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After Burner
アフターバーナー
1987

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After Burner has certainly made its mark: its eye-popping speed, iconic soundtrack and deluxe hydraulic cabinet mark a defining moment in video game history. It was, and will forever remain, the ultimate arcade experience.
In 1987, Yu Suzuki was no stranger to success: Hang-On (1985), Space Harrier (1985) and Out Run (1986) were all worldwide smash hits, providing tremendous entertainment while showcasing Sega's unique flair for extravagant arcade cabinets. Shamelessly 'inspired' by the movie Top Gun (1986), After Burner was an immediate smash with 1987 audiences, in most part due to its outrageous hydraulic cabinet.
The giant 'Deluxe Cradle' makes the player feel every bump and bang the game had to offer, and blare out the carnage for all to hear. This is the zeitgeist of 80s gaming: eccentric, expensive and loud.
The gameplay itself stands out as the natural successor to Space Harrier: fly head-on into enemy airspace and gun down as many targets as possible. But now two different weapons are available (guns & lock-on missiles) and the speed has been doubled: it's a relentlessly difficult challenge.
And there lies this game's genius: while experts have a technical monster to get their heads around, casual and younger players got themselves one hell of a thrill ride.
In terms of home versions, After Burner was doomed: since the game can only be played accurately with analog controls, the gameplay is seriously handicapped. Picking off oncoming formations on digital is as difficult as it is frustrating.
As a result of this After Burner saw the development of one of the very first analog controllers for the consumer market: the XE-1AP by Micomsoft was released to tie-in with the X68000 (1989) and Mega Drive (1990) versions, but sadly was never released outside of Japan.
It took almost 10 years for a playable version to appear: the Sega Saturn (1996) and Dreamcast (2001) versions were first to do the game any justice, complete with analog controls.
A masterful arcade game in every respect, recently given a brilliant revival in After Burner Climax (2006).

Rating:
 

 
 


 

Soundtrack
(10 Oct 1987)
 

Sega Mark III
(12 Dec 1987)
 
----
Famicom
(30 Mar 1989)
 

XE-1AP
(1989)
 

X68000
(1989)
 

 

Mark III / Master System (1987)



Famicom (1989)
 
After Burner / After Burner II
The original 'After Burner' software was very quickly updated with 'After Burner II', a near-identical game that benefits immensely from the most obvious of additions: the afterburner.
This is the version that most will know: the player can speed up or slow down at will. Also the missile firing speed was increased and three stages were added (bringing the total up to 21).
The first game is a prototype: without the speed feature the canyons of Stage 6 and 12 are impossible to navigate. The 1987 Sega Mark III version remains the only home port of this original game - but it too was subject to a number of changes, including the addition of boss battles.
Every subsequent release features the spinning 'II' behind the title, and the essential 'Speed' bar during gameplay.

Home versions
A lot of After Burner's mystique stems from its cutting edge visuals and how they remained impossible to replicate accurately at home.
The Sega Mark III (1987) and Famicom (1989) versions were fun but way off the mark. By 1990 the X68000, FM Towns and Mega Drive had come very close, thanks in great part to the analog XE-1AP controller.
As per usual Western developers missed the point altogether. It's hard to comprehend why people bothered with the god-awful C64, Spectrum, Atari ST or Amiga versions. Coming to think of it, it's hard to comprehend why people bothered with those machines at all.
It wasn't until 1995 that an accurate conversion would finally appear - first on the Mega Drive 32X (1995), then Sega Saturn (1996) and later as a bonus in the Dreamcast Shenmue II (2001), perfectly playable with the DC analog pad.
A remixed version appeared in 2004 the PS2 Sega Ages 2500 Series.
 

 

'After Burner'
Mk .I prototype version
 

'After Burner II'
with 'Speed' gauge (bottom left) and 'Hit' counter (top)
 


 
Sega Game Music Vol.3 After Burner
セガ・ゲーム・ミュージック VOL.3 アフターバーナー

SOUNDTRACK
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 10 Oct 1987
Publisher GMO Records
Product ID 28XA-109
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Vintage soundtrack CD featuring the BGM collections of:
1 - After Burner (1987) [17:39]
2 - Alien Syndrome (1987) [4:12]
3 - Super Hang-On (1987) [12:59]
4 - SDI (1987) [10:46]
5 - Dunk Shot (1986) [13:11]
This original 1987 release is now next to impossible to find - fortunately the disc was re-issued by Scitron in 2000 (see below).

