Title: Sega AGES: G-LOC AIR BATTLE
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/30/2020
In this flight action game, you take control of a fighter jet who must set out to destroy an enemy army! There’s practically no story to speak of outside of “go hunt the enemy down and take out their base” but that’s all you need. This game was originally released as both a normal sit-down machine, and a 360 degree machine, and the AGES version is based off the former.
G-LOC may look a lot like After Burner at first glance, with shooting down planes and super scaling technology. Unlike that game however, G-Loc primarily takes place in the cockpit view, and it uses some damn impressive 3D graphics and much better scaling effects than in After Burner.
In this AGES version, all the usual UI features return, including the addition of a moving cabinet border, that even includes clicky sound effects from the real machine! It’s a pretty nifty feature from the 3D Classics, and I’m glad to see it here as well.
Sometimes if an enemy is attacking from behind, the camera will zoom out a bit to show them, acting as a cool effect. There’s also a lot of really nifty voice samples, with some recycled from After Burner, and some brand new to this game.
There’s a soundtrack here too, but originally the game would just fade those songs out after a few seconds. That’s still the default option, but you can now enable them to loop as songs throughout the stages, and some of them fit this well, while most others just sound like repetitive noise.
Having only previously played the Game Gear version of G-LOC, this arcade original was such a huge upgrade from that port. While that version was a mission-based, stage select shooting game, the arcade original is a linear stage-to-stage scorechaser like After Burner.
However, unlike After Burner where you had to reach the end of the stage by going a certain distance, G-Loc is strictly mission based, tasking you with defeating a certain amount of enemies before you move straight onto the next stage. They’re pretty fast paced, and you typically need to act fast to shoot the targets down before they go off screen.
You have a Vulcan Cannon and a set of missiles that can lock on directly to the enemies, but you have to aim the crosshair very precisely in order to get this to work. If you time it correctly, then the missile will hit the enemies, otherwise they’ll just miss. If you mash wildly, it won’t get you far, since while your vulcan cannon can shoot down enemies as well, it doesn’t use the same crosshair and isn’t nearly as accurate.
All this is going on while a timer is ticking down, and like in Out Run, if you fail to clear the stage before it empties out, you lose the game, while if you clear the stage, you’ll gain extra time and points.
There’s three in-game difficulties to choose from at the start, and while the easiest will give you automated lock-ons and throttle control, the other two difficulty extends the length of the game and shuffles up the mission requirements and overall game length, making each of the difficulties their own, standalone adventures in a way. They’re all fairly fun to tackle, and there’s even a new AGES mode that acts as a brand new easier difficulty and set of stages. The game’s still just a lot of fast-paced, basic air combat at the end of the day, but the score chasing works well, and as a weird, pseudo After Burner sequel.
In conclusion, while G-Loc may not be the secret After Burner III some people may have thought it was, the game is still arguably just as fun. In all honesty, I actually found the faster pace of the stages in G-LOC to be far more enjoyable than the stages in After Burner, and as someone that likes going for scores on the online leaderboards, the game just works as a comfy pick up and play experience.
Overall, I felt that G-Loc was a very impressive port. It’s still a very fun, seldom-ported scorechaser at the end of the day, and while some may not like the cockpit perspective or dated visuals, it’s still a solid way to kill time and go for new scores. The AGES mode didn’t really add much else besides some QOL improvements, but to be blunt, I couldn’t think of much else to add, since none of the missing stuff from the Game Gear port is worth getting upset over, as the pacing of this arcade version is far better.. All in all, a very solid port of a fun gem, and I’m glad I imported it! With only two AGES releases to go, the twilight days for the line seem to be upon us… Here’s hoping this is the start of a great finale.
I give Sega Ages G-LOC AIR BATTLE a 7 out of 10.