Thunder in Paradise Interactive Hulk Hogan's face
Screenshot by Destructoid

Thunder in Paradise Interactive for DOS might be the cure you need for your chronic Hulkamania

Skill issue, brother.

In the early ‘90s, Hulkamania stopped running wild as Hulk Hogan pursued his dream of acting and testifying at trials about steroids. The result was godawful stuff like Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny. However, he also had a short-lived TV show called Thunder in Paradise.

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I have never watched Thunder in Paradise. It’s not because it’s something I wouldn’t watch – I’ve intentionally watched tonnes of terrible things – it just hasn’t been a priority.

But then I learned that I could satisfy my job, my passion, and my chronic Hulkamania with one swipe, thanks to 1995’s Thunder in Paradise Interactive. That’s right, the Hulkster’s show somehow had a video game. Appropriately, it came out on the maligned and ridiculed Philips CD-i. I don’t own one, but the game also came out on DOS because one platform can’t hold back the most powerful force in the Universe, brother.

Thunder in Paradise Interactive Hulk Hogan running from an explosion while smiling.
Screenshot by Destructoid

It took some DOSBox magic to get running. I’m not sure if it was particularly picky about hardware back in the day or if DOSBox just wasn’t prioritizing compatibility with Thunder in Paradise Interactive for some reason, but I had to pull out the big guns to get the glorious mixture of boats, bikinis, and 24-inch pythons on screen. I felt really smart after I cleared those hurdles, but then I burnt my hand taking a pizza out of the oven.

If you’ve never seen the show, it features Mr. Hogan as “Hurricane” Spencer and Chris Lemmon as Martin “Bru” Brubaker. They are two guys with a boat who spend time on the beach and fight people. That’s about all I know.

For the interactive version of the show, you play as Zack, who might be the nephew of Hurricane. I’m not sure why he’s hanging out with two slabs of testosterone and beef. The game is a typical FMV game based on the episode “The M.A.J.O.R. and the Minor.” I’m not sure if Zack was always a character in the show, but I do know that he was in that episode. Here, he stands in as the player character.

Thunder in Paradise Interactive Zack Spencer in neural link thing.
Screenshot by Destructoid

The game opens with Hurricane Hogan strapped into a neural link thing that is maybe supposed to allow him to control a steroid-infused slab of human beef with wires coming out of his dick. It’s not really well explained.

After nearly frying the Hulkster’s brains, the eponymous M.A.J.O.R. stomps off. I can’t remember if it’s really explained what the M.A.J.O.R. wants to do, but apparently, having him on the loose with only half a brain puts the former WWF Champ’s daughter in danger. So, they get in their boat to chase him and strap the child into the brain-scrambling device so that he can control their boat’s weaponry.

I’m aware that the further I try to explain this, the more questions get raised, but this is what happens in Thunder in Paradise Interactive. This weird sort of augmented reality angle comes up as well since Zack is using a “soft gun” to shoot dudes. I imagine that this is so they didn’t have to show a minor murdering a bunch of people, but once again, it raises a bunch of questions. What are the stakes here? Does the robot man also have a boat?

These questions may have been answered by watching the episode, which I didn’t do. That’s how I live my life: ignorant and uninformed. The CD-i version came with a disc that had the episode on it, but I don’t think that was the case on DOS.

Thunder in Paradise Interactive Boat Defense game
Screenshot by Destructoid

While the cutscenes hurry you through the episode’s story, it gets interrupted in three parts to provide you with gameplay. It’s routine FMV cursor shooting, sort of like Corpse Killer. The first part has you protecting the Hulkster’s boat from missiles and flying cubes. You have a normal energy gun, rockets, and maybe a shield thing. It’s just marked as “Q” on the HUD. There’s a database menu after the first battle that tells you what Q is, and I know I watched it, but my brain rejected that information.

Either way, your rockets are limited, Q only has a few uses, and your energy gun takes a long time to charge up. I did not succeed here on any of my attempts. Every so often, the game would cut away so I could watch Hulk Hogan and Chris Lemmon tell me what a disappointing piece of shit I am and how I should be humiliated for sucking so badly.

When you lose, the scene ends so the heroic duo can further explain how you let the whole team down, and then it proceeds to what looks like a luxury beach resort.

Thunder in Paradise Interactive Shooting segment
Screenshot by Destructoid

In this section, it’s another cursor-based shooting section, but it’s more like House of the Dead or, more accurately, Area 51. Guys in hazmat suits pop out from cover and try to kill Zack, and your job is to click on them with the cursor to make them stop. I would swear that this section always had the first dude take off half my health, and then, no matter how well I did after that, Zack would get worn down over time.

Once again, Hulk Hogan would interject and chastise me for not saying my prayers and taking my vitamins. Eventually, after getting shot enough times, Zack collapses into a pathetic heap in the sand. This results in Hogan’s daughter being kidnapped for some reason. You’re essentially told that they soft-pitched you the hero role, and you still swung and missed somehow.

So, the whole team goes to some industrial factory or something. All the vats make me think it’s a brewery. Once again, the big strong dudes set off in one direction while sending the questionably armed kid with the egg scrambler glued to his head in another. This leads to another shooting section.

While the slow panning around of the luxury beach resort was pretty boring, the factory is even lamer. Thunder in Paradise Interactive seems to realize this because the bad guy (who we learn now is actually Rampike and not M.A.J.O.R.) eventually sends you to a virtual reality city. For some reason. Again, I don’t get the virtual reality angle here. So then you watch the camera slowly roam around the city, stopping to let guys shoot at you. This is marginally more fun than the brewery because you get to play “Guess the City.”

That doesn’t last because eventually, you’re sent back to the factory to fight because Rampike wants in on the laser tag. Despite the fact that now Rampike sometimes pops out from cover instead of the hazmat dudes. I was able to take him down once, and then I was sent down to the basement, where Zack was killed instantly by the M.A.J.O.R.

Thunder in Paradise Interactive protagonists doing a high-five thing.
Screenshot by Destructoid

Zack then wakes up from a coma, looking up at Hulk Hogan and Chris Lemmon. They’re just like, “Since you were busy dying, we had to do everything ourselves, idiot.” Then after Zack passes back out due to intense shame, it cuts to Hogan and Lemmon telling you, the player, that you embarrassed yourself but at least you can try again.

I did try again—a few times—and I always lost every game. Every once in a while, the actors would tell me I was doing great, but I think those instances were just glitches.

At one point, I learned that you can skip the boring, camera-panning sections by pausing and unpausing the game. After that, I learned that your gun recharged during these moments, and I ran out of ammo and just died quicker.

This was some best-effort gameplay, too. I was using all of my neurons to try and figure out what I was doing wrong, and it got me nowhere. I just kept getting told I’m an embarrassment by a guy who managed to combine a racist rant and sex tape in a single scandal.

Aside from that, Thunder in Paradise Interactive isn’t the worst FMV game I’ve played. However, whenever you set your expectations to “FMV game based on a show nobody remembers,” it’s really not hard to be pleasantly surprised.

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Author
Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.