SEGA Master System
Action Fighter

Action Fighter is a staple Master System title offering some simple fast and at times challenging gameplay. It was originally released in the arcades in 1986 and like several was ported to the Master System then subsequently ported to several home computers of the time including ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga.

Although somewhat well known and enjoyed by Master System owners, Action Fighter has never had any sequels or updates.

Action Fighter European Case
Action Fighter European Case

Case Quote

"Take the motorcycle from Hand-On, equip it with hi-tech weaponry and give it the ability to transform itself into an aircraft or car - and you've got ACTION FIGHTER!"


You are part of a fighting force taking on terrorists across the world.

Case Quote

Take the motorcycle from Hand-On, equip it with hi-tech weaponry and give it the ability to transform itself into an aircraft or car - and you've got ACTION FIGHTER!


For the most part the game is a simplistic vertical shoot 'em up. The game starts on the roads on a motorcycle with a single shot weapon and taking to the air having collected enough upgrades. A mission ends after a boss encounter which can be either land or air based.

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You need to acquire upgrades in the form of letters floating about the screen to transform your motorcycle into a car and then a rudimentary aircraft. Should you miss an upgrade it will reappear shortly afterwards. The letters correspond to:

A = Right Front section
B = Left front section
C = Right rear section
D = Left rear section

When letters A-D have been collected your motorcycle will transform into a car upgraded with twin shots.

Upgrade to Car

The final two upgrades are:

E and F = turbojet engines. Your vehicle takes off shortly after.

Upgrade to Aircraft

When on the ground, the SEGA Bus gives a much welcome improvement in firepower. You need to board it by driving into the back of it Knight Rider style. It can sometimes be tricky as it has a habit of moving about the screen quickly usually knocking you into destruction. It is also possible to destroy it! If successful your vehicle will be upgraded with two powerful forward rockets. Entering the truck a second time gives you another missile (Button 1) which is only effective against the helicopter that attacks. Entering a 3rd time will make your vehicle invincible for 15 seconds.

Sega Bus (power-Up)

Controls for the game are fixed and they are:

The D-Pad controls speed and direction when on the ground. As the motorcycle and car, UP is accelerate and DOWN is decelerate. LEFT and RIGHT move from side to side. As the aircraft all directions on the D-Pad are used to move around the screen.

BUTTON 1 is a missile as the motorcycle or car (after upgrade) and an Air-to-Ground missile when in aircraft form.

BUTTON 2 is fire. You begin with a single shot. Most enemies need several hits before they are destroyed. Rockets are much more powerful and will rip through enemies.

BUTTON 1 + 2 will trigger your vehicle transform to and from motorcycle and car. Only available when the upgrades ABCD have been collected. This ability useful if needing to move through small gaps.

As you begin a mission you will have a time limit of 999 displayed in the bottom right of the screen. You can die and return to the game constantly while this is counting down. Beyond the time limit you are reduced to a number of lives which depends on how many you have earned with every 10000/20000/40000/800000 etc points). When you restart it will be with minimal weapons.

You will die by being shot, colliding or crashing. Hazards in the driving section will include other the vehicles on the road which will nudge you and you can nudge them. The motorcycle will be more vulnerable to this so be prepared to trigger a vehicle transformation if necessary. A striking helicopter appears randomly but frequently. Moreover, the danger will come from the shape of the road itself and to assist the top-centre of the screen will display upcoming directions.

During the flying sections dangers will come from plenty of incoming fire from choppers, fighters, homing missiles, tanks and boats. Enemies can get sneaky shots in as they go off screen so avoid remaining at the bottom. Also cloud cover will hide projectiles momentarily.

In this mode you have a bomb which can be used to take out ground targets including buildings.

Power-Ups appear at frequent intervals. They are:

Yellow P - Gives Missiles.
Geen P - Destroys all onscreen enemies.
Brown P - Extra life (motorcycle).
Blue P - Invincibility for 20 seconds.
White P - Gives an instant boost in manoeuvring speed.
Red Flag - These are not worth any points but after collecting a certain amount strange Cat-like faces begin to appear on the landscape! There is a yellow and a black cat the purpose of which is unknown to me.

The 2-Player mode of the game is simply a competition where players alternate their turns when they die.


There are 5 rounds or missions in the game. It is a minor but fun challenge. The tricky parts come in the air as everything is out to get you.

Action Fighter Screenshots

Round 1 - Destroy 3 nuclear submarines "CLARKEN" 5000 points bonus.

Mission 1 Mission 1 Mission 1 Boss

Round 2 - Destroy 6 missile tanks "BAROMET" 10000 points bonus.

Mission 2 Mission 2 Mission 2 Boss

Round 3 - TOP SECRET.

Mission 3 Mission 3 Mission 3 Boss

Round 4 - Destroy 6 anti-aircraft tanks "SPHINX" 100000 points bonus.

Mission 4 Mission 4 Mission 4 Boss

Round 5 - TOP SECRET.

Mission 5 Mission 5 Mission 5 Boss

Cat Faces

Cat Face Cat Face Cat Face

Cheats and Tips


Use these as names when starting a game for advantages. When a cheat has worked the name inputted will change to Player 1.

DOKI_PEN - Starts with car upgrades and missiles.

HANG_ON. - Start game with car upgrades.

SPECIAL. - Start game as the car, will be invincible to bullets in the air and 5 lives when the timer runs out. Note you can still be destroyed by colliding with enemies.

GP_WORLD - Start the game with 5 lives when the timer runs out.

Dodge the Chopper

When the helicopter appears transform back into a motorcycle and it vanishes.

Arcade Version

The original arcade version ran on the System 16A arcade board which also ran games such as Fantasy Zone and Shinobi. It has some significant differences.

Action Fighter (Arcade Version)
Action Fighter (Arcade Version) Action Fighter (Arcade Version)

It is possible to play using an emulator such as Mame.


Perfect! Play it with Dega or KEGA Fusion Emulators. You can download these from the Master System Emulators page.

Master System SEGA!

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