Thunder spirits sucked compared to Thunder Forcer 3.
I think the machine with the best shmups ever is the Sega Saturn, but that's not what we are discussing here. The PCE comes in 2nd, and the MSX comes in 3rd (Athoulgh the MSX has the best shmup ever, imo).
Most shmups are indeed hard, in any systems. It's mainly because, unlike other genres, they are made for *ahem* real skilled players *ahem*
The Chaos Engine on SNES isn't half bad. Speedball 2 on Mega-Drive is identical to the Amiga one. I didn't like Xenon 2 on Mega-Drive, but I never enjoyed the Miggy version anyway too.
Don't be so harsh on the poor consoles, Akira .