RELEASE DATEApril 22, 2010 [2006 in Arcades]
PLATFORMSXbox 360, Playstation 3, iPhone, Android, Mobile

First things first – this game is due to be delisted from PSN/XBL at the end of this month, so I decided to finally go ahead and buy it so that I could play it, and review it. I didn’t intend to do two reviews about plane based games back to back…that just kind of happened.


It’s After Burner. There’s very little actual story here – it’s an arcade title that’s meant to be played repeatedly. The story that is here, serves its purpose well enough.

You there, in the jet. Bad guys. Go blow ’em up.

That’s it really. You’re the leader of a squadron of fighter jets, and your job is to blow up every last plane you see that isn’t marked “friendly” – which is 99% of them – at super high speeds. Don’t come into this title expecting Ace Combat – you’ll be sorely disappointed.


It's a fine looking title.
It’s a fine looking title.

For a game released almost 8 years ago in arcades, After Burner Climax looks pretty good. The PSN port does a great job bringing the high speed visuals to the homefront.

Is it the best looking game ever? Not by a long shot – but the visuals are buttery smooth, and effects are rather spectacular. The soundtrack is great as well – allowing you to switch between the classic After Burner II soundtrack, or the remixes present in the original arcade version of Climax – and you can’t really lose with either choice.

The frame rate never dropped. Not once, no matter how hectic things got on screen.

I do feel the game could have used a little more anti-aliasing, but it’s not a big deal considering just how much stuff is usually going on.


It’s a blast to play.

Good, old-fashioned arcade gameplay through and through. There’s not a ton of depth here – choose 1 of 3 somewhat similarly performing planes, lock on to enemies, blow them up with your missiles and guns, dodge their fire and make it to the end. It plays a lot like OutRun, but with planes and massive explosions.

While there may not be a ton of depth, the game does require some skill to score high, especially in Score Attack. Making it through a stage without being shot down earns you a star. Complete a stage with 4 or more stars, and you move on to a “Secret Mission”. The secret missions aren’t much different from the normal – they just give you more levels and more of a chance to boost your high score.

There's your possible route.
There’s your possible route.

There are also special “Emergency Operations” that, if you want to get the best possible score, you need to do your best to complete. There are 4 of these missions, ranging from taking down a prototype jet, or protecting friendly allies – to shooting down a stealth bomber with only your guns, or shooting down nuclear missiles on a short time limit.

So, why should you complete these operations? Aside from giving you a higher score, completing them all within your run grants you access to the final 2 stages of the game – as well as the best “ending”.

Arcade mode is probably where you’ll spend most of your playtime. Here, you’ll have a set amount of lives and continues to get through the entirety of the game. Don’t worry – it doesn’t really take long, though it’ll probably take a few tries.

What makes Arcade unique, however, are the EX Options. EX Options can be unlocked by performing various feats – such as shooting down a number of enemies, scoring a set combo score, or firing a set number of missiles. Each of the EX Options can make the game easier – or harder. Options such as having infinite lives, infinite Climax mode, take no damage or infinite continues. On the other side of the coin – you can make the game much more challenging. Give yourself 1% health. Limit your total missile count. Turn off the reticule. You can make the game as hard, or as easy, as you want.

I do wish there were a few more planes to choose from - or that the three here were a bit more different from each other.
I do wish there were a few more planes to choose from – or that the three here were a bit more different from each other.

Just keep in mind that these options only effect Arcade and Training mode. Score Attack has you playing by default rules – though you do have infinite lives.

Speaking of Score Attack – if you want to test your skill and see how you stack up against the rest of the world, this is where you’ll do so. It’s a single run through the game with infinite lives – so you can get shot down as much as you want, though your score will obviously suffer for it.

Every once in a while, you’ll come upon a branching path – again, a lot like OutRun – choose either left, or right, and you’ll move on to the next stage’s Route A or B. You’ll encounter different enemies and terrain depending on the route you take. Other than that – no real reason to fuss over it.

Replay Value

Ah Replay Value. The dreaded, dreaded Replay Value. Is this game worth the cost of admission? Is there really enough here to warrant putting money down on it?

Well, it all depends on you. Do you like old-school Arcade titles? Games that were no more than quarter suckers? Do you enjoy games where your main goal is to score as high as possible by the end of the run? If so, After Burner Climax will be right up your alley.

The game is a ton of fun, but don't expect too much in the way of content.
The game is a ton of fun, but don’t expect too much in the way of content.

If you’re a trophy/achievement hunter – this game is quite easy to complete. I had 100% of the trophies on PSN within 2 hours of buying the game – and I suck at earning trophies, if I’m being frank. If you’re looking for a challenge, you won’t really find it here, other than trying to get “Ending A” by completing all of the Emergency Operations.

If you’re just looking for a fun, small, cheap game that you can use to kill some time – look no further.

Final Verdict

So, overall, I’d say the game is definitely worth buying. At only $10 – you really aren’t going to be out too much if you don’t like it.

That said, if you do plan to get it – you might want to do so pretty soon. The game is slated to be delisted from both the PSN and XBL Arcade. Permanently. So once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Unfortunately, the game is no longer available to purchase. If you can find an arcade cab of the game, though – definitely give it a shot!

Like what you read? Want to see more? Consider supporting the site on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

  • Blazingly fast gameplay.
  • Great visuals for a nearly 8 year old title.
  • Tons of fun.

  • Overall lack of content/variety.
  • No real multiplayer element - not even co-op.
  • Jets aren't quite different enough to make your choice really matter.

James Headrick
James Headrick

Gamer & Fractal Artist. // Lover of giant robots & Fighting in Streets. I've been gaming for over 20 years, and writing reviews for over 10 now. ReviewHaven is my baby.

Articles: 74