Errant apostrophes aren’t just for fantasy RPGs any more; sometimes they show up in the most unexpected of places… and inconsistently, to boot.
No, I have no idea what the apostrophe is doing in Crack’ed’s title, or indeed why it isn’t present on the actual spine of the box it comes in, but… well, there you go.
The game itself is classic Atari arcade funtimes — simple but addictive gameplay, some good use of the ST’s graphical capabilities and mouse control… and hairy poo monsters!
It wasn’t unusual to see lightgun shooters adapted to the 16-bit computers of the late ’80s and early ’90s. However, you didn’t tend to see a lot in the way of lightgun peripherals.
You did, however, see a lot of these games making use of mouse control to simulate aiming a gun. Some of these made use of a clear, obvious mouse cursor, allowing for precise aiming, albeit at the expense of a certain feeling of “authenticity”. Meanwhile, some, like Ocean’s solid adaptation of Taito’s Operation Thunderbolt, provided the interesting twist of making where you were aiming invisible until you fired — much like a “real” lightgun would behave.
While the ST struggles to provide a completely authentic arcade experience — particularly in the sound department, as always — Operation Thunderbolt is actually a pretty solid port, and its unusual aiming mechanics make it surprisingly satisfying and addictive to play, even today.