SEGA AGES G-LOC Air Battle review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Sega
Developer: M2
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

The SEGA AGES line of games on the Nintendo Switch is really picking up some major steam. What started as a test by Sega, turned into a great line up of games that both first times and veterans can enjoy. The latest release is G-LOC Air Battle, a port of an Arcade game that, while getting a worldwide release in many Arcades, not many people played outside of Japan.

G-LOC plays very much like a cross between Sega’s After Burner and Out Run. You pilot a fighter jet while being surrounded by enemy pilots all trying to end you. Using your Vulcan cannon, a supply of Missiles and your quick wits, you battle your way through waves of enemies to make it through a series of checkpoints that get progressively harder as you go. The harder the difficulty level, the more checkpoints you’ll have to endure. It’s not just enemies in the sky, as some levels will have you take out ground targets like bases and bridges that require quick reflexes to fly under. What set this game apart from After Burner originally was the giant Arcade machine it was presented in. A 360 degree spinning gyroscope cockpit really put you inside the action. While this was big in Japan, many Arcade goers in other states only saw this at large Amusement Centers and chain Arcades since this machine was very expensive. What most people experienced was a simple stand up machine or the larger sit down machine that only moved on an axis. Fortunately, the SEGA AGES version does include an axis machine simulation, more on this later.

This release hopes to bring this unique title to more gamers, and thanks to the wonderful emulation work by M2, this may become a reality. Yes, there exists ports of the game for the Sega Genesis and Master System, but this is the first time the Arcade version has been brought home. The main controls are very simple to get the hang of. You will be spending the majority of the levels in the cockpit view, dodging missiles and shooting down a number of predetermined enemies in a set time limit. After you destroy the number of targets, you continue on. Any damage you suffered in the last fight is fixed, and some missiles in your stock will be refilled. The game play isn’t really all that deep or complicated, but it’s simplicity mixed with an ever increasing challenge fits really well. The visuals are great and really show off some interesting sprite work, thanks to Sega’s innovative Y board. M2 did a great job emulating all of the unique scaling and rotation found in the Arcade original. Controls on the Switch couldn’t be simpler. It’s tight and responsive weather you are using Joy-Cons or another external controller.

With all SEGA AGES releases come a variety of extras, and while G-LOC contains some, it’s very scaled back when compared to other releases. Of course you have the Ages Mode, where you can tackle 16 completely new stages and challenges with unlimited Missiles. This is really fun and can get addicting as you try to get a better score for the Online Ranking Boards. Other Extras include your standard filters, boarders and screen sizes, but the best extra is the simulated Moving Cabinet. Granted it’s not the giant 360 Gyroscope one, but this simulation is a fun and challenging way to play. The screen is a little smaller in this mode, so playing in Docked mode is a must here. I liked this mode a lot, as it somewhat reminded me of being in an Arcade. They even added ambient Arcade sounds in the background as you play in this mode.

While not as packed or well known as some of the previous SEGA AGES releases, G-LOC Air Battle is still a great addition to the lineup. If you like After Burner and Out Run, then you will feel right at home here. New players can also pick this one up and get the hang of it right away. It’s not a must own, but more of a quick pick up and play game. If you are looking for dogfight action found in games like Ace Combat, you aren’t going to find it here. Just a simple Arcade quarter-muncher designed to challenge and sometimes frustrate you. I say try it out, you may like it.

Sega provided us with a SEGA AGES G-LOC Air Battle Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+