After Burner

From Sega Retro

After Burner
After Burner
Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega AM2

System(s): Sega X Board, Sega Master System

ROM Size: Sega Master System 512kB

Genre: Shoot-'em-Up

Release Date RRP Code
Arcade JP 1987-07-17[1] ¥?  ?
Sega Master System JP 1987-12-12 ¥5,800 G-1340
Sega Master System US 1988 $?  ?
Sega Master System EU 1988-03 £24.95 MK-9001-50
Sega Master System AU 1988 $? MK-9001-50
Sega Master System BR 19xx $?  ?
Sega Master System KR 19xx ₩? GB-4340

After Burner (アフターバーナー) is an arcade game designed by Yu Suzuki and developed by Sega AM2 in 1987.

After Burner stands as one of Sega's most successful arcade games, building on the momentum started earlier in the decade with Hang-On, Space Harrier and OutRun. It was one of the earliest games (if not the earliest game) to utilise Sega X Board technology allowing for the easy scaling and rotation of in-game sprites. It is also remembered for its then-revolutionary sit-down cabinet design, complete with a horizontally rotating seat and a vertically rotating cockpit, controlled (like the game) by the integrated flight stick. Upright cabinets were also available.


In After Burner, the player pilots an F-14 Tomcat-inspired jet through 18 levels, destroying enemies with machine gun fire and a limited supply of missiles. Similar to Space Harrier, it is an "on-the-rails" shooter - the plane will travel continuously into the screen, with players only able to adjust its X and Y coordinates.

The objective in After Burner is to survive through each of the 18 stages, usually by avoiding enemy missile fire, however "bonus" stages, which occur every six levels, require the player to dodge scenery and not crash. Shooting down enemies is technically optional, although alleviates the risk of being destroyed. The player has a limited supply of missiles which are refueled at various intervals throughout the game.



After Burner was originally designed to have melodies play over the "After Burner/Red Out" and "Final Take Off" music tracks, but these were taken out of the final game, potentially through fears that they'd be drowned out in a busy arcade environment. Though these versions were never heard in the arcades, they adapted for the album Sega Game Music Vol. 3 After Burner in 1987 (appearing in other albums since), and have been brought back as options in later games (for example, 3D After Burner II).


The original After Burner was released exclusively in Japan, however the western world would receive an updated version of the game, After Burner II in the months which followed. After Burner II is extremely similar in design, bar a few minor tweaks (such as a throttle control, extra levels and slight changes to the missile system), so much so that people often consider it to be a more "complete" version of After Burner than a direct sequel. Due to the similarities and shared cabinet designs and artwork, After Burner II is frequently confused for the original After Burner. A similar relationship would develop with Galaxy Force and Galaxy Force II, also produced by Sega AM2.

In its original form, After Burner was only ported to the Sega Master System, however many ports of After Burner II were released under the name of After Burner for home consoles and computers, including the Amiga (twice), Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, FM Towns, MSX, PC Engine, Sharp X68000 and ZX Spectrum.

It was also ported to the Sega 32X by Rutubo Games and went under the name of After Burner Complete.

After Burner in its original form was also released as part of Sega Arcade Gallery for the Game Boy Advance.

Production Credits

X Board Version

The arcade version of After Burner II has no detailed credits screen, instead aliases of the developers are seen on the backs of clothing in the ending sequence:

Kio, Yu, Bo, Kim, Hiro, Asu, MK, Bin, Mr, Sada, Ken


Promotional Material

Physical Scans

X Board Version

Master System Version

Sega Master System 67 Sega Retro Average
Based on 13 reviews
Publication Score Source
ACE 70 №7, p51
ASM ­† 76
Complete Guide to Consoles 51 №1, p47
Complete Guide to Consoles 51 №4, p89
Computer & Video Games 90 №77, p122/123
The Games Machine (Italy) 60
The Games Machine (UK) 60 №4, p54
Generation 80
MicroMania 70 №2/20
Sega Power 51 №23, p40
Sega Power 40 №23, p55
Sega Pro 93 №1, p18File:Segapro UK 01.pdf
Tilt 75
Master System, US
Afterburner ms us cover.jpg
Afterburner sms us cart.png
Afterburner sms us manual.pdf
SegaAdventure SMS US Poster Front.jpg
Poster (front)
SegaAdventure SMS US Poster Back.jpg
Poster (back)
Master System, EU
Afterburner ms eu cover.jpg
Afterburner sms us cart.png
Master System, EU
"no limits" variant
AfterBurner SMS EU nolimits cover.jpg
Master System, EU
® variant
AfterBurner SMS EU r nobarcode cover.jpg
Master System, JP
AfterBurner SMS JP Box Back.jpgNospine.pngAfterburner ms jp cover.jpg
Afterburner ms jp cart.jpg
Master System, AU
AfterBurner SMS AU cover.jpg
After Burner SMS AU Manual.pdf
Master System, BR (Older)
Afterburner ms sa cover.jpg
AfterBurner SMS BR Cart.jpg
AfterBurner SMS BR Manual Alt.pdf
Master System, BR (Newer)
AfterBurner SMS BR Box Cardboard.jpg
AfterBurner SMS BR Cart.jpg
AfterBurner SMS BR Manual.pdf
Master System, KR

Games in the After Burner Series
Arcade Platforms After Burner (1987) | After Burner II (1987) | G-LOC: Air Battle (1990) | Strike Fighter (1991) | Sky Target (1995) | Sega Strike Fighter (2000) | After Burner Climax (2006)
Sega Mega-CD After Burner III (1992)
Sega 32X After Burner Complete (1995)
Sega Saturn Sega Ages After Burner II (1996)
PlayStation Portable After Burner: Black Falcon (2007)
Nintendo 3DS 3D After Burner II (2013)
After Burner Albums
Sega Game Music Vol. 3 After Burner (1987) | After Burner (1990) | Strike Fighter (1991) | Yu Suzuki Produce After Burner II (1997) | After Burner Climax Sound Track (2006) | Retro Game Anthology #5 -AFTER BURNER in DREAM- (2007) | After Burner 20th Anniversary Box (2007)