I was surprised to see Thundercats on the demo floor since it wasn’t even mentioned during Namco Bandai’s Global Gamers Day’s press conference. Naruto: Ninja Council developer Aspect Digital created a side-scrolling action game for the Nintendo DS based on the new cartoon series.
Thundercats picks up at the very beginning of the story with the Lizard army advancing on Thundera. King Claudus, Grune, and Tygra have all gone off to fight, leaving Lion-O behind. Just when it seems like the forces of good are about to prevail, Grune defects. Lion-O, armed with the Sword of Omens, runs into battle and that’s when I began to kick lizard tail.
Lion-O slashed at the Lizard army while running from one side of the palace to the other. There were three kinds of Lizard enemies to face - green soldiers, others were armed with arrows, and orange lizards were slightly stronger than the grunts. I used the face buttons to hack and slash my way through them, occasionally jumping to platforms to defeat enemies that weren’t ready to face me head on.
Enemies dropped powerups when defeated, which would either restore health or charge the Sword of Omens. When I collected enough, an icon of the sword appeared on the touch screen. Tapping on it made Lion-O shoot a red beam of light that would attack any enemies in front of him.
I reached the end of the level and reunited Lion-O with Tygra after about five minutes of continuous fighting. Tygra pined that King Claudus is dead, Mumm-Ra is leading the Lizard army, and the only reason Grune betrayed them is because he is under Mumm-Ra’s control. Lion-O and Tygra escape, which adds Tygra as a support character. On the bottom screen, on either side of the Sword of Omens, there are icons featuring Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro and Wily Kat & Wily Kit. Touch one and that character will come out to momentarily assist Lion-O. It’s kind of like how Lee can assist Naruto in the Ninja Council games. Players won’t be able to switch play as Panthro or anyone (cat?) other than Lion-O.
Thundercats is going to be very closely tied to the cartoon, a Namco Bandai representative explained. Aspect Digital included sound effects and voice acting from the Warner Bros. series into the game. Concept art has also been added in as an extra reward for players, so they can see how the animation team decided on the final character designs.
So, why is Thundercats on the Nintendo DS instead of the 3DS? The representative explained the companies involved are aware of the current economic climate and know many parents, who would probably be buying Thundercats for their kids, might not be able to afford a 3DS. There’s a better chance of their children already owning a DS, which would mean they wouldn’t have to worry about getting a whole new system for a game. Plus, people who are fortunate to own a 3DS can still enjoy Thundercats due to backwards compatibility.
You’ll be able to shout, "Thundercats, ho!" and fight "huge robot battles" when you play Thundercats in August.