After Burner (アフターバーナー, Afutā Bānā) is a 1987 combat flight simulator arcade game designed by Yu Suzuki for Sega AM2.[1] The player flies an F-14 (with moving seat, in some installations) using a specialized joystick. The game spawned several sequels.

After Burner
AfterBurner JParcadeflyer.png
Japanese arcade flyer
Developer(s)Sega AM2
Designer(s)Yu Suzuki
Composer(s)Hiroshi Kawaguchi
Jeroen Tel (C64 US)
Adam Gilmore (C64 EU)
Platform(s)Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX, Famicom, PC Engine, 32X, Master System, ZX Spectrum, X68000, FM Towns
  • JP: July, 1987
Master System
  • JP: December 12, 1987
  • NA: 1988
ZX Spectrum
  • UK: December 1988
  • JP: March 30, 1989
Sharp X68000
  • JP: April 26, 1989
FM Towns
Sega 32X
  • JP: January 13, 1995
  • NA: 1995
  • EU: 1995
Genre(s)Combat flight simulator
CabinetUpright, cockpit
Arcade systemSega X Board


The game allows the player to control a F-14 Tomcat jet airplane. The player's mission is to destroy enemy jets over 18 stages. At the start of the game, the player takes off from an aircraft carrier called the SEGA Enterprise, which shares a similar name to the one used in the 1986 film Top Gun (also a reference to the company's name at the time, SEGA Enterprises, LTD.).

In the arcade version, the jet employs a machine gun and a limited number of heat-seeking missiles (in the Master System version the player has unlimited missiles). These weapons are replenished by another aircraft, after beating a few stages. The aircraft, cannon and missile buttons are all controlled from an integrated flight stick.

The game itself was released in two variations in the US: a standard upright cabinet and a rotating cockpit version. In the cockpit version, the seat tilted forward and backwards, and the cockpit rotated from side to side.[2] It featured two speakers at head-level for stereo sound,[1] and had a seatbelt to hold the player when the cockpit moved. Both cabinets contained a grey monitor frame with flashing lights at the top that indicated an enemy's "lock" on the player's craft. Japan also received a commander cabinet that moved left and right.


The game was ported to the Amiga, DOS based PCs, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Sharp X68000, FM Towns, Commodore 64, Master System, PC Engine, Sega Saturn, PC, MSX, ZX Spectrum. The C64 has two versions: a European version by U.S. Gold, and a U.S. version by Activision and Weebee Games. A port of After Burner to the 32X was done by Rutubo Games, and was known as After Burner Complete in Japan and Europe.[3] An unlicensed NES port of the game developed by Tengen also exists, which was reworked by Sunsoft for their Japanese-exclusive port to the same console. A port of After Burner to the Game Boy Advance was included in an arcade 4 pack named Sega Arcade Gallery.


Computer Gaming World reviewed After Burner on the Master System, citing aircraft depicted in "remarkable detail", "spectacular" scenery, and excellent explosions.[4] A later review for the PC was much more critical, giving the game one star out of five and stating that it was inferior to the arcade version.[5]

On the ZX Spectrum the 1988 conversion of After Burner by Activision was well-received, with Sinclair User describing it as "Top-class coin-op conversion destined for the top of the charts" and giving it 90%,[6] whilst Crash magazine gave it 86% overall.[7]

Reviewing the 32X version, GamePro commented that the graphics, sound, and gameplay are all great, but that the only difference between it and the Genesis version of After Burner II are some minor graphical and audio enhancements, making it only worthwhile to gamers who have never played an After Burner game before.[8]


Sequels and related gamesEdit

After Burner was followed by After Burner II, which was released in the same year. Some consider[9] this game to be more of a revision of its predecessor, rather than an entirely new game, a practice later repeated by Sega for Galaxy Force and Galaxy Force 2.

Although the After Burner brand was long dormant, Sega created a number of aerial combat games centered on the F-14 Tomcat with many similar features, which are frequently regarded as part of the series.[10][11] These include G-LOC: Air Battle and its sequel Strike Fighter (later rebranded After Burner III in its home release). Later games associated with the series include Sky Target (which retained similar gameplay and presentation to the original, but with the addition of 3D graphics) and Sega Strike Fighter (an arcade flight combat game which featured free-roaming movement, boasting similar music but with an F/A-18 Hornet as the main plane).[12]

In 2006, Sega released a new sequel on Sega Lindbergh hardware, After Burner Climax, the first arcade game to bear the brand since After Burner II.

After Burner Climax was later ported to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. It was followed by the spinoff After Burner: Black Falcon for the PSP in 2007. After Burner Climax was de-listed in December 2014, leaving the game no longer available for purchase. In March 2019, After Burner Climax was brought back to digital platforms for free, with ads, under the Sega Forever brand.

In other gamesEdit

An emulated version of After Burner is playable at the in-game arcade in Shenmue 2.[13]

"After Burner" is a stage hazard in the final stage of MadWorld, shown as a replica jet spewing flames that immediately incinerate any enemy thrown into them.

The plane from After Burner makes a cameo in Fighters Megamix, accessed with a cheat code.[14]

The music from After Burner appears in a remix in Chapter 8, entitled "Route 666", of Bayonetta (2009, developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sega).[15] This remix is reused in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Bayonetta stage, Umbra Clock Tower.

A level based on After Burner appears in the 2012 racing game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The F-14 Tomcat also appears as the air vehicle for the unlockable character, AGES.[16]

The song of After Burner II appears in the 2010 rhythm game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade as a playable level sung by the character MEIKO.

In other mediaEdit

The arcade game appears in the 1990 HBO film By Dawn's Early Light; in the flight ready room of the B-52 bomber pilots, the lead character can be seen playing the game (his Tomcat is crashing).

The arcade version appears in the 1991 movie, Suburban Commando, starring Hulk Hogan (as Shep Ramsey), who plays the game in an arcade scene; however, he and a child who were playing it, acted as if it was a space shooter game instead.

The deluxe cabinet appears in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, being played by John Connor as the T-1000 searches for him at the Galleria.


  1. ^ a b "After Burner". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 4 Oct 2013.
  2. ^ "KLOV entry for After Burner". Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  3. ^ "VGRebirth entry for After Burner Complete". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  4. ^ Katz, Arnie; Kunkel, Bill; Worley, Joyce (August 1988). "Video Gaming World". Computer Gaming World. p. 44.
  5. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (June 1992). "The Modern Games: 1950 - 2000". Computer Gaming World. p. 120. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  6. ^ "After Burner review". Sinclair User, p.12-13. December 1988. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  7. ^ "After Burner review". Crash (59): 9. December 1988. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  8. ^ "ProReview: Afterburner". GamePro. No. 78. IDG. March 1995. p. 60.
  9. ^ "System 16 tech information". Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Arcade Flyer for Sega Strike Fighter". Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  13. ^ "Shenmue II Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  14. ^ Leadbetter, Rich (March 1997). "The MegaMix Continues!". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 17. Emap International Limited. p. 55.
  15. ^ Reparaz, Mikel (January 14, 2010). "30 'hidden' references in Bayonetta". GamesRadar UK. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
  16. ^

External linksEdit