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Afterburner: Climax – Review

One of the most renowned and celebrated arcade classics in SEGA”s library of video games is Afterburner. Designed by Yu Suzuki Afterburner was a revolutionary arcade game, tapping into the immeasurably charged and engaging energy of cinematic Hollywood-styled action. Players took to the pilot’s seat of the F-14 Tomcat, took off from the USS SEGA, and proceeded to save America and the free world with nearly endless volleys of missile and machine gun fire, downing entire aerial armadas of aircraft. Afterburner saw only three installments but saw continuous re-releases on various platforms. SEGA has managed to bring the latest installment, Afterburner: Climax to Android devices. Originally exclusive to arcades and known for using an extremely high-quality presentation, Afterburner Climax can now be played on your smartphone, and it’s a great experience, even with some sacrifices made along the way. In Afterburner Climax, a rogue military has taken control of cutting-edge military hardware and is now bent on destabilizing the free world. They have secured a nuclear missile as well, and they will launch in a matter of hours. The U.S Military rapidly responds, and it is up to the player to decimate the enemy, destroy the missile, and save democracy.

At the very beginning of the game, players will be able to choose between the classic F-14 Tomcat, the F/A 18 Super Hornet, or an F-15 Strike Eagle, though each plane handles roughly the same. The objective of Afterburner CLIMAX is to down every enemy possible on-screen, racking up the highest score possible across several stages. The more enemies downed, the higher the score. As players continue to down enemies, they will be able to use the CLIMAX meter. The CLIMAX meter slows down time and allows the player to lock onto as many targets as possible on-screen, then obliterate them on one giant salvo of missiles. Players will be taken to various locations, from volcanic islands to deadly canyons, in order to successfully defeat this terrorist organization.

If players are truly skilled, some levels will unveil special objectives. These objective include specific aircraft and targets to destroy. Successfully destroying these targets will allow players to go further in the arcade mode and unlock further levels. This is imperative to fully complete the arcade mode. Failure to destroy these targets will result in the default ending, while successfully destroying these targets will result in getting the best ending possible.

Playing Afterburner Climax is tremendous fun on the run. While the game does sacrifice its incredible graphical fidelity, it makes up for it with maintaining a sharp, consistent framerate and the same fast, guns-blazing gameplay as its arcade counterpart. Visual effects are still polished and the particle effects, from explosions to the stages, still appear remarkable. Featuring a rocking soundtrack, Afterburner CLimax is tremendous on Androids, which is quite the achievement. Flotillas of armed aircraft fire at the players, only to pierce and down them all in tremendous excitement and energy, and while the challenge steeply climbs, the excitement gets faster and harder.

Afterburner Climax, while still retaining great arcade gameplay, it is held back by the use of a touch-screen and lack of additional content. The touch-screen controls are inevitable, but I cannot help but feel that the game, or the controls, could have been better tailored. Afterburner Climax is incredibly fast and the touch-screen may not be responsive or adapted enough to keep up with the speed of the game. The game is not compatible with NVIDIA Shield or gamepad support at this time. Additionally, considering the original game was released in 2008, additional content, such as the original Afterburner games or additional missions, would have been appreciated, but this newest release of Afterburner Climax does not come with any additional material. It’s hard to argue the $2.99 price, however, though it is still underwhelming.

Despite these setbacks, Afterburner Climax is a lot of fun. The combat and gameplay are as sharp as ever, and the fact that Sega was able to successfully port it to the smartphone platform is commendable. If you are looking for a game that doesn’t feature predatory microtransactions, you can’t go wrong with Afterburner Climax.

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