Monday 13 November 2006
Top Gun has a lot to answer for. Dodgy '80s haircuts. Unprecedented levels of homoeroticism thinly-veiled as masculine bravado. Tom Cruise's career. But consider its impact on gaming, too.

Gamers thrilled by the high altitude stunts of the movie demanded the experience for themselves. The result? 1987's Afterburner. With its moving cabinet and mock cockpit control stick, gamers were given a streamlined arcade taste of gunning down bogeys at four o'clock, though they were denied the thrill of playing volleyball with their scantily clad co-pilots.

Present day: still no volleyball - but we do get a thoroughly modern take on arcade flight combat for Wii. Based on an updated version of developer IR Gurus' multiformat Heroes of the Pacific flight engine, Heatseeker will be veering away from the nitty-gritty of flight simulation.

Instead, you'll begiven accessible controls and a small army's worth of planes to send to the scrapyard. With the world and his dog gunning for you, you'll be timing button presses to pull off heroic aerial manoeuvres, dodging whatever they throw at you.

Gun down enough enemies -and we're talking hundreds here -and stealth mode will activate, in which you become a missile lock-defying uber pilot - allowing you the freedom to destroy, unhindered by danger.

Story-wise, thanks to the return of our old friends 'the terrorists' packing those weapons of mass cliche you embark on a global trail of destruction using all the modern day kit that no aspiring Maverick - or if you're less cool, Goose - should be without.

Expect planes from the classic F-15 Eagle, to the cutting-edge F-22 Raptor to the mad crystal ball future vision of the Su-47 Berkut (which stands for Golden Eagle, apparently - expect the F-56 Gibbon when they run out of bird names). All make an appearance and all are packing more firepower than Schwarzenegger's back catalogue.