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Burning Force (USA)

Genre

Shoot’em Up

Console

Sega Genesis

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Sega Genesis

Burning Force (USA)

Burning Force[a] is a 1989 third-person shooterarcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan. A home conversion for the Sega Genesis was released worldwide a year later. The player assumes control of the 21-year-old space cadet Hiromi Tengenji, a pilot training to become a member of the Space Force, who must complete each level by shooting down enemies with her airbike and avoiding projectiles. Gameplay is similar to Space Harrier, featuring a fixed camera position behind the player and having similar mechanics. It runs on the Namco System 2 arcade hardware.

Gameplay

In Burning Force, the player controls a 21-year-old space cadet named Hiromi Tengenji (天現寺ひろみ, Tengenji Hiromi), who as part of her final training, must battle high-tech enemies through six worlds of four areas on a futuristic airbike named “Sign Duck”. The gameplay is similar to that of Sega‘s Space Harrier, but the worlds are divided into four areas and there is no vertical mobility making the game different in its own right; in the first two sections the player controls Hiromi on the airbike, which can move to the left and right, as well as braking and accelerating – and the airbike can also fire bullets and missiles at the enemies. The third area of every world is a boss area and the airbike will be transformed into a flying ship which can move in all directions; the fourth area of each world, however, is a bonus stage and the player has to collect as many spheres (which have numbers on them) as possible for bonus points.[1][2]

Reception

PublicationScore
ACE69/100[3]
Famitsu25/40

In Japan, Game Machine listed Burning Force on their December 1, 1989 issue as being the ninth most-popular table arcade game at the time.[4]

The Sega Genesis / Mega Drive received mixed and mostly mediocre reviews in the West upon the release, including 4/10 from ASM,[5] 5/10 from Génération 4,[6] 71% from Joystick,[7] 51% from Power Play,[8] and 77% from RAZE, which opined “Space Harrier is too old a formula to be successful nowadays.”[9] The New Straits Times, in October 1990, dismissed the game as “yet another … in the line of Space Harrier clones.”[10] It also had mediocre sales.[11]

Retrospectively, Hardcore Gaming 101’s Kurt Kalata opined it “is among the better of [Space Harrier] clones, partly because it’s based on more powerful arcade hardware (the Namco System-II, which ran Phelios and Valkyrie no Densetsu, amongst others), and partly because it puts its own unique spin on the formula.”[1] Next Generation listed the Genesis version at number 93 in their “Top 100 Games of All Time”, explaining that “What earns Burning Force its place on this list is level design, the fact that no enemies are repeated from level to level, and the stunning design of the bosses.”[11]

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