Week in Arcade: Afterburner, Puzzle Challenge

A double week, this time with two $10 titles.

Afterburner Climax

Hooray for retro updates done right. Thus gorgeous, ridiculously fast update to the Sega classic maintains everything that made the original series great, including the soundtrack to Afterburner II. It is appropriately short, but worth playing through multiple times to see every stage in their hi-def glory. The game reeks of being ported from the glory days of the Dreamcast, a strong compliment considering the awesome pick-up-and-play options available on the hardware. Loud, obnoxious, and at times almost impossible, it is everything that made Afterburner great.

Puzzle Challenge

So, Konami needs a boost in profits this quarter, right? How do they do that? By making the most blatant Puzzle Quest knock-off ever. There is almost nothing new here. The leveling up, map system, animal companions, special gems, and story mode are all here. Oh, and the core gameplay comes from Capcom classic Puzzle Fighter, only turned sideways with none of the fluidity. Character art is ugly (the guy on the title screen looks depressed to be featured), and the animation of the 3-D models is smooth but not very interesting since you need to watch the game board.

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