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by Max Lake - May 14, 2001, 1:51 pm EDT

A sequel to Factor 5's Turrican series and has clear influences of Metroid, Contra and Bionic Commando. Drooling yet? Originally planned for N64, Thornado has now been in development for over three years and is set to become one of the most awesome p

After seeing Rogue Leader: RS2 in action you may wonder what’s up with Factor 5’s other big GameCube title, Thornado. In fact, I just got an email from one Nathan Miner, a reader who embodies the whole “you wondering about Thornado.” Here’s Nate’s friendly little email:

Hey Max,

I think that every single online GameCube site has forgot about a game

because it's been so long since it's been mentioned. THORNADO!!!! It's been

in developement for how long now, 2, 3 years? It most certainly will be a

playable game at E3, possibly the most impressive. Factor 5 has proved that

they are a powerhouse in the videogame industry. I think you should run an

article about this long-forgotten title before another site does, because I

admire your site's ability to get the scoop first.

Nathan Miner

Gosh, thanks Nathan! We try! I agree, I think I should run an article about Thornado, how it’s been in development forever and how many Nintendophiles (myself included) are anxious to see it. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write articles or even respond to your email, so I’ll just update the Thornado preview with what I know & if you wanna know more about the game, read the first part of the preview.

Unfortunately, the new info is somewhat bad news, or at least it's probably not the response you were hoping for.

Thornado will apparently not be seen at E3, or at least not playable. It’s gotten re-worked a bit and Factor 5 have been concentrating on other projects (hm, like RS2?) and put Thornado on the back burner for the time being. Regrettable indeed, though seeing RS2 screens last week and getting to play it this week, I’m sure we’ll agree that it will be good that Factor 5 devoted so much to RS2 and is taking their time with Thornado. Being half-German, I can tell ya, these Germans (Factor 5 was “born” in Germany) are an efficient lot. Whenever we see Thornado again, expect it to numb your senses.

I’ll keep my eyes and ears peeled for more at the show. Now pardon me gang, I gotta go pack! (And do laundry and get my camera and… Zoinks!)

Last updated: 01/12/2001

Thornado has been in development for what seems like an eternity. Originally planned as a next-generation sequel to Factor 5's excellent shooter/platformer Turrican series, Thornado has done much evolving behind the scenes. Although the game remains true to its Turrican roots, the name Thornado was chosen due to Factor 5 wanting to avoid potential legal troubles. Despite its best attempts, Factor 5 was unable make an agreement with Rainbow Arts / SoftGold, the European publisher who own the rights to the familiar "Turrican" name. Regardless, the building hype for this title should more than make up its lack of name recognition. Plus, "Thornado" is a pretty cool name too. (I mean what is it? A tornado filled with thorns? YEE-OWCH!)

A new moniker isn't the only chage the game has seen. Because Factor 5's ambitions were a little high for the N64's capabilities, Thornado was put on hold for a little while. When work on the project resumed, it was no longer a N64 game but something planned for undisclosed "next-gen" consoles. It was all to easy to suspect that Nintendo's mysterious "Project: Dolphin" would be one of them. Speculation was confirmed when Factor 5 disclosed that Thornado would appear both on Sony's Playstation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube. As Monty Burns would say, "Ex-cellent."

Factor 5 unabashedly cited Metroid as a central influence to Thornado's development. The wily Germans sought to fill the gap Nintendo created by neglecting the Metroid franchise for so long. In an interview with IGN64, Factor 5 had this to say about the upcoming game.

"It's like Turrican in 3D, or perhaps how we would imagine Metroid in 3D. You have to explore a lot, not just run and shoot, you can call these cool drop ships that bring power-ups, and there will be plenty of strategy. It's important to us to find a balance between the three elements: seek, find, and shoot."

Of course, now that Retro studios is hard at work on a Metroid title, this cause has become a bit moot. Still, Factor 5's effort is noble & appreciated and Thornado will be all the more awesome because of it. Factor 5 were pushing the limit on N64; imagine how it will look on Game Cube.

Two characters are selectable, a man and a woman. The male character's name is "Thor." Behind-closed-door footage shown to IGN64 at Space World had Thor wearing a trench coat, that looked incredibly realistic as it flowed in the wind. Additionally, details were crisp down to each individually animated finger of Thor's hand.

There will be several weapons, many of them elemental in nature. Thornado lives up to its name as characters feature a variety of wind and tornado based attacks. The arsenal will come in handy, as the shoot 'em action is said to be intense and reminiscent of the blazin' glory of Contra. Not only that, there is also a grappling beam, similar to another great classic, Bionic Commando. Level settings range from Earth cities to outer space. Originally, the game setting was futuristic, though was then revamped and made a bit more comic-like with other elements tweaked. Since the game has been in development awhile, it's possible a great deal has changed.

We were excited about Thornado back when it was an N64 game and we're even more excited that it will be coming to Gamecube. Let's hope it's ready in time for launch, or soon after.

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Genre Action
Developer Factor 5

Worldwide Releases

na: Thornado
Release Cancelled
PublisherFactor 5

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