[Review] SEGA AGES G-LOC Air Battle – Nintendo Switch

Written by Derek Wright
  • Developer: M2
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Release Date: 30/04/2020
  • Price: $7.99 / £5.99
  • Review code provided by SEGA
  • Game reviewed at Version 1.0.0

Introducing SEGA AGES G-LOC Air Battle Switch Review

Flight has amazed the human race since the beginning of time. The real turning point was when the Wright brothers had their success in Kitty Hawk (yes, I think I am related). After this flight occurred, the next step for humanity was the dogfight, which occurred less than eleven years later. Air Combat has become synonymous with warfare, which has led to multiple games dealing with the subject, including one of my favorites, the Afterburner series. This brings us to G-LOC Air Battle, a curious spin-off title from the aforementioned series that I didn’t know existed. Is this game worth discovering or should SEGA have just flown by it? Reader, you are clear for take-off.

Bogey on your Six

G-LOC Air Battle is not a story heavy game. There is almost no story whatsoever. You are a fighter pilot and your goal is to shoot down enemies. Nothing more, nothing less. Even when you finish the game, the ending does not divulge any details as to who you are fighting or what you are fighting for. Due to its place in history as being a novelty, with its roots as a giant moving arcade machine, a story was not needed to sell this game. This is kind of a bummer, but the game never lasts long enough to need a story.

Locked On

Airplane combat simulation games have come quite a long way since 1990, the original arcade release. When G-LOC first hit the market, there is no doubt in my mind that it gained quite a bit of attention. The cabinet was one of Sega’s ridable units, featuring movement in tandem with the gameplay. To emulate this, M2 added a faux arcade screen to convince the player they are in fact sitting in the machine. This picture in picture mode can be jarring, but it does replicate the experience better than expected. It is completely optional and can be turned off in the settings.

Getting down to brass tacks, what really matters in an arcade port is the gameplay. At first glance, everything plays as it should and on the beginner level, it is easy to control your ship. It is presented primarily in first person view with a few exceptions such as when it will switch to full plane view for dodging enemies and missiles. At your disposal are missiles, a turret cannon, the thruster and the after burner. With only a few buttons, it would be easy to assume simplicity of control, but that would not be correct. Once you change directions, it becomes clear that flying is not easy. On multiple occasions I flew into mountain ranges or enemy aircraft when I was actively trying not to. At other times, I missed collision completely and it made zero sense.

Now for the levels themselves, it was very straight forward. There are a different number of levels depending on the difficulty chosen. The higher the difficulty, the more levels. Each level gives a set number of targets to destroy. Once you complete all the stages, then you must land the plane. It’s easy to do, simply follow the arrows on screen and keep the plane level. Playing arcade mode gives you the classic experience, whereas Ages mode brings a harder challenge, with more enemies and only one life. I liked the addition of the Ages mode since completing the arcade mode on all three levels can be done in less than an hour.

Flying High

The creative design in G-LOC was high tech for the time. The 3D modeled airplanes feature a decent amount of detail, but they are not the technical stand out they once were. Graphics can look a bit muddy, especially if you are not using the filters and cabinet view. I am very pleased with the aesthetic of arcade view, as you can see details such as other cabinets around you. It is a nice touch and it makes me want an arcade collection from SEGA with a full 3D arcade to peruse. One last thing to touch on that is rather well done are the explosions. When your ship crashes, it goes up in glorious flames.

The music in G-LOC has charm, but it can be drowned out by the rest of the explosions and gunfire. After running through the sound test, I can tell the songs are quite solid, if not short and repetitive. Again, the game was not meant to be played for long periods, so the songs were designed for short bursts as well.

Clear Skies

As with the other SEGA AGES titles, M2 has done an excellent job of porting this title. There were no bugs, glitches, or slowdown in all my time with the title. Even the newer “Ages” exclusive items played just as well as the originals. This was tested in both handheld and docked and they were identical. Now, if only M2 could show some other developers how to port games.

Final Thoughts

As someone who loves older games for their historical value, it is not viable to recommend every “classic” game. G-LOC Air Battle holds an odd place in SEGA’s history, as it is tied to a popular series, but as a side game. It is still playable, even enjoyable, but only in small bursts. For the price of admission, there are worse ways you can spend $8. However, I can only recommend this for diehard SEGA or aerial combat fans.

Pros

  • At home arcade simulation
  • Simple design

Cons

  • Flying isn’t easy
  • Very short game
  • Arcade simulation can be jarring

Verdict

SEGA AGES G-LOC Air Battle is a mixed bag of good ideas on top of a very small game. It’s fun as a short detour, but it won’t hold your attention for very long.

2.5/5

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