|Platform(s)||Arcade, Sega Saturn, Microsoft Windows|
|Genre(s)||Flight simulator/Shoot 'em up|
|Arcade system||Sega Model 2|
Sky Target is a 1995 arcade game by Sega. A rail shooter featuring a number of planes including the default F-14D Super Tomcat, it is best remembered for its semi-official connection to Sega's earlier hit After Burner. Although never billed as a sequel, its overt similarities to the 1987 classic were nonetheless referenced in official promotional materials and recognized by the media. Plus, it features a revised version of the "After Burner" music theme within its soundtrack.
In 1997, Sky Target was ported to Sega Saturn by external developer Appaloosa Interactive. The port retains the gameplay of the original but has completely redone cutscenes, a difficulty select option, and a new Ranking Mode. This version was also later released for Microsoft Windows exclusively in Japan.
Like After Burner, Sky Target places players in control of a modern fighter jet. Players can select from four planes: the F-14D Super Tomcat, Rafale M, F-16C, and F-15S/MTD. The camera follows in chase view (with two selectable follow distances), and players control movement with an analog flight stick. As in After Burner, moving the reticule over a target allows the player to lock on (denoted by a voice shouting "Fire!") and fire homing missiles.
Unlike After Burner II, there is no throttle to control speed, nor an ability to barrel roll. After certain stages, players may have a choice of two different stages, an element later revisited in After Burner Climax. Also unlike After Burner, Sky Target has large, sci-fi-inspired bosses that need to be destroyed in a set amount of time in order to receive a score bonus.
In the Saturn version's Ranking Mode, each level is played individually, and players are graded on their performance. Sufficiently strong performances are rewarded with promotions, which unlock additional levels in the Ranking Mode, though there are no levels beyond those included in the regular game.
Reviewing the arcade version, a Next Generation critic called the game "a fancy-shmantzy remake of After Burner, and a lot less fun." He praised the visuals for their cutting edge level of detail, lack of draw in, and strong design, but said the gameplay is so simplistic and repetitive that the average player will have mastered it by the end of the first two levels. He noted that the game was even simpler than its predecessor After Burner, since it lacks a means of controlling acceleration. He scored it 2 out of 5 stars.
- "Coin-op Giants Reveal Latest at JAMMA". Next Generation. Imagine Media (12): 16–17. December 1995.
Sky Target, another Model 2 game from Sega, is a shooter in the style of Afterburner.
- "The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game Flyers: Sky Target, Sega". Arcadeflyers.com. 2000-06-02. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- "Afterburner: The Return?". Sega Saturn Magazine. Emap International Limited (22): 75. August 1997.
- "1995 JAMMA Show Report". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 112-4. November 1995.
Despite some utterly brilliant graphics, the game is little more than a 1995 enhanced version of the classic Afterburner ...
- "TGS 1997 Spring". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 95. Ziff Davis. June 1997. p. 58.
... Sky Target ... is an indirect chapter of the Afterburner series ...
- "Preview: Sky Target". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 18. Emap International Limited. April 1997. pp. 22–23.
- "Sky Target". Next Generation. No. 14. Imagine Media. February 1996. p. 108.
- "Sky Target". GamePro. No. 92. IDG. May 1996. p. 54.
- "Sky Target: Fly the Unfriendly Skies". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 97. Ziff Davis. August 1997. p. 96.
- "Sky Target". Next Generation. No. 17. Imagine Media. May 1996. pp. 104, 107.