Sega’s Genesis was known for the arcade ports. From Midnight Resistance to the Altered Beast and countless others, Sega knew they had an uphill battle. Going with the arcade ports was smart for the 16-Bit era and it could have carried them well into the 32-Bit era had they done it right. That is Sega’s problem, historically, they have not handled things right. With After Burner II for the Sega Genesis, we saw a pretty decent version of the arcade game in your home but for many gamers, there was just not enough here to get excited about. That started with the source material, not so much the port to the Genesis.
The arcade version of After Burner II was, obviously, a sequel to their popular After Burner game. For many the reason these two games were so popular was the intricate arcade cabinets that Sega simply could not replicate in the home on their Genesis. That leaves home gamers having to enjoy what is left. The original After Burner hit the Sega Master System (Sega’s first North American console) and the rival Nintendo Entertainment System (thanks to exiled third party NES publisher Tengen). This was a problem that Sega fixed with the Saturn, Sega’s console (and sometimes PC’s) were the only place to play their arcade ports in the home.
The source material, as mentioned earlier is not that great of an improvement over the original. There is simply not enough new content here to warrant the designation of a sequel. After Burner II is more of an expansion for the original game. There are only three new levels, a few graphics tweaks and a couple of new enemies to engage in After Burner II.
For fans of After Burner II these problems are negligible at worse. Enjoy this game on its 25th anniversary and just have fun with it.