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After Burner (NES)

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Title Screen

After Burner

Also known as: After Burner II (JP)
Developer: Sunsoft
Publishers: Sunsoft (JP), Tengen (US)
Platforms: NES (JP), Unlicensed NES (US)
Released in JP: March 30, 1989
Released in US: 1989

DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, this is indeed a Sega game on the NES. So are this, this, this, both of these, and this.

Sound Test

USA Japan
Afterburnernes-soundtest.png AfterBurnerIINESSoundTest.png

In the US version, hold B while starting the game before the title screen appears to enter a sound test. In the Japanese version, press A + Start on the title screen.

(Source: CaH4e3)

Background Test

After Burner (NES) bgtest.png

In the US version, hold B + Left on controller 1 and A on controller 2 at the same time while starting the game (before the title screen appears).

There is no proper initialization for initial values for the menu, so on some emulators you just get the black screen. On controller 1 press Down a couple of times then press Left to start displaying something. If displayed correctly, use the D-Pad buttons on controller 1 to select backgrounds, CHR data for it and proper palette. There is no data what patterns and palettes belongs to the particular background. Press and hold Select to temporarily hide the menu.

Stage Select

After Burner (NES)-stageselect.png

In the US version, during gameplay, press Select to pause it, then press A + Down + Left on controller 2 and Down + Left on controller 1 at the same time. Press Up / Down to select a stage, press Select to return back to the game. This cheat can be done in all levels except 8 and 17. But you can still get to these stages with this cheat from any other stages.

Regional Differences

Note: The exact date of the US version is unknown but it was most likely made before the JP version.

The graphics were almost completely changed and given more detail, making the game look more polished.

USA Japan
Afterburnernes-title.png AfterBurnerIINESTitle.png
  • Font was changed.
  • Background was changed from blue to black.
  • An exclamation point was added to "PUSH START BUTTON".
  • Logo was changed and given more colors to resemble the arcade logo more.
  • The II was added.
  • TENGEN was changed to SUNSOFT.
  • "(C)1989" and "(C)1987 SEGA" are now blue.
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSATitleAnimation.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNTitleAnimation.gif

The intro is different. In the US version, the logo just drops from the top and bottom to the center. The JP version is more accurate to the arcade version; the logo appears backwards, then the balls form a II and the logo changes to normal while the II rotates.


The Japanese version has the II explode after doing nothing for a while on the title screen.

AfterBurnerNESJPNIntro1.png AfterBurnerNESJPNIntro2.png AfterBurnerNESJPNIntro3.png

The Japanese version also has an exclusive animated intro that's not in the US version.

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESStart.png AfterBurnerIINESStart.png
  • The number 65 was changed to 3.17.


Overall the animated backgrounds for the stages were redrawn to add more detail.

Stage 1

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage1BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage1BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage1BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage1BG2.gif

Stage 2

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage2BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage2BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage2BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage2BG2.gif

Reload Weapons

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAReloadWeapons.png AfterBurnerNESJPNReloadWeapons.png

Stages 4 and 7

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage4,7BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage4,7BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage4,7BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage4,7BG2.gif

Stage 6

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage6BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage6BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage6BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage6BG2.gif

Stage 8

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage8BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage8BG.gif

Stage 9

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage9BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage9BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage9BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage9BG2.gif

Stages 10 and 19

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage10,19BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage10,19BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage10,19BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage10,19BG2.gif

Stages 11 and 16

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage11,16BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage11,16BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage11,16BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage11,16BG2.gif

Stage 12

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage12BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage12BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage12BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage12BG2.gif

Stage 14

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage14BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage14BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage14BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage14BG2.gif

Stage 15

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage15BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage15BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage15BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage15BG2.gif

Stage 17

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage17BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage17BG.gif

Stage 18

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage18BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage18BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage18BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage18BG2.gif

Stage 20

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage20BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage20BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage20BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage20BG2.gif

Stage 21

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage21BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage21BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage21BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage21BG2.gif

Stage 22

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage22BG.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage22BG.gif
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAStage22BG2.gif AfterBurnerNESJPNStage22BG2.gif

Intermission Stages

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAIntermission1.png AfterBurnerNESJPNIntermission1.png
USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAIntermission2.png AfterBurnerNESJPNIntermission2.png

For the first intermission stage, the Japanese version adds a motorcycle and for the second one, it adds a car. Probably a reference to Hang-On and Out Run.


USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAEnding.png AfterBurnerNESJPNEnding1.png
N/A AfterBurnerNESJPNEnding2.png
N/A AfterBurnerNESJPNEnding3.png

The US version has a one-screen ending while the Japanese version includes 3 black and white photos.


AfterBurnerNESJPNCredits1.png AfterBurnerNESJPNCredits2.png AfterBurnerNESJPNCredits3.png

The Japanese version also adds credits screens.

Game Over

USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAGameOver.png AfterBurnerNESJPNGameOver.gif

The Japanese version's Game Over is animated.


USA Japan
AfterBurnerNESUSAFont.png AfterBurnerNESJPNFont.png

The font was also changed.


The music was completely changed and not only that, but one additional track that was missing in the US version was added.

Song Name USA Japan
Maximum Power
Final Take Off
After Burner N/A
Super Stripe
Red Out
City 202