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After Burner III (Sega CD) artwork

After Burner III (Sega CD) review


"Mark my words: no game has been as thoroughly sodomized as Sega's AfterBurner. Think the Game Boy Advance is littered with horrid ports? How about the GBC with its laughable versions of otherwise successful games? You see, you know what you're getting with Nintendo's portables. Their drastically inferior hardware and minute visibility, for instance, will quell any real expectation you may feel grow for a port arriving for the systems. But Sega took it to the next level with AfterBurner. "



Mark my words: no game has been as thoroughly sodomized as Sega's AfterBurner. Think the Game Boy Advance is littered with horrid ports? How about the GBC with its laughable versions of otherwise successful games? You see, you know what you're getting with Nintendo's portables. Their drastically inferior hardware and minute visibility, for instance, will quell any real expectation you may feel grow for a port arriving for the systems. But Sega took it to the next level with AfterBurner.

After a crippled but digestible port to the Master System, its ''sequel'' appeared on the Genesis, inferior in every way to the 8-bit conversion. The third game, though, this AfterBurner III, is such a baffling disgrace and spectacular failure that it is absolutely inexcusable. To fail once and decay your previous triumph is one thing; to commit the same crime twice, and even worse so the second time, is practically suicidal in a capitalist environment. Even Acclaim didn't release a third Spider-man & Venom game after they screwed the pooch with Separation Anxiety.

There is no double-talking or meandering about it: the graphics in this turd completely castrate this game. Absolutely no advantage is taken of the Sega CD's ability to scale sprites; thus, the AfterBurner III still works on a system of displaying differently sized sprites in such an order so as to feign scaling. Here, though, this is done so epileptically that it comes off like a homebrew parody. There is little cohesion at all present to provide the sensation of forward motion; the game looks like a collection of sprites popping around in obtuse fashion.

These popping sprites are littered about a two-toned background simulating the ground. So poor is this ''effect'' at representing acceleration that it can just as easily display reverse motion if you choose to see it that way. The objects and enemies do not appear to have any interaction with this ''ground'' other than to be plastered upon it in haphazard manners.

So poor are these graphics that they severely hamper your ability to perform the game's singular, simplistic task: shooting. To the player's eyes, objects in the ''distance'' are indecipherable blobs, just as easily harmless trees as they are harmful enemy fighters. Obtaining a missile lock is difficult until they're close enough to overpower you with their own missile barrages, and destroying anything with your machine gun is a truly fruitless effort after the third level.

After a few levels of horrendously rendered landscapes, the enemies will begin closing in on you in overpowering bunches, launching large groups of overpowering missiles. Soon, and I mean this literally, random dodging will be much more effective than any attempt at strategy. Any attempt at crafty dodging will have eroded around the same time as the first appearance of this game's atrocious ''snow.''

And by ''snow,'' the white and grey bottom-half of the screen is referred to. Stick three leafless shrubs on the screen, pasted flatly upon this Liquid Paper nightmare, and you have the most verbose description possible for this bulls***. Your plane is a 2D sprite simulating the appearance of a polygonal jet, circa 1993. This means you have all the beauty of textureless, low-poly droolishness without any of the smooth animation it would normally entail.

As an even larger insult to the concept of the compact disc, the music here is worse than any first generation Genesis game. Annoying and facile to no end, the trash passing as music could have seriously closed the coffin on the Sega CD had anyone actually played this dung at its time of release.

I know that, realistically, there is no reason to call this game a real sequel. How Sega (or hey, maybe some faceless, vagrant third party) could manage to make the third game markedly worse than the already-shockingly-worse second game is seriously puzzling. How they ever had the balls to release it without a huge apology written right on the box, though, is a different story. I mean, damn, at this rate, their fifth game would have been T.R.A.G. and their seventh would have been an SNES port of Earth Defense. AfterBurner III is a seriously intolerable effort, an emaciated shadow of a once thrilling experience. To see what this game should have been on the Sega CD, look into The Adventures of Batman & Robin on said system. Or hell, play the first game on its 32X cartridge. But by no means should this GBC-ready flop ever invade your console the way it invaded mine.

Rating: 2/10

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Community review by sinner (March 14, 2004)

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