Top Gun: Fire At Will
With Wing Commander IV being such an underwhelming affair, it's nice to see that interactive movies can work if you don't try and do anything too ambitious and keep the fmv (Fuzzy Motion Video) to an absolute minimum.
Top Gun succeeded where Wing IV failed because it didn't allow the fmv to overwhelm and impede on the gaming experience. Spectrum Holobyte proved that, used sensibly, fmv can be vfm if you keep it short and sweet.
It's worth pointing out that Top Gun wasn't actually marketed as an 'interactive movie', but as a flight sim that was based on a film that was released ten years ago - everyone's expectations were therefore not tremendously high. Wing Commander IV, on the other hand, was very much sold as an 'interactive experience' that "starred" Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell - and cost a whopping $10 million to produce. In this case expectations were unfeasibly high because of the money involved and inevitably people were disappointed (as they were with the budget-busting movie Watcrworld), because they couldn't see where the money had gone.
Maybe Wing IV isn't such a bad game after all (Chris admits to loving it) and perhaps it was just a victim of too much hype. MicroProse have proved with Top Gun that interactive movies as a genre can work, you just have to remember that ultimately games players want to play a game and not sit staring at ten minute 'segments' of flickering fmv. If they did. then pcs would come with an mpec card fitted as standard and Mark Hamill would be a very busy man.
Download Top Gun: Fire At Will
Have a yearning for an action game with a little more spice? Like your shooting mixed in with a touch of strategy? It could be that Top Gun: Fire at Will is the game for you. Spectrum Holobyte has been famous for producing some of the finest PC flight simulations around, but this marks something of a departure for that company. An action shooter for the PlayStation, and soon for the Ultra 64. Of course, the initial premise of Top Gun may seem more than a little familiar. Fans of Namco PlayStation games may recognize this as looking more than a tad similar to Air Combat. It also bears a striking resemblance to the less well-received Agile Warrior.
The action is very much mission-based. At the start of each level you are given a specific objective, or often, a specific number of targets to "acquire". After that, the game becomes pretty much a free-for-all in the skies as you tear through enemy airspace, making impossible turns and generally having a lot of fun. Where Top Gun differs from the other games mentioned is in its attention to detail in both backgrounds and enemy animation.The planes are huge, detailed and impressive. The ground targets, while very difficult to destroy, are a lot more interesting in gameplay terms than the aerial vehicles, requiring more skill, patience and strategy to attack.
The action-orientation is enhanced by the inclusion of "boss" planes at the end of each section.These behave in a very aggressive manner, spewing missiles and death in a very uncomfortable fashion.
FMV scenes help generate a movie-like atmosphere, helped along by the dulcet tones of James Tolkan, the commander-guy in the original Top Gun movie, as well as a few characters who pop in and out of the action (largely to tell you how dumb you are).
All in all, an exciting and impressive release, and we're looking forward to a finished version.