After Burner


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


In the arcades, After Burner was a perfect hit. It was loud, flashy, and it had an amazing cabinet that put you right inside the cockpit (even though the game was played from a behind-the-jet perspective). At home, when you’re paying more than a quarter to play, you need a little more than that. After Burner doesn’t belong home. 

It’s easy to miss just how awful After Burner really is. It throws so much at you, you take it in as the greatest action game ever made. On the 32X, you can plainly see just how unplayable it can be. The controls are far too loose, it’s hard to see anything, nothing ever changes through each stage, it’s unfair, and it’s far more enjoyable to crash land than it is to play.  

There’s a focus on missiles here, and with each one launched, you’re blinded by the smoke trail pouring out of the exhaust. Enemy planes come out in such ridiculous numbers, it’s all a matter of getting lucky enough to take enough of them down to avoid being hit. Dodging their firepower is useless as their missiles have tracking capabilities just shy of your own. That’s fair in war, not in a video game.  

The sheer speed of the game is the selling point as trees and various other objects roar by you on the ground. A few stages even take place above the clouds. It’s all very fancy and hand drawn, which is impressive. The horizon line does appear too close which was an understandable limitation of the arcade game. On the 32X, there’s no reason for it. Granted, this is meant to be a perfect port; that doesn’t excuse it for not trying to anything new.  

Voices indicate when it’s time to “fire” off a deadly missile, and when you get to the later stages, it’s nothing more than an annoyance as you lock on to ten bogies at once. The music is captured here perfectly, and that’s one are that didn’t require much change. Again, this is arcade perfect, so if you’ve ever listened closely to the arcade game, you’ll know what to expect here. It’s difficult NOT to hear this one actually.  

If you do enjoy After Burner for nostalgic reasons, then this may be bring back memories of those arcade trips. It’s not going to do much for you gameplay wise, especially on a console that’s capable of much more. How this game ever snagged a cameo in Terminator 2 is unknown.


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Last updated: Friday, July 01, 2005 12:51 PM