“I feel the need… The need for speed!”
Remember the movie ‘Top Gun’? Of course you do. Tom Cruise, F14 Tomcats? Well allow me to elaborate on a classic video game crossover straight to the arcade experience.
1987 saw Sega release ‘Afterburner’. An air combat game coming to life in a hydraulic cabinet, giving the pilot the full experience of banking left or right and even up and down from the control of the flight stick, mounted with cannons and heet seeking rockets to rain down on enemy targets.
Speed is controlled separately with an adjacent lever, increasing or decreasing in velocity to escape fighters or to evade locked on missiles. This control method and cabinet was to be the benchmark in a new era of hydraulic cabs in the arcades, a positive indeed to the gaming enthusiast.
The action takes place from behind the plane allowing a full and detailed view of the theatre of combat. Flying low and high the action soon escalates into a frenzy of dogfighting in the skies above the many landscapes. Enemy planes come thick and fast into the arena and in many guises. Fighters, bombers, escort wings and a plethora of deadly combatants with your downfall from the heavens being their primary objective.
As lead and warheads fly by, you must clear the skies if refuel points are to be reached, a high score and progress to the next level is to be made.
Sega unleashed an absolute legend with ‘Afterburner’ and with many home ports onto varying Sega systems, the experience was expanded into homes across the globe, and indeed deserves a place in the golden moment of arcade video game history and as such… Dare we say… “Takes the breath away…”
Review by Rob Joy.