As seen in: Rolling Thunder (Arcade)
Also in: Rolling Thunder 2 (Arcade)
Distinguishing feature: Catlike grace.
Strengths: Impeccable sense of fashion.
Weaknesses: Fragile constitution.
Profile by Jeremy Parish | December 2, 2009
If Agent 17 was the arcade gaming's vicious-hearted, punitive, Sean Connery version of James Bond, Albatross was its Roger Moore: Languorous, chivalrous, and always a bit out of his depth. But Roger Moore was never so graceful or athletic; he also tended to favor pretty cheap-looking suits. Not Albatross. Here was a man who was out to singlehandedly take down an army of what appeared to be neon-colored klansmen and save his lovely fellow agent Leela, yet he wasn't afraid of looking damn smooth in the process.
Little is known of Interpol's task force Rolling Thunder, the secret organization for which Albatross and Leela worked, but they were presumably on the good team. Unlike their enemies, you see, they didn't wear garishly colored pillowcases on their heads or take orders from a strange green overlord who clawed his way to power from the DragonBall Z cutting room floor. (Certainly it's shallow and superficial to judge by appearances, but when a lumpy Yoda reject starts talking about dominating the world with his lime green legions, it's a pretty safe bet that he's not in it for the philanthropy of the thing.) That Albatross just happened to look quite dapper in comparison to his opposition -- well, no one ever said you couldn't pay attention to your grooming even while you're saving the world. Cloud Strife would have been half the man he was (or at least half the height, anyway) if the good guys weren't allowed to pack plenty of styling product as they advanced into the heart of evil.
Sadly, Albatross' elegant aesthetics are also believed to have been his downfall. He was the sort who looked good and knew it, and the thought of a misplaced strand of his neatly coiffed hair or a wrinkle on his crisp, pressed jacket could bring him to his knees, literally. The bad guys tried their best to gun him down, but they needn't have bothered; simply brushing against Albatross and mussing up his wardrobe a couple of times would bring the man to his knees, distraught by the mere thought of looking anything less than worthy of a magazine cover. He also went about his mission at a fairly sluggish pace, because after all it wouldn't do to be seen sweating. Perspiration is for lesser, less beautiful people.
Yet in the end, he faced down the twin threats of terrorists and the terror of looking imperfect, and he ultimately managed to save Leela's pert (and increasingly exposed) backside. She later teamed up with Albatross in his subsequent mission, which found him clad in a white tuxedo. He was never heard from after that, and some no-name replacement subbed for him in Rolling Thunder III. The series itself disappeared soon after. There's a lesson here, of course: White tuxedos are a far greater crime than forming a secret army to conquer the world. There'll always be good guys to take down an evil organization, but there's no recourse to bad taste.