I have fond memories of the game Rolling Thunder from when I was a kid. I spent a lot of time in arcades, and one of the first games I looked for whenever heading into a new arcade was Rolling Thunder. There were plenty of side-scrolling action games out there in the mid-80s, but this one was different. To me, it was the perfect blend of james Bond meets GI Joe. You took on the role of Agent Albatross, member of the World Crime Police Organization, who was tasked with saving fellow agent leila Blitz from a Cobra-like organization called Geldra. As you battled your way through each level, you faced off against "Maskers," hooded henchmen that had different attacks based on their colors and uniforms (they reminded me of the different varieties of Cobra troops). The game was very difficult, and despite the money I poured into the game, I never did rescue Agent Blitz and find out what happened at the end of the game.
As luck would have it, that mystery doesn't need to go unsolved any longer. As part of Namco's new webcomics initiative ShiftyLook, Rolling Thunder's story is continuing, and comic veterans Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are writing it. Retitled Rapid Thunder, the twice-weekly comic follows the exploits of Agents Albatross and Blitz, as they keep the world safe from terrorists. The first story arc sees them going up against a mysterious philanthropist named Mabu (who was the leader of Geldra in the video game), as the WPCO thinks Mabu's good deeds may be a cover for more nefarious activities.
The feel of the comic is very much in the vein of James Bond meets Archer, and anyone familiar with Palmiotti and Gray will feel right at home. Juan Santacruz's art is a great fit for the action-packed story, which builds on the premise of the game without being beholden to it.
Rapid Thunder is off to a great start so far. You can catch up and then keep up with new pages over at shiftylook.com/comics/rapidthunder.
You can see a video from the old arcade game below.