There’s an unwritten, oft-spoken rule that games don’t make great films and films don’t make great games.
Yet, the original Top Gun was one of those rare exceptions. It transformed the homoerotic '80s thriller into a tribute to not-as-obviously-homoerotic '80s action games like Afterburner. By removing reason and physics, and replacing them with speed and on-rails shooting, it actually managed to be fun.
For Top Gun 2, Freeverse has ratcheted up the stakes with more planes, customisation, and even less-realistic plane-on-plane action.Maverick
The basics remain the same in the sequel. Top Gun 2 puts you in the cockpit of a modern jet fighter controlled with tilts of your iPhone or iPod touch.
Enemies fly in from all over, barrel-rolling and jinking like a well-armed aerial acrobatics team, unleashing hellfire on pilots who shoot last, ask questions first. Questions like "who are we shooting? It’s not the Russians again is it?"
Holding down the missile button allows your craft to target up to four bogeys simultaneously before letting rip, while holding down the Vulcan cannon button on the other side of the screen is just a quick way of having your plane destroyed.
Each of three playable aircraft come with unique offensive and defensive abilities. These range from realistic afterburners and flares to the frankly ridiculous shield and smart bomb.Hotshot
Every one of the weapons systems can be upgraded using the cash gained from completing the seven missions in the game, with the bank taking a surprisingly long time to accumulate
If you're keen on decking out every plane, replaying missions is a must. Skill isn't enough to bring home the bacon for the completionists out there - repetition is required.
Incidentally, other areas of Top Gun 2 have been subject to merciless budget cuts. The most obvious of these are the cheesy story sections with Iceman and Maverick and the danger zone grids that used to light up to indicate the next area of enemy fire.
Instead, you now have to spot the bullets and missiles on your own, which is made slightly harder when there’s a billion bullets all rushing towards you at once.
Adding to this bullet storm are frustrating boss battles. Despite the interesting scenarios, they drag out unnecessarily.
One such confrontation pits you against a bizarre parasol-flaunting monster tank that seems to be able to move outside the firing angle while still hitting your plane. The battle extends well beyond the point of intrigue to reach an annoying status.
At least the graphics are as sharp as ever. The simple arcade gameplay is still enjoyable to blast through, but annoying boss battles and the difficulty in judging enemy fire means that Top Gun 2 is merely the wingman to its maverick predecessor.