Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
SKY high, mindless blasting has always been a successful coin-op formula, and it's no wonder then that After Burner has had such a good run in the arcades. The action is manic and constant; the graphics superb. Add to that a huge sit-in cabinet that rocks and rolls all over the shop and you've got one mean (and expensive) arcade console. Take away the cabinet and make a stand-up version and the game loses something. It's still got all the action, sound and graphics but it's not so 'real' any more.
SEGA £24.95cr OUT NOW
Micro versions from ACTIVISION planned
Convert the game to a home console and does the game lose anything else? Superficially no: in reality, yes. The whole game is still present and the plot hasnt changed. Fly your F-14 Tomcat through stage after stage of enemy territory and try to wipe out as many of the enemy fighters that appear from in front and behind as possible. You're still armed with a front firing machine gun (aimed with the aid of a small on-screen square that moves with your plane) and missiles (fired when your sights lock-on to an enemy plane or missile). Now that all sounds good, so where's the problem?
The lack of playability is the game's biggest problem - the arcade version was diabolically tough until you got used to the controls (or where the safe points on the screen were) but that is not the case with the console version. The action's still manic and constant but the game's nowhere near as tough and it loses most of its addiction very quickly. 'After Burner on the console is one of those games you may come back to time and time again, but only for short spells.
As seems to be the case with most Sega games, the graphics are very good but the music ts dull. Playability problems mar an otherwise competent arcade conversion, and don't expect your grey matter to be too severely taxed.
Very playable for short spells.