Friday, 14 August 2015

Top Gun (NES review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1987

Top Gun is a flight simulator that's loosely based on the 1986 film of the same name.


Before each mission you have a choice of what lock-on missiles to take on-board and they differ in power and quantity. Once in the air the A button shoots while B fires missiles. Mission 1 eases you into things and those expecting an Arcade style experience will be disappointed as the action is slow-paced. The game doesn't do a good job of conveying speed as all you see are a few clouds passing by with little scenery. Sometimes enemy planes lock onto you from behind so you'll need to quickly manoeuvre to get them off your tail. At the end you'll enter a landing sequence; this is similar to a quick-time event as instructions pop-up and you have to follow them to land on the runway. It's notorious for being difficult but when it says to press Up you're actually supposed to press Down to lift your plane! For me, these sequences are the best part of the game as they're intense and remind me of a British TV show called The Krypton Factor! The second mission is similar except you also battle naval ships. Halfway through you start to run on empty and need to refuel; the QTE instructions aren't intuitive and it's frustrating until you realise that you need to hold the A button to speed up until the nozzle reaches the X in your HUD indicator. In the third mission you fight tanks in a desert setting; it takes forever for incoming enemies to appear and it quickly becomes boring. The final mission tasks you with fighting in the air, land and sea. Again, it's just more of the same and the action never really gets hectic until the end. There are bosses in missions 2-4 which are fun but easy to beat if you have missiles.

Top Gun does a few things well but it's too short with little variety and comes across as more of a tech demo. In reality, once you've beaten the second mission you've really seen everything it has to offer so there's no reason to keep playing other than for completions sake.



Random trivia: A sequel called Top Gun: The Second Mission was released on the NES in 1990.

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