Amstrad Action1st February 1989
Published in Amstrad Action #41
In the arcades, After Burner is a furiously fast shoot-'em-up that demands lightning reactions, a blur of a trigger finger - and no brains. When it first announced that it was going to come out on home micros, there were plenty of sniggers from people who said that it simply couldn't be done. Indeed, it has to be admitted that we were among them.
Now we've got our greedy mitts on the CPC version - you lead it here first, folks! - it faces the ultimate test at the hands of a departing imbecile. The plot: fly your F-14 Thunder Cat through stage after stage of mindless violence. The screen is composed of a status panel at the bottom which shows: how many missiles you have left, lives and fuel. At the top of the screen is your score, number of planes hit and the stage. The rest of the screen contains the playing area with your plane viewed from the rear. The ground moves towards you and enemy aircraft appear on screen from the front and rear.
Stage one takes place over open sea and all you have to do on this, and every, stage is survive until the end. At this point, you go onto the next level and are awarded bonus points for number of kills. A sight drifts around the screen according to how you fly the plane and if it crosses the position of an enemy aircraft, a missile is locked on it. It's just a matter of hitting the fire button to destroy your enemy. There's also a continual stream of machine gun fire from you. Stage two is similar except that you're flying over land instead and, after that, you get to link up with a plane to re-fuel and re-arm.
On later stages, you have to navigate through valleys and destroy ground targets and re-fuelling sometimes takes place on an airstrip rather than in mid-air. Airstrip re-fuelling is hysterical; you get to see tiny sticks with dots on top walk towards the plane making a vain attempt to impersonate men. That's about it as far as gameplay goes; just blast away forever, or until you get sick of it anyway.
Graphically it's very good, it's fast and colourful with plenty of detail. The graphics on the title screen look very nice with the moving balls. It's a pity that sound isn't up to the same standard, though, and all you get are a couple of explosions.
The conversion from the arcades is done surprisingly well considering the nature of the game. It's still fast and furious, which is what the game's all about, and, even though you don't get to use your brain much, at least your fingers get some exercise. Unfortunately this is one of those that works much better in the arcades... simply because you often find it on a hydraulic set-up that throws you around as the plane moves. Unless you fancy setting up your CPC on your bed and bouncing around as you play, you'll miss that excitement. Never mind, its still fabulous!
If only you could see me now, sitting here eating my hat. I scoffed when they said After Burner was coming out as a CPC conversion... But having seen it now I'm quite happy to take it all back. It may not be Mastermind, but then again Mastermind isn't After Burner. Highly recommended.
First Day Target Score
Green Screen View
P. Very fast and smooth.
P. Lots of detail and colour.
N. Just a few explosions.
Grab Factor 81%
N. Basically just a shoot-'em-up.
P. But an accurate conversion.
Staying Power 72%
P. Level after level to battle through...
N. The only difference being more enemies.
A good game, especially since it's an arcade conversion.