After Burner Climax, like previous games in the franchise, has a specially designed game cabinet that consists of a servo-equipped chair that bends and rotates with the movements of the on-screen jet. Players will have to utilise their ship's arsenal of missiles and vulcan cannons, as well as exploiting it's overall manoeuvrability. Players can execute barrel rolls and other evasive actions to dodge the unending rain of enemy fire, as reaching the end of the stage within the given time limit is the only requirement to proceed to the next stage. Destroying enemy combat units increases this time, as well as the player's score. The jets featured are modelled after real world military service jets. You can change the color of these jets. These include:
The player must manoeuvre 13 different stages. There is a 14th stage that can only be unlocked if you complete all the game's side missions. The player could also choose the game's music. You could switch to the After Burner 2 soundtrack by holding the throttle back and pressing the missile button. This also applies to the console version.
Home console version
On the 21st of April 2010, a console version was released on XBLA and PSN for 800 MS points or $9.99 respectively.
Play the main game. Has customizable options, called EX OPTIONS, which can change, for example, the number of continues or the amount of damage.
Play to gain the most score or highest rank. Has Medals, a sub-achievement system.
Play any previous stage unlocked in Arcade or Score Attack mode.
The game awards you special options for doing certain things in the game (kill a certain number of enemies, finish the game a certain number of times, etc). These options range from infinite credits to unlocking fast mode. It is to be noted that using these options does not disable trophies or achievements.
The contains 2 unlockable avatar awards. The first is a T-shirt, which is made available by unlocking every possible EX Option. The second and most difficult to unlock is a Gold Flight Helmet, which is unlocked by obtaining one of every medal in Score Attack Mode.