After Burner came out in the 1980’s, even made a cameo appearance in the best movie ever made, Terminator 2. So when I heard that SEGA was bringing the franchise back again (in 2006), my expectations were high. Did SEGA deliver?
Right when you start the game, you know you are in for a true SEGA game. You hear the classic ‘SEGAAAAAAAAAAAH!’ intro and you already have a big stupid smile on your face. You are pumped and ready to get some classic SEGA gameplay through your veins. It has been way too long.
Once you press start, check out the menu and decide to play arcade first; you will be able to chose between three fighting jet things. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-14D Super Tomcat and F-15E Strike Eagle. Believe it or not, they are real aircrafts. So basically if you get an AAA ranking in the game, you are qualified to drive the real aircrafts.
So why are you risking your neck? You are sent on a mission to stop a nation from launching nuclear missiles. Not much of a story line and that is how I like my arcade games. AM2 arcade games don’t need fantastic storylines to keep you entertained. They have Gameplay, you heard of this, right?
The game is back with the gameplay we all loved in the original (and part II). You have your machine gun that fires at objects close to you and the lock on missions that make all those awesome explosions. The lock on works just like other rail shooting games from SEGA (Rez or Panzer Dragoon). The game also gives you the ability to slow down or go faster (like you need to go faster in this game!).
Some new gamplay elements include the climax meter, that fills up and when you use it it will slow down time for a few seconds and make your lock on meter bigger. That way you can use it when you are getting pummeled by enemies. The game also now has objectives, which differ from destroying ground troops, helicopters or my favorite; chasing an enemy. In the end of the day you will have to pass the object modes to get a high ranking in the end of the game. Remember that! Then they introduce the split paths, which lets you choose more than on location to go to.
The controls are simple, in your face and work. They are as many say, easy to pick up and hard to master. You will have to practice to get good on this game and isn’t that why we play games? For the challenge? The game also features over 20 levels, but don’t get too excited thinking they are lengthy. Most levels last you less than a minute if you are really skilled. Though each level, as far as I have seen, are unique and not ‘copy and paste’, so that is good.
If there is one thing this game excels at is dropping your jaw when you first see it. You will question yourself as to why new games these days don’t have beautiful colors like After Burner Climax and really, why don’t they?
Things you never really think of is how you can go from a mountain region, to a desert flat region and to a volcano? Who cares? I don’t, the geographical locations in the game take the most breathtaking regions and have you go super fast through them while blasting down enemies and not loosing framerate. The game literally hits 60fps and has no slowing down.
I’m going to admit, I did not really listen to the music while I was blasting my way through the endless waves of aircrafts and even more endless waves of missiles. But I did notice that you can select music from After Burner II, that has to put a smile on the hardcore purist’s faces. Right?
One of the first things I asked was why did they separate score attack from arcade mode? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just have arcade mode have score attack? Then I found out after my first play through. The game has EX Options, basically you perform actions in arcade mode and get more options to toy with in there. These can change the way your points are gathered, like giving you unlimited climax bar and all that stuff. Score attack does not allow this. There is also a training mode if you guys want to use, but don’t know if you need me to explain that.
Sure, the game will last you about fifteen minutes to complete, but there are a ton of medals and other unlockables that most of us will try to reach for. The graphics are breath taking, the control scheme is addicting and the music will put a big smile on your face.
You are getting a 2006 arcade classic game, in your living room for $9.99. I don’t think I have to tell you more than once, if you are a SEGA fan, stop reading and go buy it!
+ Music = awesome
+ Graphics are beautiful and colorful
+ Controls are simple to pick up and hard to master
+ Fun while it lasts!
– Could use more replaybility