(Sega, 1988)

Like a lot of kids out there, one of my dreams as a youth was having my very own powerful fighter jet. Doesn't it sound cool, eh? What could be better then screaming across the skies with high powered plane as you shoot down enemy targets just like in the movie Top Gun or Hot Shots? The people at Sega capitalized on that idea and they created an intense arcade shooter called After Burner here. The game was a huge hit in the arcades and the only thing Sega needed to do now is to bring this furious
Arcade hit home. For the first time ever, they would translate After Burner exclusively for their very own Master System and to insurance the game's quality it came packed with a then huge 4 megabit chip. With all this effort going into this project; After Burner for the SMS should have been a great game. Notice how I said 'should have been'!

There isn't really much story here so I'm going to make half of it up. A rival country (we don't know who the enemies are since the instructions doesn't even mention it so we'll just say it's
Canada ) has launched a massive air strike to take over any country that gets in their way. It's your mission to take control of the F-14 Thunder Cat; one of the most advance jet fighters in the world. You must use both your power and flying techniques so that the evil Canucks won't be able to conquer the world.

It won't but easy (or very much fun for that matter) but it's a good thing you not only have an unlimited supply of Vulcan cannons at your disposal but you also fire lock-on missiles once the enemy is in the crosshairs. After Burner started out all right because as you hear a digital 'Get Ready' and fly off to shoot down the enemy. Unfortunately, things go downhill in a hurry thanks to the insane difficulty since there are only three lives. You must survive roughly 20 of these overly long levels that don't ever defer much from one another so boredom sets in quickly.

Sega tried hard to make the game look like the real
Arcade game at least. Your aircraft is huge (making it a rather large target by the way) and you can even perform barrel rolls where the whole screen does a cool 360. The major sacrifice comes with an awful frame-rate and it doesn't help matters when the game's heavy choppiness ruins all the action. After Burner’s graphics are so bad that it will quickly give a lot of you motion sickness. The Arcade game is also well known for its intense Rock soundtracks but now since the Master System has such terrible music quality; it sounds like you're a fairy boat cruise instead doing some deadly dog fighting.

What could have been an incredible title turned into a 'just barely made it' shooter that looks way too weak compared to the spectacular
Arcade original. The Sega Master may have some stronger features over the NES but that doesn't mean the system was capable of handling something as big as After Burner. The game looks and sounds horrible! Sadly this game play isn't very fun to play either since all the levels feel the same each time. You can only shoot down planes for so long before it gets boring. There is even this trick where you can just hold left for the first 12 missions and you won't get hit. It's a great trick but why would you waste time even playing this? Bottomline is After Burner for the Sega Master System is really poorly done despite the then huge mega chip inside.



overall rating: 31/100
Find After Burner on eBay here!

For 1 player only

graphics: 4/10
sound: 2/10
gameplay: 2/10
replay: 2/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

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