This is the story of one man's fight against a cold and unfriendly civilisation. All traces of modern social etiquette and mental evolution have disappeared. The modern steel and cement jungles of the first world have become home to a barbaric and violent breed of street gangs and thugs. This is the world after a nuclear war, a world where no man is safe from his own brother.
Human beings are particularly versatile creatures, able to adapt easily to their chosen environment. All except one particular human, Jonathan Rogers, known to his friends as Jungle Rodgers. And who can blame him?
Jonathan doesn't want to stay in downtown Manhattan, since it's one of the worst hit cities after the war. His only escape route is via a launch pad way off to the right of the screen, where he can escape to the outer colonies and be free from all the hassle of existing in an average computer beat 'em up.
Of course, to get to this nuclear free haven - a sort of Hackney-on-the-moon - he has to fight his way through the obligatory billions of screens scrolling from left to right, punching and kicking every living thing that comes into view. Just for a change, there are more things to kill than the usual collection of muscle-bound skinheads with chainsaws. There's the odd rabid dog or two racing around, not to mention the thousands of rats and weasels that race underfoot. True variety.
This sort of game has been done to death, and the real problem is that it just isn't getting any better. After seeing a dozen or so of these things, you begin to wonder if the term 'practice makes perfect' actually means anything. Only in a perfect world, it seems.
Gameplay is always an important factor, but maybe not to the programmers of this little baby. OK, so using a key on the keyboard as a second fire button isn't unheard of, but it is usually the space bar, not something as fiddly to hit as the left Amiga key.
It's this process of having to let go of the fire button and swinging wildly at the keyboard whilst trying to hold the joystick in a set position that really finishes off After The War. That plus the fact that the controls are amazingly unresponsive anyway, Come on, this is supposed to be an action games!
Visually this is very reminiscent of Manhattan Dealers. Large sprites are all very well, but animation is also a major part of making a game look good. Two frame animation does not give this game an arcade quality feel, and as for the short, almost violently abrupt spot effects, well, they don't really add an aural character to the game. In fact, After The War doesn't have any character.