under the Odinsleep, telepathically recruits his son Thor to fight these menaces with his famous hammer Mjölnir.
The game is divided in three parts, with the first part distributed freely with the option of buying the other two parts (as per traditional shareware practices). In the first part, you have to look for and defeat Jorganmund; in the second, Nognir and in the third, Loki himself.
As one can see in the video above, the graphics and the gameplay look very reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda, with an overworld map with several locations and caves to explore, but unlike The Legend of Zelda, God of Thunder is more linear and has several environmental puzzles to solve in order to progress.
Your main weapon, as I said before, is Mjölnir and just like in the comics and myths, it can be thrown and it immediately comes back to Thor. It can be used to defeat enemies and to solve puzzles. But you also can use other magical objects and spells that can be found in the overworld maps, certain caves or bought from vendors, but using or casting these empty your magic meter, which can only be replenished by finding potions. You can also find golden apples to replenish your health meter or more rarely, angels that can fully replenish your health and magic meters.
You can also find jewels that serve not only as points, but also as currency in the shops and vendors, enabling you to buy several items. In some of the screens with puzzles, you can also collect keys to open doors and progress.
The enemies are varied and depending on the difficulty level selected, they can be easy or hard to defeat (including the bosses). But regardless of the difficulty levels, the puzzles have always the same difficulty, meaning they’re always hard! And I mean it! The hardest ones are when there one or more worms on screen (that can insta-kill you the moment you’re in a straight line with them) and you need to push logs and rocks to block their attack. But it’s easier said than done. You’ll spend a lot of time figuring these ones out. But in all the worlds, you’ll find villages that have shops and vendors to buy items and its inhabitants will offer you hints to surpass some of the puzzles.
The graphics are simple and colorful, with all the characters portrayed using small pixels that serve their purpose well. The music is okay with some nice themes, but they tend to be a bit repetitive (I won’t blame you if you prefer to play while listening to Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song). The sound effects are a bit weird in some cases, like when collecting items, it sounds like Thor is eating them. The animation is also quite simple and I recommend turning off the turbo mode in the main menu in case you’re playing in an fast computer (or on Dosbox).
The controls are responsive, although I recommend the use of a gamepad or a joystick over the keyboard.
God of Thunder is a simple game without any upstanding features that’s good for quick playthrough (as long you don’t get frustrated with the harder puzzles). The humour is quite refreshing and tongue-in-cheek without being obnoxious with lot of references to the Marvel Thor comics. If you enjoy fast action games with hard puzzles, then you might want to give it a shot.
You can play directly in your browser here, or you can go to the Adept Software page here and download it for free along with the manual and hintbook (which I highly recommend). I also recommend you go to a theater near you and check out Thor Ragnarok. It’s probably the best Thor movie ever made.
So, did you enjoy the review? Comment below or on Facebook or Twitter and let me know. Next time, we’re going to take a look at the very first title of a series that still exists to nowadays, but whose latest recent release has met some incomprehensible controversy. Till then, keep on gaming.