G-LOC: AIR BATTLE / Sega / Arcade

At first look, you might wonder what the heck Sega was doing with G-LOC. Isn't this just Afterburner again? Hell, it even seems to use the same "Fire!" voice sample for spamming missle launches.

It makes more sense once you see the original arcade cabinet. This was actually the first game in an eventual series for the Sega R360 rotating cabinet, obviously a very expensive piece of hardware even before you factor in the regular cleaning of little kid yuke out of it. It was the sort of thing that they didn't manufacture many of, as there just weren't many venues out there that could get away with the $3-$5 per play needed to make this thing profitable.

I probably wouldn't even bother reviewing such a rare and obscure piece of hardware if Sega hadn't also made more standard non-rotating sit-down and stand-up cabinets of this game that were much more common. It's much more fair to ask why bother with these when the game is basically Afterburner slightly rejiggered once you take away the astronaut training spinner ... and there really isn't a good answer to that.

It is a little more graphically impressive than Afterburner, and it has a "checkpoint" structure more in line with Super Scaler racing predecessors Hang-On and Outrun. You get a limited amount of time in each area and have to shoot down "X" enemies before it runs out, do so and you move on to the next area. Unlike the racers, this one allows you to just quarter-blast your way through it with continues.

The other big difference is the in-cockpit view, although this moves out to an Afterburner-like third-person view in a neat effect when an enemy gets on your tail. You'll need to juke around and throw them off (which tends to be pretty easy) before they get a missile lock and blow you out of the air.

The game isn't bad to play; it feels like a more relaxed version of Afterburner with a slightly different view. The biggest problem is feeling like you get shot down randomly from behind all the time. Enemies are constantly approaching from behind, and they don't always "lock on" with the third-person view - in fact, most of the time they don't do this. You can vaguely see where enemies are behind you with an on-screen radar, but you really don't get a good sense of when they're lined up with you or when they're firing. You just kinda die randomly here and there.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video