After Burner 2

Stryker:Ok, first of all – nice job with the auto-fire that you can’t turn off.Yeah, sure, just keep firing that vulcan cannon at nothing in particular.Not like there might be some civilians down there or anything.Oh, and don’t worry guys, the military has a budget of infinity dollars this year.

Brad: What I don’t get about this game is that there doesn’t seem to be any mission – you’re just flying your F-18 across enemy territory like its some kind of joyride.You don’t have any targets to take out, you’re not escorting any other planes, you’re not providing air support for ground forces.You’re just trying to get from Point A to Point B and not to get shot down by the enemy’s entire air force.All I kept thinking was “Dude, just go around the enemy country.”

Stryker:Yeah, I know. And every time you get shot down, it’s like a $350 million shortcut.Also, I want to know what country we’re supposed to be fighting against anyway.

Brad: Well, since the game originally came out in 1988, I just assumed it was the Soviets…

Stryker:Except the geography isn’t right.You start off in the ocean, and then fly over a desert.  I’m not positive, but I don’t think any of the old USSR coastline was desert.I thought maybe it was a Middle Eastern country, but then in the next level it becomes a lush green area, and that’s followed by snow.So now I’m just really confused.I can’t think of any place that has this much variation, but it would have to be a pretty big country to have so many different climates.

Brad:I remember reading something a long time ago about the Incas that mentioned that their empire was spread out over a bunch of different climates like that, but I’m pretty sure the Incas didn’t have F-4s.

Stryker:Yeah, it seems like that would have helped them fight the Spanish.

Brad:I don’t know, last time I checked, F-4s don’t make you immune to smallpox.

Stryker:Did you think it was weird that all the planes attacking you are all either American or allied models?F-4s, Harriers, Stealth Fighters…

Brad:Come to think of it, that probably answers the question of what country you’re supposed to be flying over.If you were to fly over the West Coast of the United States from Southern California to Alaska, you would go through exactly the same climate progression that is seen in the game.So I think this is really a game about attacking the West Coast.Kind of ironic really – you play the game thinking its going to be all about our awesome Air Force, and how much ass America can kick with just one plane, but in reality, it’s the exact opposite.That’s actually some other country shooting down the entire USAF with just one plane.

Stryker:Hmm… Well, I wish I could say that was the reason I didn’t enjoy this game.It would probably make me sound really patriotic or something.But really, I just hated the control.. or, more accurately, lack of control.

Brad:And the fact that I couldn’t see what was coming at me because my own plane was blocking my view.I mean, okay – maybe back in the late 80s, the whole mindless, on-rails, arcade flight “simulator” where you couldn’t do anything other than fly straight into waves of incoming enemy fighters and try to dodge their missiles was still considered an acceptable game design – but when was it ever ok to use a camera angle where everything critical to playing the game is obscured by your own character?That sucks.

Stryker:Goodbye, After Burner II, you piece of anti-American propaganda disguised as a horrible aracde game.

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