Hero of SpartaDeveloper: Gameloft
Price (as reviewed): $5.99 / £3.49 from the AppStore
Hero of Sparta
may be one of the older iPhone apps, but it’s also one of the most popular – and one we’ve only recently got around to playing if we’re totally honest. We blame the spate of fantastic releases lately.
Hero of Sparta
is for all intents and purposes the iPhone’s version of the popular God of War
series, with players being happily invited to bare their six-packs, curl their biceps and repeatedly hammer the attack button for about four hours straight. That’s basically what Hero of Sparta
offers and it’s actually not as tedious as it sounds.
The major reason the game manages to stop itself from becoming totally boring is that the graphics and frame rate for the game, while not very good by DS or PSP standards, are actually quite detailed and stylised compared to most of the iPhone releases. The fluid feel of the controls as you guide King Argos through eight linear levels also helps, with a number of combos and finishing moves at your disposal from the start.
TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL...then tomorrow I was thinking we could have pizza?
As the game moves on, there’s a fair amount of unlocks, which help keep the game feeling fresh even though you’re still not doing anything all that different from before – just tapping the attack button again and again, occasionally pausing to enter QTE-driven fatalities. All the different weapons and upgrades offer is a slight change in power, speed and appearance – but that doesn’t stop you pushing forward for the next one.
That said, the replay value on offer here is fairly limited and unlocking a new super-hard difficulty mode doesn’t exactly compel us to play it again.
As a handheld title and God of War
-alike, Hero of Sparta
is remarkably polished – but don’t expect to still be playing it in a months time.
Resident Evil: DegenerationDeveloper: Capcom
Price (as reviewed): $6.99 / £3.99 from the AppStore
The arrival of Resident Evil
on the iPhone was a pretty momentous event at first and Degeneration
quickly shot up the sales charts and got rave reviews from acolytes of the series on the AppStore. It’s a little disappointing then that a closer inspection of Degeneration
reveals it to be a fairly lack-lustre port.
The game content itself is taken directly from the old N-Gage version, and is based on Capcom’s CGI film of the same name, though the game is from the point of view of Leon Kennedy. At the start of the game Leon is literally dropped into Harvardville airport and tasked with rescuing as many survivors as he can after a plane full of zombies crashed into the building and special forces sealed the area. Most importantly, Leon has got to ensure the safety of a senator trapped in the VIP lounge.
The stiff controls and awkward camera don't do Resident Evil: Degeneration any favours
While the gameplay is pretty firmly based on a scaled-down version of the Resident Evil 4
system, with all the inventory management, weapon upgrades and over-the-shoulder shooting you’d expect, the focus of the game is shifted somewhat. Rather than solving the puzzle-solving and exploration that was so integral to other games in the franchise, Degeneration
is a full on shooter. Ammo is plentiful, zombies few and the locations utterly linear – none of which is bad news for an iPhone game.
What is bad news, is the control system, which includes the stiffest and most unresponsive virtual thumbstick we’ve yet seen – one which you can’t alter the sensitivity of either.
The general design of the interface, which uses buttons on the right hand side to switch Leon between different modes, is fine. The fact that you can’t walk and shoot, nor turn fast enough to make combat bearable, is a much bigger issue for Degeneration
Verdict: Resident Evil: Degeneration
looks like a great buy, but the game is greatly let down by unresponsive controls, long loading times and a camera that feels like it's tied to a angry elephant.