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REVIEW: Street Fighter IV (iPhone)

I know what you are probably thinking, "Who, at CAPCOM, thought Street Fighter IV, arguably the most hardcore fighting game on the market, would work on iPhone?" What's more amazing is that someone over at CAPCOM U.S.A convinced CAPCOM Japan to give this project the green light. Fortunately for the end user it works and it shit's all over your steak, in a good way. It's also every bit as frustrating as it's full fledged PS3/360 counterpart. You may want to invest in one of those high impact cases for your iPhone. I've come close to chugging this thing through the wall however come to think of it, that may be another issue altogether.

When it was first rumored to be on it's way, only Ken and Ryu were expected but I'm happy to report that the full roster consists of 8 playable characters . Classics like Chun-Li, Blanka, Guile, M. Bison, and Dhalsim man fuck that guy all made the cut along with new comer Able. If you're in anyway familiar with Street Fighter you'll feel right at home here. CAPCOM really found a control scheme that's works beautifully. For a game that requires such precise controls you may be surprised that it basically comes down to Punch, Kick, Special and Focus but the command lists are packed full of kickass. They also managed to bring in one of my favorite aspects of SFIV proper which is the Focus attack. A Focus attack is a basic defensive mechanic that if used effectively can lead to some massive offensive manuevers. Casual players may not notice the minute details of dash-cancels, armor breaks, or even EX moves but they are all here.

It's nothing short of amazing what CAPCOM was able to cram into this little gem of a game. It's quite obvious they are aiming towards a casual market by including an Auto Guard and Special Move assist option but turning those off really makes you not only a non-pussy but it really makes the game shine. Balancing is always another issue that's brought up in fighters and while I can see the concern in full fledged aracde and console versions it's not so much an issue here. I'll simply reiterate that they nailed the control scheme and it's on screen button placements are entirely reconfigurable. With only one button assigned for kick and punch old tactics are thrown out the door, where one could usually counter Blanka's heavy Electric Thunder with a low light punch or jumping light kick, it's now a matter of simply taking the hit or rethinking your old tactics entirely. Super and Ultra combos, even EX moves aren't completely nerfed with assist is set to on, they still require use of virtual joystick and button combinations, they're just simplified. It's hardcore if you want it and casual if you don't. Pussy.

Speaking of pussies, there's no online component but there is multiplayer over Bluetooth, unfortunately all of my friends are pussies and are either afraid of owning an iPhone for fear of being called "fanboys" or would rather play something thats not $9.99 and shits on steaks. While I won't disagree entirely that $9.99 seems like a lot, depending on how much you like or love Street Fighter you'll get hours of gameplay from this little package. In solo play there are 4 different modes . Tournament is the usual run through from one fight to another, Free-Sparring is basically an infinite version of Tournament, Dojo lets you take on different challenges, and Training lets you get comfortable with the controls while also allowing you to give the computer controlled AI different actions to perform while you get acquainted with your characters skill set. You even save any battles using the REC option immediately after a fight allowing you to re-evaluate your strategies.

I didn't have access to an iPhone 3GS for comparison but I would think it runs smoother on it than my 3G. While I did experience some light framerate issues, it was nothing that would hinder gameplay. Again this is not a fighter that will start championship tournaments, the key here is how much fun it will make future visits to the dentist's office.

Street Fighter 4 is available from the the iTunes App Store (click opens iTunes) for $9.99 and was published by CAPCOM U.S.A

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REVIEW: Doom Resurrection (iPhone)

Throwing in qualifiers always feels a bit cheap but in some cases it simply must be done. Doom Resurrection is fucking great, for an iPhone game. First off this is on an iPhone, not a PSP, meaning the expectations of the platform justify the means, so if a game blows away what little hope you had in it being any good then the qualifier must be noted. Gaming is a feature of the iPhone, not the purpose.

For starters, on paper, the game doesn't sound all that great, possibly causing some hesitation from would be buyers, however if given the chance it is executed rather brilliantly. id Software designed Doom Resurrection from the ground up for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. Taking full advantage if it's accelerometer for, of all things, aiming, the end result could have been disastrous but this is id we're talking about here. Tilting the device in any direction causes the reticule to move accordingly and works unbelievably well. Set your crosshair sensitivity and you're pretty much set. The game will automatically calibrate the accelerometer at the beginning of every level, however if you are constantly shifting positions simply pause the game, select calibrate from the menu and your reticule will re-center itself. It may sound tedious, but in practice, it's not and you'll find yourself thankful that you can.

I'm bypassing the story entirely as there isn't one to really give two sandwiches about. This is Doom folks not the bible, although it's just as ridiculous except in this Hell guns somehow magically appear. Pacing is where this game really shines. It starts you off by slowly introducing the game mechanics so that you can eventually learn how to manage more than one thing happening on screen at once. It's basically an on-rails shooter, not unlike, House of the Dead, and sharing some similarities to Metal Gear Solid Touch. Unlike Metal Gear though, which uses tapping anywhere on the screen to shoot, your HUD provides a make-shift gamepad lay out. You tap the bottom right corner to shoot, top right for reload, top left to switch weapons and bottom right for dodging certain enemy attacks. Again it may sound terribly convoluted but the pacing helps all these elements work together and before you know it your battery is dead. Think of it as a rhythm game of sorts with a cavalcade of fucked up time signatures. Imagine watching Disney's Fantasia while listening to Dillinger Escape Plan.

