Top Gun, along with the Wizard of Oz, is one of my favourite repeatedly watched films of all time. I’ve seen it at the cinema more than once; I owned it on VHS and DVD. I got the special edition when that had a release, and I’ve ended up with the HD-DVD version too. I was very much looking forward to playing this game, especially after finding out that Jack Epps, the original screen writer for the movie had his pen in the story. What a shame then, that she’s lost that loving feeling. I hate it when she does that.

Rather than the need for speed, it’s more a need for a sick bag. The planes may be going at Mach two with your hair on fire, but the story has more drip-stink than a severe dose of vindaloo induced diarrhoea. It comes across like it’s been written by a ten year old, and the delivery of the lines is more like a school play than Royal Shakespeare Company. It’s difficult to believe that Jack Epps had anything to do with this at all. It’s mostly a compacted rehash of the original tale, just without any feeling or thrill and with all the naughty words removed – thankfully the cut scenes can be skipped, but the inflight banter sadly not. Crashed and burned, huh Mav?

In the main game mode you play as Maverick and this takes you loosely through the story of the film. From the Top Gun flight school, buzzing the tower and going wing-to-wing with IceMan, to the combat zones in the Indian Ocean. All the missions play out very similarly, having to destroy the enemy MiGs with missiles or guns, with the occasional ground target to strafe. Despite being a target rich environment, it’s all very repetitive and will take a relatively short amount of time to complete.

Controlling the aircraft actually feels very good. Flight controls are very arcade like, but it feels responsive and fluid. It’s easy to pull off a 4G inverted dive whilst all the while accompanied by a number of songs from the Top Gun soundtrack. The dog fighting can get pretty intense and you are able to issue some basic commands to the Wingman AI, such as attack or defend; however, it takes a lot more than just fancy flying to make a great game.

The plane models do look very nice, but the scenery is pretty bland, mostly featureless deserts and sea; it doesn’t get to look any better than that as the game progresses. There are a couple of additional game modes, which include Horde. This is where you get to fend off an ever increasing number of enemies until you get your butt kicked. Multiplayer is also supported across PSN, allowing up to sixteen players to engage in air-to-air combat across Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and “Top Gun” (last man standing), pitting you up against the best. Well the best PSN has to offer at any rate. It’s here perhaps, that the most fun is to be had – the problem is finding the players to dogfight with.

Top Gun isn’t the worst flight combat game out there, but there are also far better ones. It’s sad that such a great film franchise has been giving so little respect, as Top Gun the film has all the ingredients for making a fabulous game. It is reasonably cheap at £7.99, and if you’re a fan of the film, you might get something out of reliving your Top Gun fantasies. If not, you’re probably better off giving this game the bird.

Marty Greenwell

Marty has been gaming since the heady years of the ZX-81 and still owns most of the gaming systems purchased since those days, including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, SNES, Jaguar, Dreamcast and GameCube. Being a collection junkie (or more accurately, hoarder), he buys more games than he can possibly play, far too many of which are still sealed in their packaging. Marty favours RPGs and Driving games when it comes to genres, and is possibly a little bit too addicted to Disgaea. When not gaming he’s out frightening OAPs on his motorcycle, clad in black leather.

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