Thursday, May 03, 2007

Afterburner: Black Falcon (PSP)

- Afterburner in the arcades had to be one of my all time favorite games. I easily spent over $100 in quarters on this game. I could finish the game in a single credit. I had every enemy formation memorized. I could sketch out in order the formations that would appear, where on the screen, and all from memory. I own afterburner on sega master system, genesis, 32x, and sega saturn (japanese import). I'm still missing the sega ages version ps2 import (still gotta pick that one up - Sega AGES 2500 Series Vol. 10 After Burner II). I've watched videos of Afterburner Climax the new arcade version (man I so want to try this. PLEASE Sega port this to a next gen console). To say I'm a big afterburner fan is a bit of an understatement.
- What made afterburner great was this core game play of trying to lock on to as many planes as fast as possible, launching your missiles earlier enough to thin out the enemy formation there for reducing the number of missiles in the return fire. Then, with some good timing you could dodge the remaining missiles. You have throttle control to help outrun threats coming from behind. The barrel rolls were almost a gimmick. They looked cool but since you had little directional control during the actual roll it got you killed more often than not. Add big explosions, skies filled with smoke trails, and a rockin soundtrack and that's basically afterburner. It was about survival, pushing deep into enemy lines against incredible odds, and trying to get to the next refuel point to get more missiles.
- This PSP pseudo sequel is now a true 3d game engine (instead of pseudo 3d using scaling sprites) and plays nothing like the original. The guns and lock on mechanic is still there but that's about it. They tried to blend in some other elements, some borrowed from ace combat like buying planes, a weird power up grabbing mechanic, and other stuff like mission objectives to destroy X number of a certain type of enemy that just doesn't seem to gel. The core missile dodging mechanic has been destroyed. Now it seems the only way to dodge missiles is to barrel roll. This is just so completely wrong. The game really lost it's focus and is a bit of a mess. The smoke trails could be more prominent. The explosions could be bigger.
- I've only played a few levels so far but I've already lost interest.
- If you need a portable jet fighting game go get ace combat (a much better game). This game isn't even an afterburner game except in name IMO.

Very disappointed.

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