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Top Gun: Combat Zones (GameCube) artwork

Top Gun: Combat Zones (GameCube) review


"Top Gun: Combat Zones is the only flight sim I know of for the Gamecube, and maybe the only one, but I'm not sure. What I am sure of is my review of this game, and that it will help you decide whether or not you'd like to buy, rent, or just play the game. Read on. "



Top Gun: Combat Zones is the only flight sim I know of for the Gamecube, and maybe the only one, but I'm not sure. What I am sure of is my review of this game, and that it will help you decide whether or not you'd like to buy, rent, or just play the game. Read on.

Graphics-

How should I start? Hmmm, N64ish, maybe? The graphics of Top Gun vary quite a bit. From the very realistic and great looking airplanes you'll be piloting, to the military looking menus the game provides. So far so good. But the graphics don't stay great for long. Once you start a level you'll notice a drop in graphical quality. First off, each mission begins with a scene of the area, your plane, or the enemy to introduce it. Shown after your initial mission briefing of course. But the scenes are shown in a choppy slow frame style, and sometimes things are moving, but you can't even tell they are. It looks like some still frames played quickly to show some bad animation. Worst I've EVER seen. The levels aren't spectacular looking. You have your war zones with dirt and industrial buildings, the South American plains which have no real natural features, and look like wastelands. You've got your canyon levels which are pretty nice, with water on the bottom, and steep craggy mountain peaks, and realistic looking rocks. There are even natural arches to fly through if you dare. And then there's your Arctic level. This one is actually gorgeous. I wish all the levels were arctic levels. Rich white glaciers, a dark mysterious sea rippling with waves, and your not so beautiful oil rigs. So there's good and there's bad to this game graphics wise, but overall they are below Gamecube’s average.

Gameplay-

Well now you're anxious to discover what you actually do in this game. Pretty basic; your pick mission and go, type of game. You start the game with one plane, and one mission to start. You start off each war with a few academy missions. They serve as tutorials. Then you can go on to your real missions. They never vary too much, from “take down these jets”, or to “take out these tanks” or “defend allied units.” They are all pretty fun; enough to keep you playing, but nothing new at all is done to make this game stand out if you have a good flight sim already. The game contains 36 missions in all, which is quite a bit. After each mission you are ranked on time, accuracy, and health. You can earn bronze, silver, or golds after each one. The reward is personal glory, and the chance to unlock new planes. This system seems to be glitched though, because it seems nearly impossible to get a gold on some of the easier missions. I got silvers on everything though.

Physics in the game are realistic for the most part, but everyone will have their fair share of fake crashes. Like exploding when you hit the water. Flying is smooth, and you have everything from machine guns, missiles and bombs to your disposal. You'll face enemy planes, tanks, gun turrets, and gunboats. On your screen you get a health meter, ammo count, radar, and altitude meter. Its got nice little touches like it becomes difficult to fly at great altitudes, and things like that. It all adds up to make a par flight sim. My two main gripes are that sometimes a bad FMV pops up in the middle of a mission, and if you're flying low to the ground during this, sometimes you automatically crash. Sucks doesn't it? And that it seems like you have to fly in circles too much during the missions. To shoot all your targets and everything, but it seems like they should have placed enemies in more strategetic spots. Oh well.

Audio-
There about 10 music tracks in this game, and you can switch to your favorites at anytime you like. They are all pretty decent ranging from rock, mellow rock, and techno. Sometimes its just a lot better to mute the system and put your own music on. The rest all sounds adequate. Everything sounds like it should, but not better.

Replay Value-
Well, you'll go back to a few missions at least. To either get a better score, to play for fun, destruction, to some dare-devil flying, or just to gape at the beauty of the arctic. Or test out the new planes you unlock.

Conclusion-
This game is an average flight sim. It does some things better than others, but is the only decent flight sim that I know about for the cube. It's a good buy if you're looking for this type of game. My only gripes are somewhat below average graphics, a fake scoring system, and a bit less mission variety than I wanted. But if your most current system is a Gamcube, and you are looking for a flight sim, go ahead and buy this game. If you’ve already played Ace Combat are the likes, this game may feel cheap and not worthwhile.

Rating: 7/10

G_Dub's avatar
Community review by G_Dub (February 08, 2009)

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