Movie sequels almost universally suck, but video game sequels? More often than not, they improve on the original.
So it is with Top Gun 2 ($2.99), the unexpected but very welcome follow-up to last year's widely praised Top Gun. It's essentially the same game, but just plain better in nearly every respect.
As before, you pilot your jet from a chase-plane view, tilting the iPhone for decidedly arcade-style steering. Top Gun 2 is more like a racing game than a flight simulator, as you're effectively on a straight-line track in the sky the entire time.
But what lovely skies they are. Top Gun 2's landscapes and seascapes are much prettier than the original's, with effects like antialiasing and shaders onhand to make everything smooth and detailed.
There's also a lot more variety in the game itself, starting with your choice of three jets: the F-14, F-16, and F-18. Each one comes equipped with upgradeable weapons and unique offensive and defensive capabilities, so your mission success can indeed depend on the fighter you choose.
The missions have interesting objectives--rescue Iceman! Stop an ICBM before it reaches the United States!--but ultimately they play out the same: blast attacking tanks and jets before they shoot you down, then survive the "boss" at the end of the level.
A little cliche, sure, but still tons of fun. If you liked the original Top Gun, you will, without a doubt, like Top Gun 2. I think my only complaint is with the platform itself: my iPhone's screen feels a bit cramped for this much action. Note to Paramount: I'd really like to see an iPad HD version of this game.
In the meantime, let's play another game. Hit the comments and name one movie sequel that sucked and one game sequel that rocked. I'll start: "Matrix Reloaded" (and, for that matter, "Matrix Revolutions"); System Shock 2.