Top Gun (video game)

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The popularity of the 1986 film Top Gun resulted in several licensed video games that have been released since the film's theatrical debut.

Original releases[edit]

Top Gun was released in 1987 for the IBM Personal Computer (PC), Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (with an equivalent version for Nintendo Vs. System arcade cabinets). The Commodore and Spectrum versions were developed by Ocean Software while Thunder Mountain handled the PC version of the game. Konami developed the Nintendo versions. The NES version was released on November 1987 in North America, December 11, 1987 in Japan and on November 30, 1988 in Europe and Australia. According to Game Over by David Sheff, the NES version sold over 2 million copies.

A sequel was developed for the NES by Konami. It was released as Top Gun: Dual Fighters in Japan on December 15, 1989, as Top Gun: The Second Mission in North America on January 1990, and in Europe and Australia on October 24, 1991.

Gameplay[edit]

Top Gun's main menu
Top Gun in game

Piloting an F-14 Tomcat fighter, the player, as Top Gun's main character Maverick, has to complete four missions. Given a choice of missiles, and starting with a training mission, the player is sent after an enemy aircraft carrier, an enemy base and finally must destroy an enemy space shuttle. The game had two endings. If the player lost but achieved a minimum score of 50,000 points, a still shot would be shown of the player being presented the Top Gun plaque that was awarded to Iceman in the film. If the player completed all four missions and successfully landed on the aircraft carrier, a scene would be shown of the F-14 taxiing on the carrier and the player waving to the LSO crew.

Gameplay takes place from the cockpit's point of view and consists of two main themes: dogfighting and landing the aircraft itself. For the dogfights, the player is allowed to pick between three missile types each varying in the target locking area they could be fired at. Landing of the aircraft can be particularly difficult as it required the player to control both speed and angle of aircraft. The point of view for the final part of the landing sequences is from the side of the aircraft carrier with the F-14 coming in from the right side of the screen.

The Second Mission[edit]

In the 1989 sequel, the player assumes the role of Maverick in an F-14 Tomcat as he is summoned for a new operation, divided into three missions. Though not explicitly stated, there is a strong implication that the 'enemy' featured in the game was indeed the Soviet Union. Boss characters featured in the game are all highly advanced Soviet prototypes from the time; confidential weaponry as such was not likely to be available for export. The first mission is to destroy the enemy's Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack. The second mission (which includes an obstacle course through a forest in which the player must avoid crashing into trees) is to destroy an advanced version of a Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter. The third (and final) mission (which has two obstacle courses of avoiding lightning bolts and laser beams) is to destroy an enemy space shuttle.

Aside from the mission mode, the player can also select a one-on-one dogfight mode against seven aces or another player. The 'enemy aces' have stereotypical Russian-styled names such as 'Gorky', 'Bombkinsty' and even 'Stalin', further implying the fact that they were pilots of the Soviet Air Force.

In this game, the primary weapon of player's F-14 is its auto-cannon with unlimited ammo; three types of missile payloads, named after their real-life counterparts, including AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, and AIM-54 Phoenix can be attached. It should be noted that in the first game, all missiles carried by F-14 are fictional models. In this game, 'better' missiles like AIM-54s simply have a larger effective lock-on area, while in reality AA missiles are distinguished by differences in guidance method and maximum effective range. In addition, missiles can be used to lock on and destroy ground targets in-game, however in reality those models are dedicated air-to-air missiles with no air to ground capability.

The game features greatly improved graphics, in-game music (which the first game lacks), and an easier carrier landing sequence than the first game.

The computer game[edit]

The version for computers is a one-on-one dogfighting simulator with 3D wire-frame model graphics; versus more traditional sprite-based graphics and straightforward gameplay of the NES version. The game has two- and one-player modes; in the latter, the opposing aircraft is flown by the computer.

Fire At Will[edit]

Top Gun: Fire At Will was released by Spectrum Holobyte in 1996 for PC (DOS and Windows), PlayStation, and Mac OS, but was an aborted title for the Nintendo 64. It was the first Top Gun game published since Second Mission. It is also the only title to feature any actors from the film, with James Tolkan reprising his role as a commanding officer (he is called "Stinger" in the film, but is called "Hondo" in Fire at Will). The game's overall plot focuses on the player-character, Maverick, going to combat in Cuba, North Korea, and Libya against a secret group of mercenary pilots called the "Cadre."