CD case, 5-track music CD (58:47), booklet, spine card.

After Burner
アフターバーナー

SEGA MARK III
DETAILS
Format Sega Mark III
Released 12 Dec 1987
Publisher Sega
Product ID G-1340
Size (cm) 14 x 10 x 2.5
Weight (kg) 0.12
PRICE
STATUS
Coming in at 4Mbits (a massive amount for the time) the Mark III / Master System port was the very first home conversion of After Burner, and the only release of the original 'no speed-up / speed down' game.

Standard 'Gold Cartridge' packaging, 4Mbit cartridge, 12-page monochrome booklet.

After Burner
アフターバーナー

FAMICOM
DETAILS
Format Famicom
Released 30 Mar 1989
Publisher Sunsoft
Product ID SS13-6200
Size (cm) 14 x 9.5 x 2
Weight (kg) 0.12
PRICE
STATUS
Sunsoft's Famicom port falls well short of the Sega Mark III version, but is still a decent effort.
Note that although the packaging is named 'After Burner', the game itself is 'After Burner II'.

Standard FC cardboard packaging, 3Mbit cartridge, colour booklet.

After Burner
アフターバーナー

X68000
DETAILS
Format X68000
Released 26 Apr 1989
Publisher Micomsoft
Product ID DP-3205010
Size (cm) 16.2 x 15.5 x 2.5
Weight (kg) 0.17
PRICE
STATUS
Extraordinary port of After Burner II for the X68000 by Dempa.
Features a clever adaptation of the game's analog controls: it only works with the mouse or XE-1AP controller.
The package even includes its own mouse mat!

Soft-case plastic packaging, 2 x 5" floppy disks, manual, mouse mat.

After Burner
アフターバーナー

FM TOWNS
DETAILS
Format FM Towns
Released 1989
Publisher CRI
Product ID ?
Size (cm) ?
Weight (kg) ?
PRICE
STATUS

CRI's FM Towns version is now very hard to find - a shame since it's a very fast and effective port, with a nice remixed CD soundtrack.

Currently out of stock.


After Burner II
アフターバーナーII

MEGA DRIVE
DETAILS
Format Mega Drive
Released 20 Mar 1990
Publisher Micomsoft
Product ID T-17013
Size (cm) 17.8 x 12.8 x 2.5
Weight (kg) 0.18
PRICE
STATUS
Top-class MD port from the same makers of the X68000 edition.
A great version, that plays exceptionally well with the XE-1AP analog controller.

Standard MD case, 4Mbit cartridge, colour booklet.

After Burner
アフターバーナー
G.S.M. 1500 SERIES / SEGA S.S.T. BAND
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 21 June 1990
Publisher Pony Canyon
Product ID PCCB-00032
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Second soundtrack release for After Burner, this time for the Pony Canyon 'G.S.M. 1500 Series' label.
Features all seven 'Original' tracks from the arcade, and two bonus 'Arrange' tracks.
View [back] for track listing.

CD case, 9-track audio CD (total 29min), booklet, spine card.

After Burner II
アフターバーナー
II
PC ENGINE
DETAILS
Format PC Engine
Released 28 Sep 1990
Publisher NEC Avenue
Product ID NAPH-1011
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Following their superb port of Space Harrier for PC Engine, NEC Avenue are at it again with a blazing conversion of After Burner II, pushing the Engine to its absolute limits.
Great stuff!

Standard PCE case, 4Mbit HuCard, monochrome booklet.

After Burner Complete
アフターバーナー・コンプリート

SUPER 32X
DETAILS
Format Super 32X
Released 13 Jan 1995
Publisher Sega
Product ID GM-4006
Size (cm) 17.8 x 12.8 x 2.5
Weight (kg) 0.16
PRICE
STATUS
1995, and the 32X is the first platform to offer enough power for an near-perfect rendition of the arcade original.
Brilliant and spectacular in every way; one of the best releases for the 32X.

Cardboard 32X packaging, 16Mbit cartridge, colour booklet.

