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Thunder Fox uses a Yamaha YM2610 chip controlled by a dedicated Z-80 processor for all its sound. This is one cool chip, basically an entire programmable MIDI keyboard on a single 64-pin ASIC. Here are some music themes from the game:

realaudio music:

Jazzy sort of theme from some of the levels (196K).
End-game music - SUPERB quality (462K).

Thunder Fox
Thunder Fox Title

Thunder Fox is a well-executed side-scrolling soldiers-of-fortune two-player game from Taito. The board uses a very similar architecture to Crime City, but it's more advanced. The main game code (total size 256K on two 27010s), runs on a 12MHz 68000, and the sound (total size 64K on a 27512) runs on a 2MHz Z-80A. The game code is possibly encrypted, decryption being performed by two PAL16L8Bs just next to the 68000 (upper left corner in the board picture above; I haven't yet reverse-engineered it enough to know if those PALs are decryptors or address decoders). The board uses mostly the same custom ASICs as Crime City, except that Thunder Fox has a couple more devices which appear to handle the parallax scrolling layers. Thunder Fox has very nice parallax scrolling; at least three layers (not counting the score overlay) are supported directly, and some of the levels have at LEAST 7 layers of clouds and/or waves. Very tasty. The sprite hardware supports scaling and possibly also rotation, neither of which are actually used as such in the game - just in the end-game sequence which shows you a lot of sprites from the game in various sizes and orientations.

I'm glowin' in the rain, just glowin' in the rain.... The raindrops are really distracting in this scene from level 1. Fortunately, they don't last very long. Player 1 is the white silhouette in the lower left corner.

There is quite a bit of variety in the gameplay. Most of the game consists of the kind of action you can see in the level 1 raining screenshot to the right, but there are interludes where you are either flying an autogiro (see below; do these vehicles exist? They look cool!), or zooming along on a jet-ski dodging mines, other jet-skis and knife-wielding frogmen jumping down from a helicopter. In the first level, you can also jump into jeeps and drive them along. All the sprites are large, colorful and well-animated, as you'd expect from a modern Taito game.

Oooh, look at the size of his weapon. Why is player 1 nearly always blue with blond hair, and player 2 red with brown hair?

In Level 2, you have to destroy the enemy's air fortress. Here's a screenshot from the start of the level (just prior to this you have been flying along in your autogiro, at a smaller scale than you see here, fighting off other 'giro pilots).

The level 1 boss is a tank. You need to pound it with a few grenades. Fortunately, the obliging chap inside pops his head up to use the gun, and drops a grenade when you swipe at him with your knife.

This is a close-up of your autogiro. I'd love one of these machines.

Thunder Fox uses a horizontal low-res monitor, one or two 8-way joysticks with three buttons, and it has a standard JAMMA pinout. DIP switch settings are as below:

DIP Switch Bank 1

"*" indicates a factory default setting.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Reserved, always off 0
Screen Rotation Normal* 0
Reverse 1
Test Mode Normal Game* 0
Test Mode 1
Attract mode sound With 0
Without* 1
Play Pricing Coin A 1 coin 1 play 0 0
2 coins 1 play* 1 0
3 coins 1 play 0 1
4 coins 1 play 1 1
Play Pricing Coin B 1 coin 2 plays 0 0
1 coin 3 plays* 1 0
1 coin 4 plays 0 1
1 coin 6 plays 1 1

DIP Switch Bank 2

"*" indicates a factory default setting.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Game Difficulty

Easy (A) - Difficult (D)

Rank B 0 0
Rank A 1 0
Rank C 0 1
Rank D 1 1
Timer With* 0
Without 1
Reserved, always off 0
Number of Players* 3* 0 0
2 1 0
4 0 1
5 1 1
Continue With* 0
Without 1
Game Type Double control panel* 0
Single control panel 1 and all original content herein is © Copyright 2001 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards. "" is a trademark protected under U.S. and international law. Infringement or attempted dilution of the intellectual property rights held by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards will be prosecuted to the fullest possible extent.