You've always wanted to be Tom Cruise... now here's your chance.
Remember watching Top Gun way back when and thinking how utterly cool Maverick and his pals were? Remember dreaming of flying in one of those killer Tomcats and gunning down the bad guys only to hit the sack with a beautiful blonde? What a life . . . Well, with Fire at Willloaded in your drive, you can enter the world of Top Gun and play as Maverick himself. Strap yourself into the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat with Merlin as your co-pilot and take to the skies.
You begin Top Gun just like the movie: you and Merlin are selected to attend the Top Gun flight school under the instruction of Hondo (James Tolkan returns in this role). After some intensive training and combat simulation, you are stationed on an aircraft carrier and are ready to engage in some real dog-fighting. At this point, the game veers away from the movie and becomes more of a typical flight simulator: lots of missions with lots of combat. You must mix it up with everything from MiG-29s in the air, to structures on the ground, to destroyers in the seas. Fire at Will has over 40 missions that you must conquer, each one interspersed by video clips that provide the story line to the game. The constant dialogue during flight adds another cinematic aspect to the game and elevates it above other flight simulators into another level: that of a true interactive movie.
At the heart of it all, though, Top Gun is still a flight simulator, and it has to be judged as one. I have played many flight simulators in my time, and I rank this as one of the better ones. Though it is tougher to get kills in this one, and therefore the dogfights are longer and more involved, it's high level of realism and great play control make it enjoyable. You really feel like you are at the throttle of a F-14 when you play this game. Your cockpit is fully loaded with Heads up Displays and radar screens and the like to help you out and make the game more exciting. With Merlin's coaching and guidance and all sorts of gadgetry at your fingertips, you are able to fly like Maverick really would, racking up the kills like a top-notch pilot.
What is really impressive about Top Gun was how "professional" and well-made game is. The designers of this game took into account every detail of flight and spent time researching the various weapons, planes, and ships you encounter during gameplay. Check out the little encyclopedia of the above that is included on the CD, complete with voice narration and history of each object. The cinematic sequences that follow each mission are also top-grade. If you have a fast Pentium and a good video card, you can put the game into 640x480 at 64,000 colors and the cinema is positively astounding. You must have a fast computer/video combination to get high frame rates. Even at 256 colors the video looks great. The acting and dialogue is actually tolerable (something you don't often see in a computer game) and I would even go as far as to say it was good. The real footage and great scenery were also appreciated.
All told, Top Gun is a game that will be wholly enjoyed by flight-sim enthusiasts and others alike. It compares well with Wing Commander III/IV, combining cinema and action seamlessly. In an age where computer games are often put together way too quickly, without any attention to compatibility and quality, Spectrum Holobyte has come out with a rare gem of effort and dedication to the gamer. If you're looking for a game that is definitely worth the money or you were one of those die-hardTop Gun fans, this is the game for you. My only complaint: no Kelly McGillis.