Hornet's Nest[edit]

Top Gun: Hornet's Nest was released for PC by Atari and Zipper Interactive in 1998. Instead of the F-14 Tomcat, players have the opportunity to pilot the F/A-18E. It was considered to be a complete washout and received bad reviews for its noticeably lackluster design and gameplay.

Combat Zones[edit]

Top Gun: Combat Zones was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. It was developed by the now-defunct English developer Digital Integration, and published by similarly defunct French publishers Titus Software.

It was later released for PC and Nintendo GameCube the following year.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is composed of 36 missions spread over three eras (distinct periods in history), intended to illustrate the history of the Top Gun combat school and its near future. In each era, missions are located both at the Top Gun academy at Miramar and in a live combat zone. Upon gaining access to each era the academy missions must be performed before moving to the combat zone itself, but while the former do introduce new game concepts, aircraft and weapons they are not simple training missions - players must face tough opponents and live fire to succeed. The game features various Navy fighter aircraft and bonus fighter aircraft.

Only the first era is accessible from the outset, and is set in South East Asia, towards the end of the Vietnam War (erroneously showing the F-14 engaging in combat with North Vietnamese forces, despite never having fired a shot in action during that conflict). During the second era, the action is set in the Persian Gulf States circa 1990; although the game story does not make direct reference, parallels can be drawn to the real-world Gulf conflicts of that time (such as hunting for Scud missiles and protecting oil refineries). The final era is set within the Arctic Circle and depicts a future conflict based around disputed borders and a global fuel crisis.

Nintendo DS[edit]

Top Gun for the Nintendo DS was released on February 23, 2006 in Japan and May 3, 2006 in North America. The game was developed by Interactive Vision, and published by Mastiff Inc in North America, and Taito in Japan.

The game lets players play through a story-driven campaign (featuring appearances by characters from the film) as well as a set of solo missions and a multiplayer mode that supports up to 4 players.[1] The bottom screen is used as a map and weapons readout. There are two control schemes offered, but there seems to be no difference between them. However, the game was poorly received.[2]

Nintendo Game Boy[edit]

Released in the 1990s, Top Gun 2 is a version for Nintendo Game Boy, just like the first game you get to fly in a F-14 Tomcat trying to complete missions against the Soviet Union. Users try to destroy everything that is moving but for enemy bunkers and tanks. The game offers extra modes and jet fighters like MiG-29 Fulcrum or the others USA F-series, take combats with top enemy aces flying MiGs.

iOS and mobile phone versions[edit]

Top Gun for iOS was announced by Freeverse.[3] It is a 3rd person flight combat simulator that uses the accelerometer to pilot the plane around and touch firing controls. The plot involves the Miramar Top Gun School featuring cartoon versions of the film characters, Maverick, Iceman and Viper.

Mobile game publisher Hands-On Mobile (formerly named Mforma) have published three mobile phone games based around Top Gun. The first two were top-down scrolling arcade shooters. The third game takes a different approach as a third-person perspective game, similar to Sega's After Burner games.

Hard Lock[edit]

At E3 2011, it was announced that a new game, Top Gun: Hard Lock was in development. It was released in March 2012 for Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 3, by 505 Games and Paramount Interactive. The plot of the game revolves around a pilot named Lance "Spider" Webb who graduated from Top Gun under the auspices of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (the main character of the 1986 film), who is flying missions during a blockade of a new terrorist regime (a former US ally who had a coup) in the Persian Gulf. Spider flies missions from USS McKinley in the Gulf, and his missions involve shooting down hostile planes and destroying missile boats. Eventually, he will fly bombing runs over enemy camps and bunkers, and the last mission involves assisting NATO ground forces, an airfield, and special forces troops in attacking the enemy forces.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Top Gun for DS Review - DS Top Gun Review
  2. ^ Top Gun Reviews
  3. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2009-03-26). "Top Gun Preview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 

External links[edit]