Review Information
Reviewer Name: Andy Allison
Game Difficulty: Medium
Difficulty Options: False
Game Information
Full Title: Action Fighter
Year Released: 1986
Game Type: Shooting
Max Players: 2

Ah yes, ye old Action fighter, this was a game that was very common in the UK and everyone seemed to have a copy, you couldn't swap Action fighter with your mates, because the all had it! The game was part of Sega's early budget release titles along with the Ninja, Pro Wrestling and Fantasy Zone. I remember buying this for £9.99 from Index the catalogue shop and man I sure was impressed, I sat glued to this game for hours upon end. The game is a basic top-down scrolling shooter, but this game has some real style and charisma for me. The fact that you not only have a top-down driving game here, but also a top-down flying/shooter game in one is quite unique. I don't think I have seen this repeated in any games since the release of Action fighter. Sadly it also seems to be a game that everyone takes for granted due to how common it is/was. The story for the game (as if it needed one) is that you are working for some secret government agency, the president has given you missions to attack his enemies, thereís all different sorts, such as submarines, helicopters and tanks etc.
The game play is very much familiar in the tradition of top-down scrolling shooters, it contains the usual shooter elements; weapon-ups, speed-ups and the usual end of level boss type characters, you usually start off on the ground on each level as a motorcycle from Hang-On, with the motorcycle you are very easily destroyed, so the first task you have is to collect different letters of the alphabet by destroying other vehicles, by doing this you can transform into a car, which gives you a little bit more protection. The way you upgrade your weapons is quite unique and rather cool too. You have to drive into the back of a moving "Sega truck", after entering this depending on what kind of firepower you already have you will receive either rockets, or a tracer rocket which can attack helicopters. The coolest part though is defiantly when you collect enough letters to change into the plane and you see the words "take off!" appear on the screen. Sadly though I have to say I actually find the flying parts of the game to be a bit boring after a while, driving is defiantly more fun. I have to say though that a very odd thing about this game is there is no such thing as "lives" you can crash or die as much as you want, all you have to worry about is the timer running out(which I have never saw happening)
The graphics in the game have the usual "Mega cartridge" look, things are not too detailed but everything is designed to be functional and runs very smoothly without slow-down even with many enemies on the screen at once. I find the ground levels to be very easy on the eyes, the road markings also help give the illusion of great speed and this helps the pace of the game as it feels a whole lot faster and more exciting. The boss characters a little bit of a let down though it does have to be said, doesn't seem like a great deal of thought went into producing unique graphics.
Sound & Music
There are two main music tracks in the game which you will be hearing all the time, the car sound track is quite good, but the frequency of which you hear it eventually makes you sick of it. A little variety would have been much better. The flying level music is also quite good, but equally repetitive and drags on a little bit making the air levels seem to go slower. I was quite happy with the sound effects for the guns and explosions. The best sound effect is when changing from motorcycle to car by pressing both buttons together, you will get a satisfying "clash" and this will be followed by the sound of your high powered engine.
Controls are easy to learn and respond nicely to your commands, the game suffers from button bashing syndrome though like many other shooters. You really do need to use a rapid fire unit for extended play of this game, failure to do this may result in your fingers falling off! You have been warned! There is also a cool trick you can use while driving as the car; if you press both buttons simultaneously your car instantly reaches its top speed, very useful when you need to get out of a tight spot, or just cant escape the helicopters overhead.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
I always come back to this game whenever i feel like a quick blast, this along with Astro Warrior are my two favourite top-down shooters, the game just has that "pick up and play" feel that is guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.
Action fighter is a definite must-have for all fans of top-down shooters, I recommend strongly that if there is any SMS fans out there that donít have a copy of this game that they pick one up, despite the dodgy packaging (which is of a motorcycle rear-view mirror and not a magnifying glass which people seem to think it is!) the game will keep you entertained for hours, and is just great fun!
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