Good standalone title, bad arcade conversion.
The Bottom Line
Afterburner was a tough arcade onslaught that provided you with a fast plane and tons of ammo. The speed was adjustable, and during sticky situations you could pull back on the throttle, flames spitting from the rear and barrel-rolling out of it. This description is what made Afterburner what it was. Lets pretend for a moment that we remove the adjustable speed and slow the game down to less than half it's intended speed. What you envision is the Sega Master System version of this game. It's slow, and there's no throttle control. There's also no bonus stages like that of the arcade. The graphics are nice to look at, but it plays like a clunky mess. With games like Thunderblade and Galaxy Force which do a much better job of mimicking the speed of their arcade counterparts, there's no reason for this to have been released the way it is. In it's own right, it does have an extra feature: a boss. Every 6th level unleashes a giant flying fortress that has three missile bays that it dosen't hesitate to use them on you. And it tries hard to kill you. As a standalone title, Afterburner for the Master System is an "okay" product. If you're looking for the arcade thrills of the original, look elsewhere.