After Burner was one of legendary Yu Suzuki's first games, developed by Sega AM2 and released in 1987. That's the original arcade version, though. The Sega Master System port was not as good, but a pretty decent entry into the Master System catalogue, nevertheless. It wasn't one of my favourites though ...
You take control of a F-14 Thunder Cat, and have unlimited firepower, as you shoot down enemy planes and missiles. It doesn't seem to be much story involved in this game though, but perhaps you don't need to know why you're doing what you're doing - after all it's just about having a good time.
It's quite a long game - both the arcade version and the Master System version have 18 levels, and since this (the Master System version) was a pretty cheap game, I bought it when taking a trip to a mall, as we often did when visiting my grandmother when I was a kid. And I had heard so many good things about it - so many of my friends were talking about After Burner. After playing it for myself, I couldn't understand why. No matter how much I tried, I was never able to feel that I was in total control of the plane and being able to avoid the things flying towards me.
The problem is, I think, that the 3D view isn't as good as it should be. It's impossible to tell most of the time whether or not the missiles will end up above me, below me, or straight towards me and make me crash.
Of course, we have the "stay left"- trick, which almost lets you finish the game ... which is pretty stupid, anyway. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of flight simulation games that I don't like this game, but maybe it's also because it's absolutely impossible to control without getting hit. I can understand why other people like it though. And it's considered a classic, and has also got some sequels. Personally, the thing I like best about the game, is the music, and as the game was also released in Japan (after the Master System had been released, so it says both "Mark III" and "Master System" on the box), it even supports FM sound ...
Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0:
http://www.retrocopy.com/blogimages/after-burner.zip (1,51 MB)
In this theme, I've used a background image which is not taken from the game. Instead I used a picture taken above the clouds, so you (perhaps) get the feeling of really being in an F-14. Also it looks quite similar to the title screen. I imagine if After Burner had been made today, the background would perhaps look like this. The left and right images are not from the game either, but very much in style with the plane you control in After Burner.