After Burner

Sega Master System
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After Burner delivers high-speed aerial combat with impressive graphics, challenging gameplay, and intense boss battles, creating an engaging 3D shooter experience

After Burner, following in the footsteps of Outrun and Space Harrier, emerged as one of Sega‘s flagship 3D blockbusters in the mid-80s. Originally released in arcades and on the Master System in 1987, it set a high standard for 3D gaming. The challenge, however, lay in faithfully converting this experience to the 8-bit Master System.

Gameplay: Aerial Combat at its Core

Piloting an F14 Tomcat, you navigate through roughly 20 stages, focused on a simple yet demanding objective: eliminate anything that moves and survive to the stage’s end. Enemy aircraft, approaching from various angles, attempt to thwart your progress. Armed with cannons and missiles, precision is key.

Take flight with After Burner! Play now on web browsers, mobile devices, and tablets!

The crosshair aids in missile lock-ons, ensuring a more accurate strike. Beware, enemy missiles, though only launched head-on, are relentless in pursuit. Noteworthy additions include periodic refueling for bonus points and epic boss encounters.

While the game boasts solid gameplay, two aspects hinder its brilliance. The experience tends to be repetitive, with stages differing mainly in scenery and enemy count. A notable glitch emerges in the first 11 stages due to a lack of throttle control, allowing players to employ evasive banking maneuvers with ease.

After Burner (SMS gallery 03)

Graphics: 3D Prowess on Display

Master System‘s After Burner presents impressive graphics. The 3D effect creates a palpable sense of speed, thanks to the swift motion of ground objects, though their details remain limited. Enemy aircraft and explosions are well-rendered, contributing to the game’s visual appeal.

Sound & Music: Arcade Echoes

The game endeavors to preserve the arcade’s musical essence. The in-game tunes maintain a fitting pace with the action, though later tracks may lack the same vigor. Transitioning the arcade’s dynamic sounds proves challenging, resulting in some tonal discrepancies. Sound effects are comprehensive, complementing the action seamlessly.

Controls: Mastering Flight Maneuvers

Navigating your aircraft is intuitive, with directional controls for climbing, diving, and banking. Cannons and missiles are deployed using separate buttons. Mastering the lock-on system ensures accurate missile strikes. While responsive, the absence of a throttle control, a notable feature in the arcade, impacts the experience.

Replay Value: A Steep Climb

After Burner’s challenge level is considerable. Evading the ‘bank’ tactic demands skill, especially after stage 12. The difficulty spike ensures extended playtime, though frustration may be a deterrent. Limited multiplayer options and minimal variation may limit long-term replayability.

After Burner (SMS gallery 01)

Conclusion: A Skyward Journey

Sega’s meticulous conversion of this game shines through, despite certain shortcomings. The absence of a throttle control hinders the experience, leading to some repetitiveness in this 3D shooter. Nevertheless, the game excels graphically, showcasing the early potential of the console.

While sound and music hold their ground, the gameplay’s challenge is a mixed bag. After Burner remains a noteworthy addition to the Master System library, even if it doesn’t surpass its arcade counterparts

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Take flight with After Burner! Play now on web browsers, mobile devices, and tablets!

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Is After Burner suitable for players new to aerial combat games?

While accessible, After Burner’s challenge may be better suited for those familiar with aerial combat dynamics.

How does After Burner compare to other Sega arcade classics like Outrun and Space Harrier?

Among Sega’s iconic arcade titles, After Burner offers a unique aerial combat experience, though personal preferences may vary.

Can I expect a variety of environments in After Burner?

After Burner features diverse terrains, though gameplay dynamics remain similar across stages.

What sets the Master System version of After Burner apart from its arcade counterpart?

The absence of a throttle control in the Master System version alters gameplay dynamics, impacting the overall experience.

Are there multiplayer options available in After Burner?

This game primarily offers a single-player experience, with limited multiplayer features.