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Archive for February 4th, 2010


After Burner: Black Falcon, Now on PSP Go

Already available on the PlayStation Portable, After Burner: Black Falcon is now available as a download for the PSP Go!

Occasionally while writing these blogs I’m fortunate enough not just to review a classic game that I’ve always liked, but to actually discover something new to me. Since I didn’t play a lot of PlayStation Portable games until recently, I got to experience a lot of these games, in particular, for the first time. I am happy to report that After Burner: Black Falcon is now among these games.

After Burner: Black Falcon

After Burner: Black Falcon takes the basic formula of the arcade versions and adds a lot of features appropriate for playing at home (or, in this case, on the go — but you get the picture). There is a ton of customization in the game and I was actually quite surprised at how deep it is. Aside from the abilities to pick your own paint job and such, there’s 19 different aircraft available to fly, all with differently balanced stats and capabilities. Those aircraft, all officially licensed models, have a huge variety of weapons to pick from. Setting up the right aircraft (balancing raw speed, maneuverability, and payload capacity) is key to doing well in missions, and what’s more, it really feels tailored to developing a play style you like — for example, if you want to go crazy with fast guns, or be more precise with a carefully selected arsenal of air-to-surface or air-to-ground missiles, and you can always modify this payload based on the mission and your objectives.

After Burner: Black Falcon

After Burner: Black Falcon

As I mentioned in my post about the upcoming After Burner Climax, the original Master System version of After Burner was a core part of my formative video game years. It is, frankly, awesome to see some concentrated After Burner love. What’s also exceptionally nice is that Black Falcon retains the truly challenging difficulty of the arcade games, but gives you a lot of different options along the way. This is, actually, a really well-balanced game — you purchase upgraded weapons and buy new planes with cash you earn during missions, and different missions have main objectives and secondary objectives that earn you more cash to spend on upgrades; the secondary objectives are based on both skill (destroying additional targets) and speed (making it through a level in a certain amount of time), meaning you really can customize the way you play the game.

After Burner: Black Falcon

The game even has a story to it, which is sort of epic and awesome in its own right. You pick from three different pilots, including the suspiciously named Billy “Sonic” Blaze (how many SEGA references are in that name? Anyone care to guess?). The plot concerns stolen prototype planes, and while no one anywhere is playing an After Burner game for its plot twists, it is actually quite cool the way the story drives the missions forward, giving context to the amazing scenery and quite spectacular-looking levels. The plot lends a kind of tongue-in-cheek kookiness to the proceedings, too — this includes the fact that the ex-girlfriend of Billy Blaze (her name, unfortunately, is not “Amy Ecco”, which by the way, would be a fabulous name for a pilot) has defected to the bad guys. “I’m sorry,” your commanding officer tells you early in the game, “but you have to face the fact that your ex-girlfriend is now working for the enemy.” Doesn’t everyone hate it when their ex steals military technology for a foreign government? Additional plot detail: In one mission you have to rescue kidnapped scientists in mid-air as they eject from enemy planes. The “scientists” whoop with glee as you scoop them up at Mach 2. Aside from being painstakingly realistic (don’t believe me? Try it yourself, in real life!), this is very, very awesome.

Also — check out this exclusive gameplay video!

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I have always admired PlayStation Portable graphics, but even considering that, After Burner: Black Falcon feels really impressive. One of the hallmarks of the series (aside from, you know, flying planes really fast and blowing up other planes) has been the impressively designed levels, and that is definitely true of this one. The levels, aside from looking terrific, are incorporated into the game, and there is a no-denying-it visceral thrill to punching the afterburner to accelerate through a thin mountain pass while pursuing a fleeing enemy fighter at the end of a level.

After Burner: Black Falcon

Lest I forget! The game even has multiplayer capability, with a variety of eight-player competitive (!) and two player co-op (!!) modes. I’ve really loved going through the game in single-player and I’m looking forward to trying it over Wi-Fi.

Give After Burner: Black Falcon a spin if you get the chance — and stay tuned for some awesome wallpaper giveaways and video trailer for this game!


New Trailer for Iron Man 2, Featuring War Machine!

Check out the newest trailer for the upcoming Iron Man 2 … this trailer features the incomparable “second man, second suit”, War Machine!

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SEGA Announces Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I!

Hello again everyone, and good morning to those of you still awake!

As promised, the time is finally here. On February 4th, 2010, after two huge Community challenges and a massive amount of support from our fans, SEGA is proud to unveil the real name behind Project Needlemouse –  so we’ll get right to it. As of this moment, it is official – the game’s name will be: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1.

NEW Launch Trailer!

Remember that extra special bonus we promised? Here it is – and not only do you get to see a nifty trailer, but you get to see a sneak peak at the very first zone in all its glory. You can check out the launch trailer here on Gamespot, or below!

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NEW Official Website!

In addition to the name announcement and the teaser trailer, you can also visit the brand new official website for the game here! The website has a number of countdown clocks on it that will let you guys know when to expect new content and updates to be posted.

With that, the celebrations for Hedgehog Week hit their peak! Special thanks again to all of the fans out there for helping us make the  build-up and the announcement a huge success, and for joining us in what will most definitely be a huge milestone in Sonic’s history.

Until next time, keep an eye on the official website and here on the blogs for even more info on Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I !