Review | SEGA AGES G-LOC: Air Battle
If being an Air Force fighter pilot was ever your dream, G-LOC: Air Battle may be the right remedy. Shooting down enemy jets in glorious 90’s pixelization seems to perfectly capture that cool fever dream. G-LOC is the latest in the SEGA AGES line to come to the Nintendo Switch, yet it somehow feels familiar.
In this air combat simulator, you control a fighter jet trying to eliminate a set amount of enemies per stage within a time limit. Fortunately there’s no confusion as to who the enemies are because everything in your crosshairs is a target. It’s an experience quite similar to another SEGA property, After Burner, with the notable difference of taking place inside the cockpit.
The gameplay is fairly simple and won’t require a lot of getting used to. Within your screen is a smaller lock-on screen, and when an enemy moves into it, you’ll shoot it down. If you run out of missiles, you still have Vulcan Turrets, however they’re significantly more difficult to aim. Sometimes you’ll have an enemy on your tail and you have to shake them off. This actually takes you to a third person viewpoint, showing the enemy behind you. You’ll have to use your after burner to get further ahead. All of this must be done in the allotted time per stage. Of course, every new stage is more challenging than the last, and not all your enemies are in the sky. As long as you shoot everything that isn’t land, water or mountains, you’ll do well in G-LOC.
Releasing in arcades in 1990, the visuals for the game was impressive for its time. As I am playing 30 years later in 2020, I can say the game has aged gracefully. The land moves independently to the sky while having many moving objects through the stages. It’s an effect Sega has had plenty of experience with, having created Space Harrier and After Burner before, but G-LOC: Air Battle adds a little extra detail that I found impressive. You also have the options to add scan lines or smoothing to the game. Although it doesn’t particularly need any display effects, I chose to add scan lines as it helps for modern HD televisions.
One of the details I liked was the variety of borders around the game. There are a few static images, as well as a nice one that puts you in the cockpit. They also decided to add a moving seat with a faithful recreation of the original arcade cabinet. These kind of things are a nice surprise for fans.
There isn’t much to say about G-LOC’s audio. There weren’t any memorable tracks in the game, however, some of the sound cues are where the audio functions well. Shooting sounds great, missiles sound good, and so do the explosions. At some point, when you have a bogie on your six, you hear what sounds like a whistle that warns you’re getting attacked from behind. That’ll give you a chance to escape.
This game has a couple different modes: Arcade and AGES mode. Arcade allows you to keep playing with multiple credits, whereas AGES mode is more a race against the clock. In AGES mode, when completing a stage, you get more seconds added on to the following stage, however, if you take too long with one stage, the time added may not be enough to complete the next stage. This would be frustrating if you have to keep returning to the start, but fortunately, this game has save states and it makes this game quite a bit more manageable.
Overall, I had a good time playing SEGA AGES: G-LOC: Air Battle. It was an enjoyable experience from start to finish. The game is easy to understand and great to just spend a few minutes at a time with. G-LOC feels more like an upgrade to some of Sega’s previous flight games, and thus not feeling like a fully original game. It may not be one that I’d run back to anytime soon, but I do see myself checking it out again in the future.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10