July 8, 2009

iPhone App of the Week: Doom Resurrection

Waiting for your fix of classic Doom? Well, id has delivered something that'll help you wait, but only for a little while. No, I'm not talking about Mecha-Hitler busting Wolfenstein 3D Classic, I'm talking about the iPhone-exclusive Doom Resurrection.
I'm not familiar with the world of Doom, so I won't get into this review thinking like I do. But the impression I have of the game story-wise doesn't seem to be of much significance in comparison to the storied full-fledged franchise. Still, the thing that probably matters more here is the gameplay, so I'll start walking through it then!

After a few seconds of the id Software logo, you'll be put right into the main menu screen. No cutscenes, no intro movies, just the Main Menu as indicated by the words on top (seriously though, who does that nowadays?). Anyway, it lets you select between two game modes (New Game for Campaign, Free Play for perfecting any level in the campaign), and it also lets you Resume your game from the last checkpoint. Not much to the game except the campaign, is the $9.99 77MB download still worth it at this point? Let's find out.

The game starts in a pretty straightforward manner. Basically, you just got into consciousness, you see what seems to be your comrades, you get their guns, you see zombies, then it's tutorial time.
Controls are actually surprisingly intuitive as it only has a low learning curve, but if you are not a fan of accelerometer-controlled games, stop reading now. It relies on the orientation of the device so you can aim, and if you want to shoot, just go ahead and press the lower-right button. The lower-left button (whose function is not defined until a little later after those two screenshots) is a context-sensitive button that lets you execute defensive maneuvers like dodging or covering. The control scheme works very well, personally, and the development team did a good job with the auto-calibration system (which calibrates the iPhone's accelerometers after every level). The only minor hitch is that, if you change the iPhone's orientation in any part of the level, you'll have to go to the pause menu to calibrate the thing again. Afterwards, well, the fun times continue to roll. But how to actually move, though? Well, you don't and you do. Basically, the game is a variation of Time Crisis or House of the Dead. Yes, it's an on-rails shooter.
But at least looks good! That's because it actually uses Doom 3 game assets, so there are times when you'd think that the iPhone's graphics somehow look much better than the DS or the PSP. The twist here, like House of the Dead: Overkill is that you can at least change the type of weapons you use. The character can only yield three weapons: the trademark BFG, a pistol and either an arm gun thingy, a laser or a chainsaw!
Still, the character models don't really measure up to the level of graphic fidelity that the environments achieve, which isn't a surprise. Plus, I've encountered some stuttering (but only once!) which shouldn't come as a surprise either. The important thing is that it's stable, responsive, and just pretty as hell.
At the end of the day, it's your gunplay that matters. The controls may not give you enough accuracy to always guarantee a headshot, but at least it's a hell of a lot of fun. If it's worth your money is up for debate, but personally it's much better than many of the other $9.99 games out in the App Store even if it doesn't offer the best replay value nor length. Future updates will probably cover those, though. Ahh, the beauty of the App Store (Happy 1st birthday on that note!).

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