Top Gun: Combat Zones
Top Gun: Combat Zones might be the first next-generation console game from the Titus-owned developer Digital Integration, but it's not the company's first-ever flight combat game. The UK-based company has a long history of developing top-notch flight simulations for the PC including F/A-18E Super Hornet, Apache Longbow, F-16 Fighting Falcon and Hind. With Top Gun on PlayStation 2, though, Digital Integration has diverged a bit from its simulation roots and has crafted a more console geared flight combat game that offers more arcade-styled action than its PC efforts.
Top Gun offers two basic modes of play, including the Game mode and Quick Start mode, with Game being a story-based scenario and the meat and potatoes of the game. In this mode, players get the chance to take to the air in three different military areas from the '70s to the present. Beginning with Era 1 you must first tackle five training missions before you head into the war zone for some actual mission based air-to-air and air-to-ground combat.
Completing the goals of each mission will open subsequent missions and completing an Era will open up the next. There are more than 30 missions in all that take place over locations such as Southeast Asia, Northern Russian and even the Miramar base that was made famous in the movie that this game got its name from. The missions themselves are fairly standard as far as flight combat games go; with a nice mix of mission goals that include everything from the very generic destroy all targets to more elaborate ones that you have doing things such as providing air support for an evacuation.
And along the way, you'll get to fly some advanced fighter jets beginning with the F-14 Tomcat that you get to fly at the game's onset and continuing with fighters such as the F-18 Hornet, F-22 Raptor, F-4 Phantom, JSF, YF-23, Osprey and Harrier. And once you unlock these fighters, they'll be available in the game's Quick Start mode that lets you jump into missions with customizable settings like the degree of threat from enemy craft and location of the battles.
The game's control can be best described as an arcade-styled flight simulation. It has some flight simulation roots when using the normal control mode in that the control stick is used similarly to a joystick in a real-life fighter jet in that pressing up and down controls the pitch of the craft, while pressing left rolls its left and pressing right rolls it right.
5 years ago