There's variety in the weapons available and while it's not hard to miss new weapon pickups, ammo is hard to come by if you aren't quick at catching it off screen. To pick up ammo you simply tap on it, adding even more variety, the completionist in you will love the secret items scattered about as it takes some quick reflexes to acquire them as well. Version 1.1 hit about 2 days ago adding a new Challenge mode you see in the pic above. It's a great way to replace an iPhone of adding some challenge for those of you with a more hardcore mindset. They range from simply achieving 300,000 points in the first section of Level 1 to finishing Level 9 with 75% accuracy on Nightmare Mode. That's brutal. Yeah and Rodney King says hello.

I have to mention Doom Resurrection originally debuted at the top-tier $9.99 price point. However I was lucky enough to pick this up during id's QuakeCon discount period for $2.99. As of this post it's currently up around $6.99 no word on whether it will budge anytime soon but even at that price I would definitely recommend it. Hands down. Unfortunately the one thing I was a bit disappointed with was the frame rate. It tends to choke when to much is going on at once but it doesn't render the game unplayable by any means, it just makes me wish I had a 3GS. I'd love to see how this runs on that hardware. The loading times aren't too bad either. If you have a 3GS definitely pick this up, if you only have a 3G or 2G, hit this up if you can spare the Lincoln and his two Washington hos. Don't waste your time with Duke Nukem. I've shat better diarrhea than that. I shudder to think someone thought that was a good idea.

I'll post some video up soon!

Doom Resurrection Gallery

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Mini-Review: Metal Gear Solid Touch (iPhone)

Starting up Metal Gear Solid Touch on the iPhone was, for lack of a better word, nostalgic. From the fade in of the Konami logo to the fade out of the end credits. Every sight and sound used in Metal Gear Solid Touch is taken directly from it's PS3 counterpart, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. For die-hards of the series and audiophiles alike, this is nice touch. Every bullet that exits the M4, SVD, and even the RPG, down to the impact are identical to MGS4. Let me make this entirely clear, the similarities end there. Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the Metal Gear Series, decided to hand the reigns over to Kojima Production's first ever lead female producer Yasuyo Watanabe. Kojima explains that his decision was made, first and foremost, due to her familiarity with the device.

Looking to make a solid game without nearly as much complexity seems to have paid off. The gameplay relies more on the action and tactical, of the Tactical Espionage Action subtitle, the former games in the series carried. This being the only one that doesn't. No espionage here. Hmmm. This being an iPhone/iPod Touch game, the mechanics are entirely touch based. The gameplay consists of indirectly moving a reticule around by placing your finger anywhere on the screen and tapping on it to fire. Ala Virtua Cop from back in the good ol' arcade days the enemies and their weakspots are surrounded by a circle which provides you with three types of data. As an enemy appears on screen, the outer circle will start to form letting you know how much time you have before it attacks, the inner circle lets you know the enemy's health and depending on the color, it's distance. If the circle is white it can easily be taken out with the M4. If it is grayed out you must pinch the screen inward or outward to zoom in and use the SVD (Sniper Rifle). There's no fumbling with switching weapons here, the game will auto swtich based on your whether or not you are zoomed in. Editors Tip: Use your index finger to point and shoot and with your index finger in place, use your thumb to slide in for the zoom. It works amazingly well and keeps your aim on target.

There are power ups that pop up from time to time in the form of, series mainstays, Kerotan and GAKO, a rubber frog and duck respectively. Hitting these power ups will provide you with extra health, stealth (invincibility) and an RPG, which immensely aids in later encounters with bosses and G.E.K.K.O.s. Health can also be restored by simply going to cover which is done by removing your finger from the screen, but in a tense firefight you have to ask your self if it's worth blasting the GAKO to get an instant health boost, as opposed to waiting it out, seeing as your cover is not entirely indestructible. Throughout the game you earn Drebin Points which are used to purchase wallpapers for your iPhone. Not the best payoff but it'll definitely give the game some replayability. Upon beating the game once you will unlock "Survival Mode" which basically gives you one life to run through the whole game. Yeah, Metal Gear doesn't fuck around folks.

The game ends entirely prematurely, hence the Mini-Review, due to it not being complete yet. You only reach the end of Act 3 and are told Act 4 and 5 will be coming in a later update, which for early adopters will be free but, as of now, unknown if the price will rise or not if you decide to pick this up at a later date. Currently the game goes for $7.99 on the Ap Store (click opens iTunes) and, being the Metal Gear fan I am, loved every minute of it. It may be wishful thinking but I'm hoping they try something a bit new with the last two acts as they were the most experimental of the 5 in the full version of MGS4 on PS3. I guess it's just a wait and see situation, and as always, I'm sure it will be worth the wait. The game does lose a bit of it's charm but as the first entry of the series on the device I couldn't be happier. Video coming soon.

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