game Cover
game HuCard
©Sega 1987
Reprogram ©NEC Avenue, Ltd. 1990
Release: 1990-09-28 (¥7200)
HuCard (4 Mbits) NAPH1011
Shooter / 3D

After Burner II is a fast paced 3D shooter by Nec Avenue and conversion of Sega's arcade game of the same name originally released in 1987. The world is once again in great danger and the evil general Zorbia and his army have decided to take over the nation. The Carrier Sega Enterprise is deployed for a counter operation and prepares for a first-strike attack. The player takes control of a super F-14 Tomcat fighter jet and single-handedly tries to stop the invasion. The jet is dizzyingly fast and the player can manoeuvre it around the screen with ease and even trigger disorienting 'barrel-rolls'. There are two kinds of weapons - a Machine Gun with unlimited ammo (it can only fire directed ahead of the plane and is designed to take down close range enemies), and secondary homing-missiles that can be locked onto enemy planes (but they come in limited quantities). However, the gameplay is not only based on shooting enemy aircrafts and later stages feature intense sections where the player has to out-manoeuvre other jets and missiles that appear on his tail, or fly through narrow canyons. After Burner II consists of twenty two short stages and is single player only.
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After Burner II The arcade game After Burner was originally released by Sega in 1987. This game is considered as one of the first Sega game to use Sega's proprietary 'Super Scaler' technology and featured fast and smooth sprite scaling, giving the game incredible and fairly unique 3D effects (although Hang-On used the technology in 1985, After Burner was the first game to introduce sprite rotations). The game was an instant success and After Burner was ported to virtually every home systems at the time, such as the Sega Master System (1987), MSX (1988), Amstrad CPC (1988), Commodore 64 (1988), Sinclair ZX81 (1988), Atari ST (1988), FM Towns (1989), Sharp X68000 (1989), Amiga (1989), Famicom (1989), Master System (1989), Megadrive 32X (1995) and was later included in compilations such as After Burner Complete (32X, 1995) and Sega Arcade Gallery (Game Boy Advance, 2003). After Burner II followed the same year (1987) - however, this sequel was more an enhanced version of the original and featured a new introduction sequence, new intermissions, more levels, new enemies and the player started with more missiles. The game was later converted to the Megadrive (1990) and the PC Engine (1990), and was also included in the Sega Ages series for the Saturn (1996) and Playstation 2 (2004). After Burner III was released much later, in 1992, and was only available for the FM Towns and Sega CD systems. Interestingly, this sequel was actually a port of Strike Fighter originally released in 1991, a pseudo sequel to G-LOC Air Battle (1990), itself a spiritual spin-off of After Burner. G-LOC Air Battle offered a lot similarities with After Burner, and it was also the first game to use the R-360 cabinet which could do a full 360 rotation angle on both horizontal and vertical axes. Another game worth mentioning is the fan-made remake of Sega's classic called After Burner 3D - the game was released in 2003 and was designed by Brodaroda and published by Freeware. It is often considered better than Sega's own attempt to bring After Burner into the 3D polygonal realm (Sky Target 3D, released in 1997 by Sega, was the official modernization of the arcade classic). Finally, Sega released the arcade game After Burner Climax in 2006 - the game features incredible 3D polygonal graphics and is a closer sequel to After Burner II than After Burner III ever was. It was later ported and made available to the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network (downloadable only). Another game worth mentioning is After Burner Black Falcon released for the Playstation Portable in 2007.


After Burner 2 manual Advert
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The original After Burner arcade game had a lot to impress with its rotating cabinet and amazing 2D/pseudo-3D effects. But what about a home version where the only way to get anywhere near the arcade experience would be to somehow play in a hammock with a TV set sitting on your laps? I have to say, NEC Avenue did an excellent job and I still can't believe how they managed to pull this port out of a 8-bit console. Granted the developer had to reduce the amount of detail on screen (especially for the background), but the game is insanely fast, the animation incredibly smooth, and the soundtrack amazing - and this is what really matters. This port is a really faithful recreation of Sega's classic (except for the horrible canyon sequences). However, one aspect of this faithfulness is also the game's greatest Achilles' heel - I have always felt that After Burner was more a ride than a game, and shooting endless waves of enemy fighters while avoiding heat-seeking missiles is fun at first, but it quickly becomes repetitive - After Burner II is not really a game you play for long stretches of time, but is perfect for a short adrenaline rush. All in all, this port is an incredible conversion and it really delivers the goods.

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