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Highway to the danger zone
The classic eighties movie that is Top Gun has had a number of licensed games over the years and this one is the sequel to the pretty decent Falcon-style flight sim, Fire at Will. It wasn't the most realistic simulator out there, but it was entertaining and accessible, features which make it into this sequel, whose only real issue is that it doesn't do anything very different from its predecessor. As before, you take the role of Maverick, the hot shot pilot with an attitude, and instead of following the movie's plot, here you'll find yourself caught up in an all-new campaign which features thirty missions to fly through. Also as before, you'll be flying an F-18 Hornet, with the campaign taking you to Siberia, Columbia and the Persian Gulf. Other modes include an instant action option, where you can just get on with the flying, and a multi-player section, while full motion videos are used for the briefings in the campaign to add to the immersion (although don't expect Mr. Cruise to make an appearance). Hornet's Nest is certainly not a game for flight sim veterans who demand full on realism, as the AI is pretty weak and the essential gameplay lacks many of the in-depth options that vets require. It thus feels a bit more like a glorified version of arcade shooters like Afterburner rather than a true flight sim, but there is no denying that it is actually pretty fun. The visuals haven't aged well, while it's not going to keep you going for a long time, but for a simple bit of aerial action, this is reasonable stuff.