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Activision Inc
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes

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Phil King, Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne


One of the hottest coin-ops of all time has arrived. You begin your mission being catapulted off the deck of a beautifully-drawn aircraft carrier. Once airborne you come under attack from wave after wave of enemy jets, half armed with machine guns, the other half relying on missiles. To evade them the F-14 can bank left/right and even perform a 360 0 roll (with practice). It's also equipped with those essential afterburners for extra thrust - turn them on/off with space bar.

To reply in kind the F-14 is armed with a unlimited cannon fire and a couple of dozen extremely useful heat-seeking missiles. Extra missiles are provided by the automatic refuelling stages - either landing on a runway or mid-air refuelling. Including these stages there are 23 levels (multi-loaded three at a time). Apparently everything in the arcade game has been replicated (apart from the hydraulic seat!).

Despite the conversion's exhilarating speed Afterburner remains of dubious lasting value. The gameplay is just too repetitive, constantly dodging around the screen firing and trying to avoid occasionally indistinct missiles. But even so, to begin with Afterburner really does set your pulse racing.

PHIL … 85%

Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: stunningly fast 3-D, although ground features aren't very detailed
Sound: catchy 128K title tune and ingame music which can be replaced by some hot sound effects
Options: definable keys. Choose between ingame music or sound effects


'With its breathtaking speed, amazing graphics and pounding soundtrack, the arcade game was brilliant. But what about the Spectrum version? Well, it's certainly fast. The main sprite is simply excellent. Some of the backgrounds are just as nicely detailed, with tanks and so on, but for the most part they're rather empty. Sound is well implemented with a choice of a rousing tune or FX. Yet despite the speed of the graphics, and the urge to see the next stage, it's really only a 'dodge-left/right-and-fire' game. Lacking the speed and definition of the arcade original the underlying simplicity of the gameplay is sadly revealed. Nevertheless fans of the original will, like me, still love it.' MARK … 83%

'The one game above almost all others I thought impossible to successfully convert has arrived - and totally amazed me. The speed is fantastic. Each level of the game is a different colour monochrome with small but well-defined jets flying by and brilliant graphics at the beginning and end of each level. The Spectrum version doesn't seem to have lost any of the speed, but the graphics on the ground have been reduced from the brightly coloured houses and structures of the arcade machine to just bushes - but this doesn't effect the game too drastically, the playability is still there. The multiload is a bit annoying but nothing can be done about that and 3 owners will hardly notice it. Afterburner is a great game, you'll be a fool to miss it.' NICK … 91%

General Rating: A great conversion of a very popular coin-op, which perhaps loses out in the long run due to its repetitiveness.


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Conserve your missiles for the really tough sections.

Don't stay still - keep moving left and right to avoid enemy planes.

Slow down to fly through the tricky canyon section.

If a missile is on your tail, get out of its path and slow down to let it pass.

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Not another BP advert! - vital fuel supplies for a hungry Afterburner.

Head-to-head combat with deadly MiGs

Gruman F-14 about to be steam catapulted into high-speed arcade action.