After Burner Climax-ing on 360, PS3

Latest installment of Sega's arcade flight combat series lands on Xbox Live, PSN this spring.

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Sega's jet fighting After Burner series has been running on stealth mode for about 15 years. In that stretch, the only new installments of the flight combat franchise have been 2007's PSP-exclusive After Burner: Black Falcon and the rarely seen 2006 arcade game After Burner Climax.

Do a barrel roll!
Do a barrel roll!

Now Sega wants the series to resurface on gamers' radars. The publisher has announced downloadable Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of After Burner Climax and a PlayStation Store rerelease for Black Falcon.

Set for launch on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store in the spring, After Burner Climax gives players three planes to choose from and 20 stages with branching paths to blast through. The "Climax" part of the game's name comes from a new gameplay mechanic that lets players slow down time for easier missile locks and evasive maneuvers. In keeping with the series' arcade roots, development duties were entrusted to Sega's AM2 development division, the same studio behind coin-op classics like Space Harrier, Out Run, and Virtua Fighter.

Originally launched to decent reviews, After Burner: Black Falcon sees a terrorist cell dubbed Black Falcon planejacking 13 fighter jets from the CIA. Players are tasked with making the skies friendly again by hopping into the cockpit of 19 licensed planes, including F-14D Tomcats, F-22 Raptors, and F-15E Strike Eagles.

Black Falcon was developed by Planet Moon Studios, the creators of Armed & Dangerous, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and Infected. After Burner: Black Falcon will be available on the PlayStation Store February 4.

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