Air Buster

-Namco (1990)

Also on: Sega Genesis

The Story

You are one of the two elite pilots of the Global Air Force – Raid Unit. You like to smoke, drink, and love to score with the ladies. But, when trouble brews you snap into action because trouble is your specialty, brother. This time, trouble is a traveling carnival of alien death called the Massive Luscious Muffins (The alien language is still being translated). You, and sometimes your wingman (when he’s not blowing his paycheck at the casino), suit up and fight these sideshow hooligans because they destroyed your city. And you hate clowns.

My Thoughts

Air Buster is a pretty standard shooter, yet done well. You fly a typical jet/space fighter through six of the usually-themed stages; city, cave, space, and death circus. Yes, the final stage is called “Death Circus,” which is actually the inside of an alien base. The music is your standard shooter fare; not good, but not terrible either. The game itself is rather challenging right from the start, but the difficulty is reduced because when you die/continue, you start off right where you died. For some unexplained reason, you also collect cash in a couple of the levels. You never do anything with it, but extra c-notes are always nice to have. 

There are two things that do set this game out from other shooters, however. First, your ship has a charge weapon that can clear the screen of enemy shots. See, it’s called “Air Buster” for a reason. Second, when you get to the zero-gravity space levels, it gets harder to control your ship, possibly like real zero-gravity situations. Pressing the direction you want to go sends you flying in that direction without stopping. It is a little like flying the ship in Asteroids, but in a side-scroller.

Score 7.0






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