Afterburner!

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VideoGameCritic
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Afterburner!

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 3rd, 2019, 6:14 pm

So I recently picked up Afterburner II for the Turbografx/PC Engine at the recommendation of a reader. It's a Japanese import but I have a converter.

It's always easier to review a game when you have a basis for comparison, so I'm giving Afterburner II for the Genesis another look. I'm kind of surprised my current grade is a D! That might need to change.

If anybody else has any thoughts on these or other Afterburner titles please chime in!

Cafeman
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Re: Afterburner!

Postby Cafeman » December 7th, 2019, 11:07 am

From what I've seen, the PC engine version is immediately more visually impressive than the Genesis port. Both are very good ports though. I would choose the Genesis version myself, it is quite fun and the Genesis music is very rich, great to listen to.

It's been stated that the Genesis version was outsourced and rushed, where as the PC Engine version had NEC's own developers thus a superior port on that hardware.

The Sega Saturn version is the best of course, identical to the original coin-op. Curious to read your review of the PC Engine port and your comparison to Genesis. Sounds like you aren't too impressed with the Genesis one ... A "D" !?

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: Afterburner!

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 8th, 2019, 2:53 am

Your original D sounds fair for the Genesis game. But so is a C. Seriously, I've never before felt so conflicted about a game.

Because the best thing about the Genesis game is that strips Afterburner to the core gameplay - it's smooth for nonscaling hardware, it's fast, and all of the effects are dialed way down, to the point where skill's usually more important than whether the sprites are blocking your view. On that level, it might even be considered an upgrade over the original.

But that small consideration also exposes how shallow the core gameplay loop is. And with all the sensible restraint, it felt like a missed opportunity to convert new fans to the franchise. Especially since they were charging full price for it, back in the day.

If the actual gameplay alone was enough to base an entire home console game around, then wouldn't the two NES ports be more fondly remembered today?

Meanwhile, the PC Engine port of Afterburner simply focused on capturing the "how am I still alive?" manic adrenaline rush of the arcade. Every sprite in the sky wants to the most intense thing you've ever seen. And sure, most gamers are going to die in a blaze of glory as fast as if they'd only paid a quarter's tuition to Top Gun academy, but for some of us, that only adds to the "One more try" addiction.

It's what got me a bit obsessed with Afterburner ports and clones in the first place.

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Matchstick
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Re: Afterburner!

Postby Matchstick » December 9th, 2019, 12:52 am

I've always felt like Afterburner kind of got the rub when it comes to home ports. I think the Genesis version is fine from a graphics and sound standpoint, but I always had a hard time getting anywhere in the game, finding it too hard to see / dodge incoming planes and missiles until it's too late. I felt like the actual "afterburner" mechanic just didn't work too well, as I could rarely, if ever, hit the jets to successfully evade missiles approaching from behind. I had both the Genesis and Tengen NES version of the game growing up, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, I played the NES one far more. At least I could get pretty far in that one.

I never played the 32X version, but I heard that was the way to go. I do not recommend the Sega Arcade Classics version on the GBA, as I found it just as hard to play as the Genesis version, maybe even moreso. I feel like you touched on this in your review of that GBA collection, Critic. The small screen is just not kind to that one.

Have you ever seen / heard about the Yu Suzuki Gameworks compilation that was on the Dreamcast? There was a book about Yu Suzuki's Sega career published in Japan, and it came with a bonus disc for the Dreamcast that contained arcade ports of OutRun, Space Harrier, Hang On, Afterburner, and, I believe, Power Drift. The book is well out-of-print and the disc is dreadfully expensive on secondhand markets, but I do own a reproduction of the disc, and it is by far one of my most-played Dreamcast games. The quality of the ports are fantastic!

I highly recommend tracking down that compilation if you ever have the means. It is currently my preferred way of playing Afterburner and Space Harrier, and my second-favorite way of playing OutRun aside from the recent Sega Ages port on the Switch. I think the OutRun port on the compilation even works with the Dreamcast steering wheel, but don't quote me on that.

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Re: Afterburner!

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 6th, 2020, 8:39 pm

Thanks for letting me know about this compilation! I was just watching a YouTube video about it.
Wish I had a copy, but I little rich for my blood.
Also, the versions of the games look pretty much the same as my Sega Ages from what I can tell.

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Matchstick
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Re: Afterburner!

Postby Matchstick » January 7th, 2020, 4:50 pm

You've got a good eye, Critic.

Since you already have the Saturn Sega Ages collection, you've pretty much seen all there is to see here. The Dreamcast disc does have the arcade version of Hang-On, but really, I think the Afterburner / OutRun / Space Harrier combo on the Saturn collection absolutely represents the best of the bunch. That, and Super Hang-On for the Genesis is already an excellent home version of the game - and much easier to find for the average gamer, too.

Best of all, I know for a fact that the Saturn collection does allow the use of the steering wheel controller with OutRun. Heavennn... I'm in Heavennn...

I keep telling myself that someday I'll see that Yu Suzuki GameWorks book inside the glass case at Half Price Books. What a find that would be! It's too bad that the book / disc combo was only available in Japan, but it is definitely an interesting collector's item, and one that I would love to have for myself, someday.

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Re: Afterburner!

Postby CaptainCruch » January 8th, 2020, 12:08 pm

I only played the 3DS eShop version of AfterBurner (I believe it's an arcade perfect port). I do not enjoy the game very much, but it looks nice and keep playing just because of the fantastic music.

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: Afterburner!

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » January 9th, 2020, 6:03 am

The 3DS version is better than arcade perfect. A small example: the original arcade BGM was missing a sound channel for melody. No idea why, since it was in the original files, but that extra channel was included in CDs, and even some of the downgraded ports.

Also, the new special mode also includes everything the original developers wanted to include, but couldn't figure out how to make work in the time and limitations they had. Example: Dogfighting. They also claim they wanted a slow motion option before Climax, which I didn't believe until I learned Sega's Astro Blaster was the first game with a bullet time feature, way back in 1981.

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Re: Afterburner!

Postby djc » January 10th, 2020, 12:42 am

The PC Engine version of Afterburner II is really good and a solid port of the arcade version. I always found the Sega ports on the PC Engine (Outrun, Afterburner, Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and Space Harrier) to be well done. It's a shame the US market only got Space Harrier.

If you're looking for another good PC Engine arcade port, check out Street Fighter II CE and then try to tell me that the TG-16 wasn't a real 16-bit system and that it couldn't hang with the Genesis and SNES in terms of quality.

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Re: Afterburner!

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 10th, 2020, 9:21 pm

Is it Afterburner or After Burner??

My reviews seem to fluctuate between the two, but I would prefer to be consistent.


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