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Review: 3D After Burner II (3DS)

Review Overview




With a great classic SEGA soundtrack, awesome gameplay and a couple extra settings to mess with, 3D After Burner II is one of the most complete ports I've seen.

User Rating: 4.78 ( 2 votes)

Now, before this review starts, I’d like to have a moment of silence for After Burner Climaxwhich was recently de-listed from the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live ArcadeClimax, you may be gone for the people who never bought you, but you will always be remembered in the hearts of SEGA Nerds.

*Pours out some malt liquor from his 40 for his homie*

With that out of the way, on to 3D After Burner II.  To start, a short history of me and the After Burner series.  It all started with me getting After Burner II way back in the day for my SEGA Nomad, then playing it again on Shenmue 2and I’ve been a fan of the series ever since. Today, I pretty much have all the After Burner games, so you could say I’m a fanatic when it comes to this series.

The nuts and bolts


Now, I freaked out when I heard that After Burner II was coming to the 3DS, in the second wave of the SEGA 3D Classics series. To think that one of my all time favorite arcade games was going to be on a handheld, being an arcade-perfect port, was an amazing idea altogether. As of Jan. 15, 3D After Burner II is available on the Nintendo eShop for the small price of $5.99.

At its core, 3D After Burner II is a port of the great arcade game we all know and love. The object of the game is simple, hop into an F-14 Tomcat, Top Gun style, and fly through 23 stages, whilst shooting down every enemy plane and helicopter you see on the way before landing on an aircraft carrier to end your mission. Simple, yet difficult to master.

The story is basically nonexistent, at least in the normal Arcade mode. Each stage is about 20 to 3o seconds long, as other stages get a little longer than that. Not long enough to bore you though, with just the right amount of progression to get hyped with every change of scenery and music.

The M2 Effect

img_ss13In the gameplay department, 3D After Burner II is just simple, good-ol’ arcade fun, with some extras added by M2. With this port are two different game modes: Arcade and Special, with Special Mode being unlocked after your first run-through of the game.

Special Mode is the same core game, but with some differences, like a Burst option, which slows down time so you can target multiple enemies and fire missiles at them in rapid succession. Also in Special Mode, the task of shooting certain targets in bonus stages has been replaced with a rival plane that battles you. According to the story told through the game, this is your rival pilot named Tom. (Tom Cruise, maybe?) Either way, Special mode adds a new, fun spin to the great fun of After Burner II.

The only gripe I have with the game play is the same problem I had with 3D Space Harrier, is that the Circle Pad moves way too quick to have a decent amount of precision. It may be the fact that I’m using an original 3DS to play this, but it doesn’t hinder the game too much. If there was a way to lower the sensitivity of the Circle Pad, I’m pretty sure it would play even better than it does now. Otherwise, the controls are great, with the ability to change certain inputs.

All the bells and whistles

after-burner-1Presentation-wise, M2 definitely got this one right. This game looks great on the 3DS, and with all the different visual options at hand, it replicates the arcade experience very well. There are four different cabinet types to choose to see the game through, (two moving, and two upright) and  four different screen sizes, with an extra fifth, which I still have yet to figure out what the difference is.

There is also an option to make all the smoke effects from missiles and such transparent, which makes the game look better. All-in-all, the game looks great. The framerate is done well, too, with the only slowdown I experienced was during certain landing sequences and bonus stages; otherwise, it runs just as blazing fast as the arcade version.  

Turning on 3D mode really makes After Burner II shine, and it looks better than I’ve ever seen it before. The sprites look very clear, even with 3D turned on.

Ahhh, the sweet sound of Hellfire missiles!

img_ss12Being the SEGA Nerd that I am, I can’t talk After Burner without mentioning its amazing sound and music. Composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, After Burner II’s soundtrack just screams SEGA goodness. With great synth rock tracks like “Final Take-Off” and “After Burner,” the music sets the mood very well.

To this day, “After Burner” is still one of my favorite SEGA tracks ever. This kind of soundtrack is the type that gets you hyped and ready to just break the sound barrier, leaving your enemies in a fiery blaze. The sound effects are done great as well, with clear, crisp explosions and all. Even on a handheld, the audio is just as clear as the arcade and other ports.

What’s more, there’s an equalizer option if you feel the need to tweak the audio settings even more. Both versions of the soundtrack are present as well, with the special versions of music with a main melody.


3D After Burner II is one of the best ports of the game I’ve played yet. The fact that it’s on a handheld and portable, makes the experience that much better. With a great classic SEGA soundtrack, awesome gameplay and a couple extra settings to mess with, 3D After Burner II  is one of the most complete ports I’ve seen.

Out of all the SEGA 3D Classics, After Burner II is the one I’ve had the most fun with, next to 3D Super Hang-On. For $6, it’s definitely worth the price, even if you’re not a diehard SEGA Nerd.


  • A great port of After Burner II, inside and out
  • Sound quality is great for a handheld port
  • Special mode is a great addition to ABII
  • A lot of different visual extras


  • The 3DS Circle Pad moves a little too quickly, making locking on to some enemies difficult
  • An unlimited credits option would have been handy


Jayson Lamp

Resident SEGA racer expert of sorts,been playing them since OutRunners. Writer of the Forgotten Racers series,among other things. Favorite SEGA series is Hang-On,and my favorite console is the Saturn. "Welcome to our exciting circuit. Do your best,and good luck!!"-Power Drift,1988

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