This is going to be an interesting year for us here at SEGAbits, as we try to get accustomed to covering Atlus games. I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with the company, but I haven’t truly begun to introduce myself to their catalog until today, when I played several of their games on the showfloor. I’m going to do my best to provide coverage of this company, but I am somewhat out of my depth here. First on my docket? Abyss Odyssey!
I had a fun time with this game. It’s essentially a Smash Bros game with rogue-like elements. So pretty much a side scrolling brawler that can be really, really hard and brutal. Allies can hit and damage each other in this game, the labyrinth quickly becomes much more difficult the deeper you go, and dying will result in you going back to your previous checkpoint, sans all of your equipment and items. Death in this game carries a serious consequence! For a rogue-like this game is actually pretty generous, as you get to keep all of your collected experience, skills and gold.
With E3 now only days away, companies are finally getting around to unveiling their E3 line-ups. Today, SEGA got around to unveiling what games they will be bringing to the show. The list isn’t exactly surprising:
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (3DS)
Alien: Isolation (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (PS3, Vita, PSN)
Though the list is rather paltry, it should be noted that SEGA has occasionally had some small surprises at E3. Back in 2010 the company used the show to unveil Sonic Free Riders and their line-up of Dreamcast titles. Also notably absent are SEGA’s mobile titles, despite the company working to increase its presence in the sector.
Even if these are the only games coming from SEGA itself, we at SEGAbits won’t be getting off so easily. Though not officially confirmed, Nintendo will likely have Bayonetta 2 on display. SEGA’s newest acquisition, Atlus, has their own slate of titles for the show, which we will also be providing coverage for.
Tonight’s tune is from Shinobi 3, one of the best games on the Genesis. You should check it out if you haven’t already. It’s got a lot of great action and an awesome soundtrack. Idaten comes from a stage anyone who’s played the game will surely remember: the one where you ride the horse and kill flying ninjas. Doesn’t this just make you want to play it again?
Also, just for the hell of it, I stuck something else below the fold, a little tune called Whirlwind. Take a listen.
UPDATE: Some new game play footage has been released with an interview with Stephen Frost. I’ve included the video above.
SEGA has just confirmed via their blog that both versions of Sonic Boom will be available to play at E3 this year. Both games will effectively be their own individual titles, with their own completely unique game play style and mechanics.
The Wii U version has been subtitled Rise of Lyric. It’s a 3D action title that will focus on battle and exploration as Sonic and his friends work to stop a new villain, an ancient robotic snake creature called Lyric from awakening his robotic army and destroying the world. According to the press release, “an extremely tech-savvy mastermind who uses a sophisticated robotic body of armor to carry out his own nefarious deeds, he is a formidable enemy and a force to be reckoned with.” Rise of Lyric will feature new moves for Sonic and his friends, including something called an “enerbeam”, which some may remember from the Sonic Boom TV show teaser released back in February. Using the enerbeam, players can zip-line around levels, move heavy objects, disarm enemies, and throw them around.
The 3DS version has been called Shattered Crystal. We’ve got details of that game, as well as images of Lyric and both games below the fold!
In the mid-nineties the rise of 3D gaming left many of SEGA’s older franchises behind. While most were either abandoned or received largely forgotten two dimensional entries, some were completely reinvented for the third dimension. Though it doesn’t bear the After Burner name, Sky Target was in fact the first 3D entry in SEGA’s After Burner franchise. Released in 1995, the arcade version of Sky Target never achieved its predecessor’s success, failing to even leave Japan. Western gamers wouldn’t get to play Sky Target until SEGA ported the game to the Saturn in 1997, where it would be quickly forgotten.
At first glance, After Burner looks like the perfect candidate for a transition to the third dimension. After all, the game is already trying to simulate 3D play. In reality, Sky Target’s design decisions actually perfectly illustrate why so many SEGA franchises struggled (or failed) to make the 3D jump to begin with. Sky Target would introduce many drastic changes to the After Burner formula, many of which would find their way into 2006’s After Burner Climax. Do these design decisions work, though? Does Sky Target live up to the reputation built by its predecessor?
