reviews\ Jan 1, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Top Gun Firestorm - GBC - Review

The plane rises slowly off the runway, then seems to fly 50 yards off the hard deck. It can turn on a dime, and though the weaponry is limited, there are multiple targets – all ripe for the taking.

Top Gun: Firestorm, a Titus release for the Game Boy Color, is an attempt at capturing the feel of flight sims on a handheld console system. This game seems to be capitalizing on the recent war on terrorism – with its storyline, but lacks substantial game play to make it worth the effort.

This is the situation: An unknown terrorist organization has been attacking various installations belonging to the United States and its allies. The best U.S. pilots have been taken to the Navy’s fighter weapons school, a.k.a. Top Gun, to prepare them for countering this situation. There are many scenarios placed in front of the pilots, all meant to simulate the “real thing.”

You have been given charge of an F-14 Tomcat (in name only), with the task of surviving the 12 missions over four different terrains. Each terrain is made up of obstacles that must be avoided, and enemies that must be vanquished.

To fans of flight sims, this game is a no-brainer. The Tomcat does not act like a jet fighter, but the tactical situations are silly. You have a variety of weapons, both air-to-air, and air-to-surface, but the plane gets to a certain level – which is not capable of flying over buildings – and then simply stays there.

There is some dogfighting involved, as well as ground-launched weaponry, but the action is so static that the game play comes off as an arcade exercise in futility.

The viewpoint is up and to the side of the action. You can access a map, which will allow you to see the overall mapboard as well as the targets available. But the action is so surreal that it really lacks the ‘firepower’ of a title associated with the Tom Cruise feature film.

The controls are seemingly simple: the D-pad controls take-off and landings, as well as the plane’s flight. The B button cycles through weaponry, and the A button fires the weapons. Select allows players to access the overhead map screen.

The sound is simple, and really doesn’t add much to the overall game.

The graphics are flat and though they try to emulate a three-dimensional feel, they fall short of that target.

This is a rather ordinary game, with two difficulty levels, but true fans of flight sims will not be pleased with this rendering.

Though it contains violence, this program is rated for Everyone.

No doubt Top Gun: Firestorm had the best of intentions, and granted it is a Game Boy Color release, but this game just does not provide the in-flight game play fans of the genre are used to.

Gameplay: 7
The action is fairly seamless from the start of a mission to its end, but the mapboards are limited as is the targeting system.

Graphics: 6.5
This game features the god-mode perspective, up in the clouds at an angle, but the animation isn’t all that terrific, and the overall look of the game is flat.

Sound: 6.5
This portion of the program offers nothing that will entice fans of flight sims to overlook some of the graphical deficiencies.

Difficulty: 7
There are two difficulty levels, and the controls are kept simple – which is a boon for newcomers to this type of game.

Concept: 6
The storyline is tired, and the conceptualization of that element is the same.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 6.5
This is not what flight sim fans have been waiting for. Planes do not turn on a dime, nor do they climb to a level only slightly off the hard deck and stay there. This game does not do a very good job of actualizing the movement of a jet fighter. It is an arcade game lacking some of the power-ups associated with that style of gaming. It is a simplistic look at flight sims.

Above Average

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