IT’S the 1980s again - wide shoulder pads, big hair, loads of makeup and that’s just the men! Yes some of us remember that period of excess only too vividly. That was a time when you could spend money! Of course who could forget one of the biggest movies of that period. Yes folks I am talking about TOP GUN (in case you were thinking of something else).
Yes TOP GUN starring the grinning Jack Russell himself, TOM CRUISE, poncing around on his motor bike (without a helmet) chasing horses and generally pretending he was taller, whilst flying around in expensive war planes, bucking the system and generally being the best there is (as usual) disobeying orders and winning the respect of his superiors and peers, a place where they all have funny nicknames like GOOSE (you don`t want to drop the soap in front of that guy) ICEMAN, and WOLF (no it isn`t the guy off GLADIATORS). Of course TOM is called MAVERICK (SHORTY or SMILEY would have been more appropriate).
I personally hated TOP GUN the movie, it was typical of that period of excess and shallowness, the theme tune is one of the lamest tunes of the 80s and I cannot get all misty eyed over it. In fact I agree with SID (Quentin Tarantino`s character in 1994 movie SLEEP WITH ME) regarding the true meaning of TOP GUN, the best explanation of the film ever!
OK fair enough, the bits without TOM CRUISE in are fine (the flying sequences that is) apart from the annoying radio chatter, and the fact that they are hinting at TOP GUN 2 has highlighted the genre again.
So we come to the game TOP GUN: HARDLOCK by 505 GAMES. Well, to start with there are no shower/locker room levels in this game, or in fact anything to do with riding motorbikes against horses (which might have been fun) instead its good old fashioned flying and air to air combat. I say old fashioned because that’s the kind of feeling I felt when playing TOP GUN: HARDLOCKED, more of an early noughties game than something of today.
The controls can be very irritating at times and I found I couldn`t make my mind up whether I wanted to use a controller, or my CYBORG joystick. Neither gave me a satisfying feeling, mainly because the joystick didn`t feel comfortable with all the different commands the game demanded, the game is obviously developed with the controller in mind, so I eventually stuck to that.
TOP GUN: HARDLOCK is a standard flight simulator and not the best around. The fact that there was no in cockpit camera view to start with was off putting, and the constant in game control prompts kept breaking my concentration.
The action is simple just lock onto an enemy press X and the computer takes over; you then just have to keep on the bad guys tail until you can shoot him down which is great for the first few times, but then this soon becomes tedious when I realised that its exactly the same for all opponents.
Now if you are after a real shoot `em up dog fight, flying game then please look elsewhere. TOP GUN: HARDLOCK isn`t really bad, it’s just dated and not very inspiring, the missions are the same as you would find in any similar game , you know the stuff avoiding radar, bombing missions and protecting other air craft.
So really TOP GUN: HARDLOCK hasn`t much to offer I am afraid; it’s all been done before and in a majority of cases better.
With 15 levels to plod through, it’s not exactly an afternoons gaming and the action is quite intense if somewhat repetitive. I mean just how many MIG`s can you shoot down in one session without getting bored.
The graphics are very nice with realistic aircraft and nice environments so it’s not all bad and it all looks nice and grainy.
There is an online element with up to 16 players but unfortunately I couldn`t find many gamers on line, but there are quite a few options like team deathmatch, carrier strike and aircraft escort, so the game is not short of content.
TOP GUN: HARDLOCK isn`t a bad game, it`s just nothing new. The game play is no different than half a dozen other flight games out there. OK it’s not boring action-wise, I just found it repetitive and the controls somewhat frustrating. It’s a fun action packed game at its core, just don`t expect too much from it.
I give TOP GUN: HARDLOCK 7 out of 10 as it’s not a dreadful game, just not very original.
Top Gun: hard lock
Developer : Headstrong Games
Publisher : 505 Games
Genre : Flight/Action
Release date : 6th April 2012
Review by Dayvid Ryan