Shin Force | Sega Saturn Review

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Shin Force ~ Saturn ~
After Burner II / Sega Ages
Sega Force Vault
Sega (JPN)
Spaz (USA)
AM2 / Rutubo Games
1x CD
Import / Domestic
1996 (Japan)
1997 (USA)
3rd person
Flighter / Shooter
3D Pad
Backup 16 (JPN)
Backup 46 (USA)
Mission Stick
     > Sega Ages is a series of Sega retro arcade titles, which have been released for the Saturn in Japan.  According to many sources, most of these will not see the light of day in the US, unless you buy the import versions.  After Burner II has indeed been published in America by none other than the turncoats at Spaz, a division of Working (echo...) Designs.  The US release, simply titled Sega Ages, contains three games from the series: After Burner II, Out Run and Space Harrier.

     > After Burner II was originally released in arcades back in 1987.  It puts you in the cockpit of the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat.  You fly through wave after wave of oncoming bogeys and an occasional ground attack mission.  Gun ammo is unlimited while your AIM-54 Phoenix missiles are not.

     > If you want the Japanese release then feel free to get it, as it's 100% importable.  Note the US release has three games in one, while those same titles are sold separately in Japan.  Either way it's a collector's dream to have these AM2 classics fully in tact.

     > The graphics are identical to the arcade in every way.  All the high speed scaling, various levels, smoke trails and demos are exact.  When I say 2.5D, I'm referring to the use of 2D sprites scaling into the third person view of the action, which creates a pseudo 3D effect.  When all is said and done, it's a dated looking game -- one that was way ahead of its time to begin with.  Another AM2 masterpiece.
     > Control with the Mission Stick is as close to the arcade as we're likely to get.  Using the other available pads is not bad either.  I like to use configuration "A", which puts the speed control on the X, Y and Z buttons while the guns and missiles are fired with the A and B triggers respectively.  It's a straight forward arcade shooter with non stop flight action.  Aside from blasting oncoming aircraft, you'll need to dodge enemy jets and rockets at your six.  Thanks to your after burner and roll capabilities, successful evasion tactics can be employed.  As expected from AM2, the gameplay is tight and addictive.
     > The music and sound effects are arcade exact.  Exclusive to the Japanese release, Sega even threw in new versions of the arcade music (available in the Options Menu) with melodic overtones.  The sound and music may be dated, but it's definitely suited to the action and enjoyable nonetheless.
     > The game is as fun now as it was in 1987.  After Burner II is the benchmark of 2.5D flight / shooters, as nothing else to date has compared.  Try your luck at the Arcade mode or 1,000 Hit mode.  It's easy to pick up and hard to put down.  Shooter fans rejoice!
Bottom Line
     > If you like the arcade version or are into retro games, look no further.  Obviously at this point, if you buy Sega Ages (USA), then you can have After Burner II, Out Run and Space Harrier all on one disk!
Overall: 8.9 | Graphics: 8.0 | Control: 9.5 | Sound: 8.5 | Fun: 9.5
~ Shinobi ~

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