Jackal (Special Forces Unit Jackal) was initially released in North America as Top Gunner, though the most commonly known version - the NES version - retained the title Jackal (in North America and PAL regions). Jackal is an overhead run and gun game released by Konami in 1986. Players take the role of a jeep driving soldiers on a mission to rescue their POW comrades in Vietnam.
For its console release in Japan, for the Famicom Disk System, it was renamed Final Commando: Akai Yousai (Red Fortress). The FDS disks had considerably less space than modern NES carts at the time, and is one of the few instances where content was removed from the Japanese version of a NES game rather than the more common inverse.
"Your brothers-in-arms are hostages behind enemy lines, and you're their only hope for freedom. But the firepower you'll face to rescue them is awesome. Rescue the POWs in the buildings. You'll need a pocket full of miracles, and the ferocity of a wild JACKAL."
These opening lines from the game sum up the gist of the story. In the game, players take the role of Col. Deckar (driver) and Lt. Bob (gunner) in single player mode, and Cpl. Grey and Sgt. Quint are added in cooperative two-player mode.
In Jackal, players traverse through six levels on their armed jeep. The aim of each level is to rescue POWs from buildings in the stage and transport them to transport helicopters. After each successful drop-off, players fight a variety of bosses. Points are awarded based on performance (by both enemy kills and POW pickups), eventually rewarding the players extra lives. If the player rescues enough prisoners, weapon upgrades are rewarded, in addition special flashing prisoners award these power ups.
The player controlled jeeps feature a primary and a secondary attack. The primary weapons in the game are grenades (upgradable 4 times). The grenades first upgrade to a "rocket launcher", then an enhanced ranged rocket launcher, then a shrapnel-producing rocket launcher (area of damage) and lastly an enhanced area of damage rocket launcher. As a secondary weapon, the jeep features a machine gun which can only be fired upward. The machine gun lacks the power of the explosive weapons (and can not be used to rescue POWs from buildings) but can be used as a minor complementary weapon while dodging enemy attacks.