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G-LOC: Air Battle

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Released: 1990

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega-AM2

Submitted by: Jack Craig

Speaking as something of a self-proclaimed arcade connoisseur, I’ll say now that I’ve never really had all that much of an affinity for G-LOC; it’s always felt like something of a missing first-person mission mode to After Burner, and though something like that would be nice as an extra in an enhanced home port of After Burner itself, the rigid objective-based gameplay feels too restrictive and dull to offer any kind of real excitement as a standalone game – factoring in that the compulsory first-person viewpoint clamps peripheral vision even more than playing the game on a non-widescreen monitor already did, and you have what I consider an extremely poor After Burner psuedo-sequel that has none of the charm or quality of gameplay that the first two had.

G-LOC’s sole offspring, Strike Fighter, on the other hand, was at the very least decent enough to be ported to the Mega CD under the guise of After Burner III, though it – ironically enough – was a mite too similar to the original After Burner duo to be called a truly brilliant and original sequel – its addition of an optional first-person viewpoint was refreshing at first, though I came to discover extremely quickly that Sega’s original formula worked better than any other, and that, again, the games’ aforementioned predecessors did it all far better.
So, no; G-LOC is no great shooter, and I’m surprised than anyone remembers it for anything other than the god-awful game it was and the interesting arcade cabinet that it came in – a MegaDrive port thus defeats not only the immersive aspect of being turned upside-down while playing it, but also adds jerky scrolling and massively degraded scaling into the equation. Pretty poor, I’d say. See Sega’s semi-recent After Burner Climax for an example of how best to create a follow-up to a revered arcade classic without completely botching it as was done here.