Fandel Mulkey On May 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

While arcade games are all but dead, their spirit lives on in the form of services such as PSN, Wiiware and Xbox Live Arcade. For the cost of ten bucks, you can relive most of your childhood memories (sans the fancy hydraulic chair) right at home in front of a HDTV, either emulated to perfection or updated with new graphics, music and gameplay elements. In the case of Afterburner: Climax, Sega took the later route, as this game is based on the 2006 update rather than the more recognizable 80’s classic.

While the core gameplay remains unchanged — fly around and shoot incoming planes while dodging enemy missiles by doing barrel rolls – there are a couple interesting changes. Right off the bat, you’ll be able to select three separate fighting planes: Your trusty F-14, an F-18 and F-15. There isn’t really a difference between the three, but flying different planes on multiple playthoughs keeps the game from being too monotonous. The second addition is the Climax meter; once it’s full you can slow down the action while a round cone appears, enabling you to lock-on and mow down anything in that cones path. Another addition that the original didn’t have are branching paths at the end of every third stage. It’s not a huge addition, but I suppose it’s an incentive to play the game more than once to see everything While the different stages are mostly scenery changes, with the occasional twist a few require you to dodge low-lying mountains and base trenches, but mostly it’s one big shooting gallery.

Graphically the game looks fine for a ten-dollar game; nothing groundbreaking, even by 2006 (when the arcade game was originally released) standards. While the game has its moments when you’re whizzing by at a thousand MPH; once you pause the game, you’ll notice the lifeless water, bland textures on the ground and planes. One annoying aspect that affects gameplay is that the framerate frequently chugs when there is a lot going on. It’s far from a gamebreaker but it is noticeable.

While you can beat Afterburner: Climax in literally 20 minutes, Sega added a lot of options to encourage you to replay the game multiple times. In addition of the typical Score Attack mode where you can upload your score to online leaderboards, you can unlock a bunch of bonuses and cheats via the EX option screen. Having trouble beating the game on 3 continues? You’ll be able to add more continues once you see the game over screen a few times. Want an auto Lock-On? Beat the game ten times. Want to turn on an option to prevent enemies from attacking at all? Just shoot down 10,000 bad guys. There are many more special options you can unlock, some not so useful (such as removing the smoke from your missiles).


Pretty much the classic Afterburner with a couple twists. For those who have never played an Afterburner game: this is a classic 80’s arcade shooter with no simulation aspects whatsoever.


While some of the stages look nice, you’ll seen better. To be fair, the game does look good considering the 2006 arcade game was running on hardware much weaker than the computer I’m typing this review from. Only major flaw is the framerate drops.


Typical 2000’s forgettable arcade fare – that is until you discover the option to use the classic tunes from the original Afterburner 2 arcade game! It’s amazing how well that music has aged in over 20 years!


There’s absolutely nothing wrong in spending ten-dollars for this game. While it may be short, the score attack mode and EX options will turn a 20-minute game into a game that you’ll likely play for many hours when it’s all said and done.

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