After Burner II
アフターバーナーII

SEGA SATURN
DETAILS
Format Sega Saturn
Released 27 Sep 1996
Publisher Sega
Product ID GS-9109
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Perfect Sega Ages conversion of the arcade milestone for Sega Saturn, adapted from the brilliant 32X port.
Very highly recommended with the Sega Saturn 'Arcade Flight Stick'.

CD case, Sega Saturn CD-ROM disc, colour booklet, spine card.

After Burner II
アフターバーナーII

SOUNDTRACK
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 17 Dec 1997
Publisher Marvelous
Product ID MJCAX-00007
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
1997 'Yu Suzuki Produce' soundtrack re-release that features the complete 6-track OST, two bonus 'With Melody' tracks, and a comprehensive 'Voice & S.E. Collection'.

CD case, 13-track audio CD, 4-page colour booklet, spine card.

Sega Game Music Vol.3 After Burner
セガ・ゲーム・ミュージック VOL.3 アフターバーナー

SOUNDTRACK [RE-ISSUE]
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 20 Dec 2000
Publisher Scitron
Product ID SCDC-00056
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Full re-release of the 1987 'Sega Game Music Vol.3' compilation.
Includes the BGM collections of:
- After Burner (1987) [1-6]
- Alien Syndrome (1987) [7-12]
- Super Hang-On (1987) [13-19]
- SDI (1987) [20-27]
- Dunk Shot (1986) [28-36]
The sound quality is vastly improved, and the track listing has been split from 5 to 36 - separating each individual track for each game.

CD case, 36-track audio CD (58:32), booklet, spine card.

Yu Suzuki Game Works Vol.1
鈴木裕 ゲームワークス VOL.1

DREAMCAST
DETAILS
Format Dreamcast
Released 20 Dec 2001
Publisher Sega
Product ID ASP001
Size (cm) 26 x 19 x 2
Weight (kg) ?
PRICE
STATUS
Superb luxury tribute book dedicated to Yu Suzuki's early AM2 releases.
Photos, articles, info, and a bonus Dreamcast disc that includes:
- Hang-On (1985)
- Space Harrier (1985)
- Out Run (1986)
- After Burner II (1987)
- Power Drift (1988)
Compiles both the Saturn Sega Ages collection and the bonus games of Shenmue (1999) & Shenmue II (2001).
A must-have for Sega aficionados!

128-page hardback book (full colour, Japanese), Dreamcast GD-ROM.

After Burner II
アフターバーナーII

SEGA AGES 2500 SERIES Vol.10
DETAILS
Format PlayStation 2
Released 18 Mar 2004
Publisher Sega
Product ID SLPM-62446
Size (cm) 19 x 13.5 x 1.4
Weight (kg) 0.18
PRICE
STATUS
Interesting 3D remix of After Burner II for the PS2, quite good in its own way. It certainly keeps the pace and feel of the original.
Vol.10 in the Sega Ages 2500 series.

PS2 case, PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, 'Sega Ages' note card, manual.

After Burner 20th Anniversary Box
アフターバーナー20th Anniversary Box

ORIGINAL SOUND TRACKS SPECIAL BOX SET
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 29 Nov 2007
Publisher Wave Master
Product ID WM-0581~6
Size (cm) ?
Weight (kg) ?
PRICE
STATUS
Comprehensive 6-CD box set featuring the complete After Burner soundtrack collection.
Includes every single version:
CD1 - After Burner Arcade
CD2 - After Burner Climax Arcade
CD3 - Mark III, Famicom, PC Engine
CD4 - Mega Drive, 32X, Dreamcast
CD5 - FMT, X68000, GBA, Mobile
CD6 - Extra Tracks

6 CDs in cases in cardboard sleeve.

 



'After Burner', 'Mark III', 'Mega Drive', 'Sega Saturn', 'Dreamcast' and 'Sega' are registered trademarks of Sega Corporation
'Famicom' and 'Nintendo' are registered trademarks of Nintendo Co., Ltd.
'X68000' and 'Sharp' are registered trademarks of Sharp Corporation
'PC Engine' and 'NEC' are registered trademarks of NEC Corporation
'PlayStation' and 'Sony' are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation
After Burner TM & © 1987 Sega All Rights Reserved
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