Top Gun (NES)

Top Gun Box Art

Top Gun

System: NES

Release Date: November 1987

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Flight Sim

Three games in a row, three movie franchises. This time, it’s the sky blazing Top Gun. The closest thing the NES has had to a flight sim so far is Star Voyager and that was a bad space flight sim. How is Top Gun? Well, honestly? Not much better.

An enemy with a missile on his tail.

You pilot your F-14 Fighter and are armed with an unlimited amount of machine gun fire that you use with the A Button, and a limited supply of missiles, which you lock and then fire with the B Button. You have a choice at the beginning of each mission whether you want 40 weak missiles, 20 medium strength missiles, or 10 extra strength missiles.

Making a perfect landing. First try.

Enemies come in three flavors: Air, Sea, and according to the manual, Land. They can shoot guns at you or missiles. It took me a little while to realize that the bullets and missiles had to land in the square on screen to do damage. Unfortunately, I realized this after I had already grown tired of the game.

Trying to shake a bogey off my six.

There are two portions of Top Gun that have become well known on the internet thanks to James the AVGN. If you press start in the middle of a mission, you summon a refueling plane. You need to follow the instructions on screen to hook up and replenish your fuel and missiles. This isn’t really that hard. At the end of each mission, you need to land your plane on a friendly aircraft carrier. The AVGN had nothing but difficulty doing this, exploding over and over again. You’re told the altitude and speed that are optimal and have some wiggle room, so it’s really not that difficult, I did it every time without fail.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are fine. The enemies are distinguishable, allowing you to focus on the greatest threat.

Sound: 1.0

Other than the title theme, sound is grating, because it’s all shooting and passing sound effects.

Gameplay: 2.0

Controls work like they’re supposed to, but I think the guns don’t hit as often as they should.

Difficulty: 2.0

This is the kind of game where level 2 kicks your butt over and over and over again until you master it.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I wouldn’t call it a ton of fun, but it’s playable.

Overall Grade: 1.5

Top Gun earns a C-. It’s nothing I’d go out of my way to play, except to see if I could stick the landing on the aircraft carrier and sock it to James!

Top Gun Video Review on YouTube