G-Loc: Air Battle


There is a fair chance that I may have come across G-Loc: Air Battle somewhere before, but completely dismissed it because of its title. It's not exactly a snappy, memorable one, is it? True to its name, though, the game features air battles and G-Force induced loss of consciousness.

Sounds awesome. I think it's about time we take to the skies and see what's up there.

Source // Sega Retro


The 1001 list makes it very clear that G-Loc: Air Battle should be played inside one of these things, an R360 cabinet, so wild in its motion that it requires an attendant present to watch over you and an emergency stop button for obvious reasons. Something tells me I'm not going to be experiencing that anytime soon, and knowing my stomach, that's probably a good thing.

Source // Daniel Robar

Instead of that set up then, I've got the Sega Mega Drive port, complete with its multiple control schemes that try to give you a sense of an aircraft swooping through the skies as best it can. We're obviously going to take a hit when it comes to playing this game as intended, but we can still play the game itself.

Fun Times

Oh my God, does it feel good to play or what?

G-Loc: Air Battle plops you into the cockpit of an experimental aircraft that looks suspiciously like the poster-child of dogfighting, the F/A-18 Hornet. You're equipped with a Vulcan cannon, a limited supply of missiles and an afterburner to play catch up, and are left to roam the skies, kinda sorta mostly on rails, hunting down enemy aircraft.

In this Mega Drive port, you'll sometimes be playing from a first person view, with full control over your movement, banking left and right in order to turn along the horizon, hopefully following your radar to line up some enemy pilots, but they tend to do a good job of finding you that I didn't find this too much of a problem.

What was a problem was screenshotting these sections - they're too fun and engaging. Your cannon braps along until you stop spamming it, and the HUD tracks enemies, locks on and alerts you to fire, so you stab the missile fire button and watch a missile rocket through the skies and turn a threat into a fireball.

When it switches to third person, the pace eases off a little, you don't need to be so hands on all the time and you can soar through the air with ease.

Each mission sees you needed to destroy a certain number of objects, usually planes but also ground targets, all within a time limit.

Further Frustrations

Sadly, my game was ended when having to go through a section that basically requires missiles to get through, only having run out of missiles long ago. Rolling my aircraft around its limited range of movement in this section with my cannons glowing red hot was useless.

Further Fun Times

Then I restarted and played again. It's awesome. Not having an R360 is not a problem, G-Loc: Air Battles is still a blast.

Final Word

At the time of writing, I've been playing a lot of No Man's Sky and now again I just pause for a little bit and imagine myself sat in a cockpit, staring out of the window and wondering just how it would feel.

I've no idea what a dogfight would feel like, no idea what it'd look like from inside. G-Loc: Air Battle goes some way into giving you the sense of speed and angles at which you are relative to the horizon, but the lack of background features does take away from it all a little. The scenery is minimal so that you're able to focus on the air battle, not the floor. There's nothing wrong with that, but now I can't help but wonder what it'd look like with some more stuff going on. I guess that's for the next few generations of air combat games to build upon.

Still, for what it offers and how nice it feels, I'll take it as it is. G-Loc: Air Battle is a joy to pick up and play.

Fun Facts

The Sega Mega Drive missile lock notification, 'Fire!', was a replacement for the arcade originals 'Bang!'. All I can hear when watching the arcade version now is 'Bang! And the plane is gone.'

G-Loc: Air Battle, developed by Sega AM2, first released in 1990.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1993, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1990 (World of Longplays)