Once upon a time there was a really cool arcade game called After Burner. It was in fact quite popular, so a bunch of really smart people had the brilliant idea to port it to a plethora of systems. One of them was the Commodore 64, well known and loved for its ability to display super fast 3D graphics in high resolution. [note to self: Sarcasm is awesome!]
First of all, to avoid any confusion, I’m talking about Activision’s take on After Burner, not Mindscape’s (yes, there were in fact two different ports). Now, I do remember being quite addicted to the arcade version, and couldn’t wait to play it on my C64. So one can imagine how excited I was when it finally arrived by mail.
Now, I knew that the C64 had its limitations when it came to games in 3D, so I didn’t expect anything like the arcade game. And while the title screen and main theme were pretty cool, I remember being disappointed when I played the actual game.
As mentioned above, I didn’t expect the visuals to be anywhere near the arcade version, but those blocky graphics were not just a bit of a letdown, they were bland and partly, well, grotesque. Grotesque, because of the seemingly random surface colour. But I could’ve lived with that if the gameplay would have made up for it, but it somehow didn’t. In fact, After Burner on the C64 is a rather dull experience.
To be fair, the game is fast and the music you hear is pretty cool. But the gameplay is just so repetitive. There’s either enemies in front or behind you, while your plane is flying on a straight path. It does have some nice sequences you also found in the arcade game, though, like in-flight refueling or landing on an airstrip to restock your weapons.
One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like a lot of people absolutely loathe that game on the C64. Personally, I wouldn’t go that far and saying I hate it. It was just a disappointment back in the day… and still is.
What Bob says
C’mon, man. You’ve been too kind to dat game. It’s boring and looks crap. And whot are dem things on dat water surface? Bushes? Trees? Frozen Dinosaur turds?! Ha, dat last one’s funny. Bye.
Edit: Just played it again. And for the first time ever, made it to level 8, which contained an obstacle course. So it’s not just about shootin’ I presume.