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Xbox 360 Game Review

Top Gun: Hard Lock


Format: Xbox 360
505 Games
RRP: £29.99
8 023171 028774
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 05 April 2012

Top Gun: Hard Lock features aerial dog-fighting at jet speeds and tailgating MiGs at Mach 2, while offering a "Hard lock" mode where players can perform air combat manoeuvres that brings them right into the action. Featuring the legendary F-14 Tomcat fighter jet and a number of additional licensed planes and weapons, and more than enough enemy MIGs to turn into smoldering rubble, the game is carefully mixed with just enough nostalgic references to remain true to its action movie roots...

Top Gun: Hard Lock... Erm... my first question is why? Why base a game on an '80s movie that most young gamers won't have heard of, let alone seen?

However, skipping past this rather strange marketing ploy, Top Gun: Hard Lock is fun, for a while. Priced at the £30 mark, it's not a bad game... actually, let me rephrase that. The campaign mode is fun, but the online multiplayer side of things is not quite so well realised.

The controls are easy enough to get used to - especially if you're not a hardcore flight sim fanatic. The left analogue stick is used to fly your plane, while the right one allows you to perform fancy moves (to evade enemy missiles or pursuing aircraft). If an enemy plane, or ground based weapon locks on to you with a heat seeking missile, you have the option of barrel rolling to avoid taking damage or you can fire-off decoys so that you no longer become the main target.

When attacking enemies you can switch between weapons. There's the ever present machine gun, but you can also use long/short range missiles for air-to-air combat or air to ground missiles to take out land-based threats. Then there's the "Hard Lock" mode where you can lock onto an enemy and engage in a dogfight to the death. If you are the target then you can evade your enemy by engaging in manoeuvres to keep out of their sights, and then you'll be given the chance to turn things around (by manoeuvring behind them) by following some simple onscreen moves using the analogue sticks. This is also used to ensure that a target you have in your sights can't evade your attacks. Keep them in your crosshairs for long enough and you'll be able to deploy a missile that's guaranteed to bring them down.

For game modes we have the single player campaign (which is loosely based on the Top Gun movie - but brought up to date with new characters. The biggest problem with this is that the story is rather dull and the vocal talent rather disappointing); Danger Zone (where you fight wave after wave of enemy without worrying about cut sequences and cheesy dialogue); and a number of online only multiplayer modes.

Online games are split into two types: Cooperative (Base Defence; Aircraft Escort; and Carrier Strike) and Competitive (Deathmatch; and Team Deathmatch).

The biggest problem with the multiplayer games is that this is just the latest in a long line of releases that try and cut the second hand market dead. You have to use an activation code which comes with the game in order to play online, so if you want to play with a family member or friend online (via the one console) you're out of luck. You'll need two consoles, and two games.

While probably not one to buy, it's worth renting (although you won't be able to play the multiplayer modes) if you're a fan of arcade-style ariel combat games.


Darren Rea

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