Preview | Top Gun Hands-On
Step Into The Danger Zone…
Format: PS3/PC(eventually) | Genre: Flight Sim | Publisher: Paramount Digital Entertainment | Developer: Doublesix Games | ETA: USA – 17/08/2010, Europe – Not Long After
Having never thought of himself as a Maverick in quite those terms, Steve K Peacock slips into a fetching pilot’s jumpsuit and has a bash at TOP GUN.
ONE OF the most memorable things to come out of the 1980s, other than me, is Top Gun. Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, homoeroticism and jet fighters. And cock rock. Lots of cock rock.
Oddly enough, despite the clear ease with which it would seem one could make a Top Gun game, previous attempts have been less than stellar. There’s more to Top Gun than the air combat, there’s a feel to it, a distinct style as there is in any half-way decent film. Previously, this went ignored, developers having focused on creating the next great flight sim and often falling short. However if what I was shown today was any judge, this new game is something different.
Nestled in the library of the most palatial building I have ever been allowed inside, Ollie Barder – co-designer of the new game – was showing off. I walked in at the end of another group’s presentation, and as such was greeted with a most pleasant omen. The very first thing I heard as the door opened, before the gunfire and the jet engines and the other journalists, was Danger Zone.
But I’ll begin at the beginning. Top Gun is, as you might expect, a flight game. I use the term “game” rather than “sim” because, in keeping with the ostentatious displays of the source material, it fits more into the arcade school than the simulation. From a choice of six planes you, as Maverick, can undertake eleven different missions drawn from a script provided by one of the writers of the film. We were assured that the campaign mode sticks relatively close to the plot of the movie, albeit with changes made to accommodate a better experience for gamers, but we didn’t see too much of that particular mode.
What we did see was horde mode, which is where Danger Zone comes in. Due to the sort of Hollywood legal corkscrews that no-one can truly understand, the Top Gun soundtrack does not come packaged with the rights to the film itself. Instead, Doublesix have had to make do with their own music and – for the two important tunes – impeccable cover versions. That the themes are indistinguishable from the film versions is important, especially for Danger Zone as you will be hearing it a lot.
Like Dead Ants
Horde mode is, as you might expect, you versus a never ending swarm of Ruskies. The more you kill, the better your score, and the higher difficulties result in larger rewards to push you up the leaderboards. And, for what may be a first for me, killing enemies in Top Gun is not asdifficult as you might think.
For my hands-on experience I was presented with the F-14. It’s quite a nimble thing, being able to turn on a dime and perform high-G turns. Overall it’s very responsive. What Doublesix has done is look at games like IL-2 Sturmovik and HAWX and taken what works, tweaked it, and put it into Top Gun. So we have planes that are not only responsive, but deadly too. The HUD (styled after that of the film, again) is unobtrusive and easy to understand – the missile lock on being a particular favourite. Keep an enemy in sight long enough and the cursor will slowly slide into position. When you’ve got tone, light up some commies (I need to watch more Top Gun to get this – Ed.). The feedback is immediate and constant, from the fiery cloud of one plane to the whoops and cheers from your co-pilot congratulating you on a job well done.
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