This is more like it. After recent incarnations of the more realistic (dull) plane combat games like Tom Clancy’s Hawx or Blazing Angels, it’s good to see a more fun-minded arcade game return. You won’t find a more fondly remembered fighter plane game than After Burner either.
Rather than succumbing to modern pressure, the series still seems to play in its familiar style of blasting towards the horizon, with players concentrating on avoiding enemy gunfire in a relatively 2D space.
If you’ve had a gander at the pictures you’ll have noticed the lovely new HD makeover from Sega’s AM2 crew who’ve been showing off for years with the likes of Virtua Fighter 5 and Out Run. If you think the pictures look good, just wait till you see it in motion.
New to the series will be Climax Mode (ha!), where players will be able to temporarily be able to activate a slow motion effect to easily dodge incoming fire and increase accuracy to take down the faster moving swarms of enemy ships. All before it kicks back into full-on mental again.
There will be over twenty stages to hurtle over, consisting of mountains, deserts, oceans and bustling cities often within the same stage and usually at dangerously low altitude. Interestingly, there will be branching storylines and paths (hello again Out Run) depending on choices you make and if you mess up on certain missions. Multiple planes with customisable paintjobs will be made available too.
Combat will be a familiar blend of infinite machine gun fire and devastating lock-on missiles, with combo kills being encouraged throughout. The action will focus on being fast paced and fun, with the screen filling with exploding planes and gunfire tearing across landscapes at ludicrous speeds. After chugging over 1940’s Europe in other plane fighter games, we can’t bloody wait!
After Burner Climax will be barrel rolling its way onto XBLA on April 21st and PSN on April 22nd.
Check out this trailer while you wait: