Sega’s marketing focus with the 32X was on the system’s 3D games – a wise decision, given that 3D was indeed the way the market was heading. The only problem is that the 32X wasn’t all that great at 3D compared to the dedicated 32-bit machines it launched alongside.
What the 32X was rather better at, as it turns out, was flinging loads of scaling sprites around with colours that the stock Mega Drive could only dream of. Nothing demonstrated that better than After Burner Complete, the best conversion of the arcade classic ever consigned to cartridge. Previous versions of the game had been hampered by the gap in power between arcade hardware and home machines – wobbly music, no scaling, few sprites and terribly slow movement. On the 32X, you had the real deal – the arcade soundtrack, throttle control, and all of the amazing speed of the original. If you were a fan, this was the ultimate After Burner experience.
Of course, the press weren’t quite so keen – after all, the game was already quite old by this point, and it certainly wasn’t 3D. As a result, it was brushed aside with some pretty poor scores. Mean Machines Sega gave it 53%, Gamesmaster gave it 51%, Sega Power gave it 62%. Sega Pro was the most favourably inclined, giving it 84%, but was something of an outlier. But of course, if you’re reading this now you’re fine with old games – so if those less than stellar reviews put you off back in the Nineties, give After Burner Complete a go now because it’s one of the most exciting 32X games available.