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Old 01-13-2011, 04:01 AM   #40
GrantXP
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Afterburner Climax - Xbox Live Arcade
Also available on Playstation Network

15 years ago Arcades were very different to today. Arcades were glimpses of the future. Sure the Saturn and Playstation were great home systems but nothing could match the quality of the arcades. Ridge Racer looked good on the Playstation and SEGA Rally is one of the all time classic console racing games but neither compared to their arcade counterparts. Fast forward 15 years and very few arcade games even come close to the might of the PS3 or 360. Which is the reason Afterburner may be the perfect XBLA/PSN game…

The arcades still contain a few games that we would love to see on consoles. Afterburner is one of those gems. But let's face it, games like Afterburner, HOTD and to an extent Virtua Fighter have no place on today's consoles compared to epic games like Mass Effect or Red Dead Redemption. You simply couldn't justify 40/$60 for this game. Yet put the game on Xbox Live at a budget price and all of that can be forgiven. Ok there is no moving pod to be thrown around in. But aside from the off screen cosmetics this is an arcade perfect conversion and I would happily throw 4 or 5 pounds through the arcade machine so to pay the same amount for the home version is a bargain.

The game lasts approximately 15 minutes but at least it’s a blast to play. As with all great arcade games it's easy to pick up and difficult to master but there isn't a lot of depth here. Shoot everything on screen, dodge a few mountains and move at breakneck speeds. The game is arguably one of the best looking on XBLA and visually could easily compete in today's retail marketplace. There are a few alternative routes that can be taken and for the console version SEGA have included a Score Attack mode and EX Option. These are options that unlock for achieving certain criteria in the game. This can be as basic as finishing the game to finishing the game with 2,000,000 points. The EX options can be highly entertaining and gives the game some replay value. Aside from grabbing the highest score possible there is little that will keep you coming back to Climax. Trying a few of the EX Options and obtaining the insanely easy 200 achievement points did make me play the game through 5 or 6 times but that was it. The game will now become a great demo for friends to have a quick blast on when they visit.

But let's look at it from another angle. I played the game through 5 times, each time using 4 continues. In the arcade that would have cost me 20! So for 800 MS points (400 during promo days) this game represents great value for money and just may be a way for arcade games that are not called Virtua Fighter or Time Crisis to exist on home consoles. Prior to this we had the watered down PSP version. I think it's great that arcade perfect translations of games of this calibre have found a new home. However, in saying that I feel more could have been done here... It's a nice touch that you can select the original Afterburner II music but the entire game as an unlockable extra would have been an awesome addition and not taken a lot of effort to do. Another aircraft with different properties to the 3 default crafts could have also added an interesting twist. Alas, an additional ending if you are Gods gift to Afterburner is all that exists aside the additional options.

So that's what Afterburner is. More welcome relief than epic headliner. You won't sit down for a lengthy Afterburner session. Instead this will be a game you will load up for a quick burn when time is limited or you need light relief from an epic Halo session. Gaming has changed, but its good news there is still room on next gem consoles for classic gameplay like Afterburner: Climax.

Pros - Smooth visuals. EX Options are fun to experiment with.
Cons - Far too short. Limited long term replay value. Adding the original as unlockable would have done a lot for the nostalgia factor.

Overall - 72%
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