In an era where most home gaming consoles were couldn’t produce anything more than simple 8-bit sprites, video game companies did have to occasionally get a little…creative with their marketing. This goes double for Tiger, whose LCD games were about as immersive as…well I don’t think there is anything less immersive then a Tiger LCD game. So naturally, Tiger encouraged the kids of the eighties to imagine their own arcade experience! After all, who needs stereo surround sound, fluid super scaling graphics and a full motion cabinet when you have the power of you mind?! This kid certainly doesn’t. He even brought his own flight helmet!
To be fair though, throwing a kid into a jet fighter was a pretty common way to market the game. SEGA took it a step further with their Master System commercial. This kid didn’t just imagine flying through some hazy clouds, he imagined a whole damn plane! The kid from Suburban Commando, which we highlighted earlier this week, even took it a step further by completely changing the setting of the game, complete with some new enemies.
If there’s anything I miss about games from the 8 and 16 bit era, it’s how vague their stories and characters were. Sure, I love having deep, interesting characters and engaging stories in my games, but an unfortunate side effect of this is that we can’t let our imaginations run wild about the nature of the game’s world and characters anymore. Oh well, I guess we’ll always have the imaginary jets of our childhoods at least, right?
Like any beloved SEGA franchise, After Burner has had its share of cameos. Unfortunately, unlike Fantasy Zone and Sonic the Hedgehog, these cameos have been few, so we did have to stretch things just a little bit to fill out this weekly five. As they say though, quality matters over quantity, so even though After Burner’s cameos have been few, they’ve often been quite great. So grab a snack, sit down and enjoy as we look through After Burner’s five best only cameos.
When After Burner blasted into arcades in 1987 it quickly became a smashing success, emerging as one of SEGA’s top franchises. Naturally, SEGA endeavored to port the game to every single piece of home gaming hardware under the sun. Famicom, Master System, Commodore 64, DOS, you name a gaming platform that was still relevant in the late 1980s, and chances are that platform got a port (or two) of After Burner.
Unfortunately, none of these systems were capable of doing After Burner’s explosive graphics and frenetic game play the justice they deserved, and so these ports fell short. It would take eight years for home consoles to catch up to SEGA’s arcade technology. Once they did SEGA wasted no time in finally bringing After Burner home in the form of After Burner Complete, an exclusive to SEGA’s brand new, ill-fated add-on, the 32X.
It may be hard to believe nowadays, but there was a time when After Burner was once a pretty big deal. It helped the Master System find success in Europe and Australia, it was advertised on television and it even received a cameo in one of the highest grossing films of the nineties, Terminator 2! We’re not going to talk about that though, because you’ve probably already seen it. Instead, we’re going to focus on another science fiction movie released the same year as T2 that practically nobody saw: Suburban Commando. We’ll also mention a certain popular reviewer of nostalgia who took a look at it back in 2009, and later took a look at one of After Burner’s commercials in a separate video a few years later. The video above features both clips. Take a look, then join me for more after the break!
After Burner’s soundtrack ranks among the most iconic in the games industry. We’ve already featured two versions of After Burner’s main theme on a Tuesday Tunes a few years ago, so today we’ll be showcasing something a little more obscure: an unused track from Gunstar Super Heroes. Released for the Game Boy Advance in 2005, GSH was originally supposed to include numerous tracks referencing classic SEGA titles, including Altered Beast, Galaxy Force and of course After Burner. Unfortunately, all of these tracks were cut at the last moment, but some hackers managed to pull them out of the ROM and slap them onto the internet.
If the Gunstar Super Heroes rendition of Final Take-Off isn’t your cup of tea, I’ve also included the original version of the track from the SEGAAGES Album. Check it out after the break!