OK, so.... Afterburner. On the Commodore 64. A conversion from an arcade game with hydraulics and, at the time, state of the art graphics? Oh, sure, it would be possible... kinda... sorta... but much like with Outrun, there's going to have to be compromises. Big, unforgivable compromises that anyone who liked the arcade game isn't going to want to see. Still, two production houses stepped up to the plate and gave it a shot. (No pun intended.)
The limitations of Activision's version makes itself painfully clear from the start. The game area is already boxed in, and the takeoff sequence immediately give you a good example of what to expect; choppy movement and ugly planes, but even that pales when you see just how blocky everything is. Your machine gun shots have big squares of whichever color the ground has at that stage, and in an attempt to get some speed out of this game, all enemy planes are also basically background graphics. That nets you a lot of enemies onscreen simultaneously, as long as you don't mind them moving as if you were shooting them down in the valley of the strobe light. And it just ventures into the realm of the unforgivable when you realize that enemy missiles are going to be following the same set of rules, rules that will be an even bigger pain in this limited playing area.
In an attempt to make up for this, Activision has left no stones unturned in an attempt to mirror everything else in the arcade game; which means you'll see not only the takeoff sequence, but also the refueling sequence and the sequences where you land on an airstrip and races various vehicles upon takeoff. It's a nice gesture, but one that hurts to watch when everything moves like it was a part of a Game & Watch game.
Which brings us back to the beginning. Yes, the odds of getting anything worthwhile out of this were minimal to begin with, but you can easily tell that this was a rush job to get it out into the store, its heart set to the "just package it and sell it -- they'll buy it anyway" principle. One might argue that "at least Activision included everything the arcade game had", and that would be true. But I'd rather they took the little time they spent on that and used it to polish the gameplay aspects of this game instead.
Downloads: Music, Speech, Advert
|GRAPHICS - 3/10|
|This game looks like ass, and mostly due to how everything moves. The fact that cutscenes are included makes the pragmatic part of myself mention that while this doesn't really add much to the game, at least it'd make for some compelling screenshots. And that's an incredibly cynic way to present your game, Activision.|
|SOUND - 3/10|
|Was there any music in this? I honestly don't remember. There is, at least, no INGAME music, so all you're left with is the constant chatter of your machine guns and the occasional whooshing sound of missiles. Not much to write home about.|
|PLAYABILITY - 2/10|
|The game doesn't just LOOK like ass when it starts moving, but it also plays like ass. Granted, there was no way this game would be able to get through the conversion process unscathed, but to end up putting down money for something as pedestrian and repetitive as this? No. Just... no.|
|OVERALL - 2/10|
|Can you imagine being a kid and getting this for Christmas? Can you imagine the excitement while you load up the game, anticipation building up to a nearly unbearable crescendo? Can you imagine feeling free from having to go down to the arcade and spending all your pocket money on a (presumably) ludicrously expensive arcade game? Imagine then, if you will, the crushing disappointment you felt once you sat down and started playing. Because this -- halfassed arcade conversions -- are what bitter disappointments are made of.|