Wednesday Apr 21, 2010
Get ready! The wait is over, and one of the most indelible arcade experiences of the past decade is now available for download, in glorious HD: After Burner Climax has taken off, releasing today for Xbox Live Arcade and tomorrow, April 22nd, for PlayStation 3 over PlayStation Network.
Additionally, we can now announce that there’s some great extras also available with the game — including premium themes for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Additionally, the Xbox 360 version will have two exclusive gamer icons, and two avatar awards — a slick looking t-shirt with the distinctive After Burner logo, and a solid gold helmet. That last part is italicized for awesomeness — here, check out a picture, along with the other avatar award item:
I’ve already rhapsodized quite a bit about this title, but just to rehash: After Burner Climax was released in 2006 on the high-powered “Lindbergh” arcade hardware. With 20 stages and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants branching missions, this is what an arcade game is meant to be like — I keep saying, as good as the screenshots look, the game looks even better at full throttle. For me, the After Burner series has always balanced the extreme difficulty of quarter-hungry arcade-bred beasts, and the intuitive straight-ahead fun of really good air combat games.
After Burner Climax also features three flyable fighter planes, all officially licensed: Pick from the Northrop Grummand F-14D Super Tomcat, or the Boeing-manufactured F-15E Strike Eagle or F/A-18E Super Hornet. The different fighters do have different balances in-game, and that combined with the branching mission adds a hearty amount of replayability to the title.
After Burner has a feel all its own, and while the best of today’s home computers may be capable of better graphics, there is a fluid grace to how excruciatingly gorgeous this game looks in HD. It’s one of the best looking games I’ve ever played and the thrill of accelerating through a narrow canyon is something that I indelibly think of when I think of “arcade action” games. Home gaming has of course become far more popular over the years, and we’re seeing fewer and fewer real life arcades — After Burner Climax really is a slice of that old arcade experience though, and it fits perfectly on the consoles.
After Burner Climax is available for Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS Points, or via the PlayStation store for $9.99. Additionally, check out these awesome premium themes available for both consoles. The Xbox 360 theme is available now and the PSN theme should be available in early May:
Lastly — my lead-in line for this blog, “Get Ready” was actually a reference to the first After Burner game I played, and the first of the series to appear on a console — After Burner, on the SEGA Master System. One of my favorite games from the era, it’s worth linking to a video of the first stage (complete with the digitized instruction to “get ready!”). Enjoy this nostalgic reminder of After Burner’s origins.
I’m very excited to see this game show up on consoles. Take the the skies and enjoy this unique and awesome arcade experience!
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