Setup & Timing
Top Gun's navigation is excellent. Clearly labeled menus. "Multiplayer" is right on the main menu. Download time is rather respectable. Opening credits are quick.
Menus & Navigation
The functionality of the menu system leaves a lot to be desired. For most games, clicking on an option before the download is complete either does nothing or permits the download to continue in the background. Accidentally tapping in the wrong place during the dowload here, however, will cancel the process, requiring the process to be restarted.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
The basic play control of the game is alright: direction steering using the direction pad, firing using buttons, touch screen only for viewpoint swapping. Making the whole game touch-screen controlled wouldn't have helped the game, though. The biggest problem with the game's play control is the on-screen cues. The ground didn't move on the radar screen when - even when turning (just the compass), which really throws you off. The radar also doesn't indicate the altitude of the other pilots at all.
The game's visuals are rather stunning; at least, they are on the upper screen. The 3D for the first-/third- person perspective was better than a lot of other Nintendo DS titles. The lack of animation on the lower screen, however, cancels out all visual benefit the upper screen provides. The in-game sound effects were more than sufficient, and the constant engine sound replaces music. In-menu, however, the Top Gun Theme Song sounds terrific! Before the game begins, a complete list of details is revealed, but nota one of them is able to be changed.
Top Gun on the Nintendo DS system is a very pretty game (on the upper screen, at least). Unfortunately, being pretty doesn't make a game good. It took me several playthroughs to figure out what was going on and several more to feel comfortable with the process. Frustration set in long before that, however, and people I played the game with were more than confused. There's no in-game explanation about how to play. The radar is broken, at best. The fact that too high or too low of an altitude destroys the plane for a few seconds adds unnecessary difficulty for players not familiar wih the game (guests). Overall, the game is not unplayable, but it will take a LOT of patience. Anyone looking for a vastly superior Single-Card Download aerial dogfight would be better off checking out Star Fox Command.
Correct the menu problem while downloading (see above).
Program the radar to indicate other pilots' altitudes relative to yours.
Allow players to change play options like game duration, locations, aircraft (at least the host), weather conditions, etc.
Permit players to turn altitude-related restrictions/explosions on and off.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 49 / 100 (a.k.a. 24.5/50)
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