After Burner Climax Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, May 04, 2010 03:36

Xbox Live Arcade has been host to increasingly in-depth, elaborate titles recently, but there's plenty of room for actual arcade-style games that emphasize a fast style of play, encouraging you to return through either 'speed run' or 'score attack' mechanics. After Burner Climax definitely falls into this category, and 800 Points/$10 will net you a jet dogfighting game that has little to do with realism. Instead, it favors keeping you on your toes with extremely fast action and several short stages, just like most games in a real arcade do.

After Burner Climax embraces a 'pick up and play' ideal, and when you start a session you only have three choices to make: What jet you want (your choice of three), what paint scheme you want on it, and whether you want remixed or classic After Burner music. Once that's decided, a very brief and simple cutscene gives you all the plot you need to go chasing after enemy planes, anti-air guns, and other targets. The controls are simple, with the triggers controlling throttle, one button firing your machine guns, another firing your homing missiles, the left stick serving as your flight joystick, and another button controlling Climax Mode; essentially a mode that slows time down briefly to let you avoid enemy attacks and shoot down a few more of them with ease though each use of this mode requires time to recharge.

Each stage is short, lasting only a few minutes. With thirteen stages per play-through (and a hidden one that you might uncover), this means a single session lasts about fifteen minutes. That's very short, but it's not a crippling flaw for a few reasons. First, there are branching paths that offer a few extra levels so you'll have a reason to play through After Burner Climax more than once. Second, nearly everything about the game's design is built to encourage score attack play; there is even a mode explicitly set up for this. If you're the kind of player who delights in perfecting their skills in a very straightforward venue like this, you'll find much to like in After Burner Climax.

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Our Rating for After Burner Climax Review (XBLA)
7.5 Replay
Each session is short with stages lasting mere minutes and a complete run taking well under half an hour, but they are built to encourage score attack play. Whether this appeals to you or not is a matter of personal preference.
8.0 Graphics
While the game moves too fast for you to specifically admire the scenery, what you can see as you go is beautiful and varied
7.0 Sound
Fast-paced music and sound effects get you in the arcade mood, but they do become repetitive very quickly.
8.0 Gameplay
The linear 'on rails' shooter mechanics are more than made up for by how fast and intense each stage is; you'll be chasing dozens of enemies and dodging missiles almost the entire time.
3.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
There are only online leaderboards, though they do distinguish between global rankings and those held among just you and your friends. I hesitate to call this a real flaw though, After Burner has generally been a single-player series.
7.5 Overall
The high-speed jet action will mostly appeal to arcade fans and those who enjoy refining their skills in a score attack style of play, but if that describes you then you should enjoy this.

Rating: 4.0, votes: 1

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