If you liked Doom, you'll love these iOS games
17th Dec 2011 | 12:00
FPS games for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
iOS FPS games: going beyond Doom
Before Doom, id Software released another game that established the elements of what we now recognise as a first-person shooter. You need only check out the iOS version of Wolfenstein 3D (£1.49, Universal) to see the lineage.
A 3D world, movement and strafing performed on one controller, another used to look around, an arsenal of weapons, health packs and (semi) intelligent enemies. It's a little crude by today's standards, but as a piece of nostalgia it's well worth a look.
Clearly this was an avenue to be further explored, so id followed it up with the legendary Doom. The iOS version of this landmark title – rebranded DOOM Classic (£1.99, Universal) – is an almost perfect recreation of the original game.
We say almost, because after the release of the original game, creative players were able to make their own levels and content to share with the Doom-playing community, which isn't really possible with the iPad.
Apart from this, it's pixel for pixel the same game that wowed young gamers back in 1993. The developer has kindly included three different control options, though why they bothered is anyone's guess, since only the standard set-up – movement on the left pad, camera on the right – is any good.
Due to its age, it neither looks as good as modern FPS games or plays as slickly. In addition, the satanic themes and gore that so shocked the authorities back in the day now seem comparatively quaint.
Like Doom, Marathon 1 (Free, iPad), looks a little creaky in its old age, but it remains playable and particularly interesting for the fact that its creator was none other than Bungie, which went on to bring Xbox gamers the massive Halo franchise.
Remaining on a retro theme for the moment, the original Doom inspired a number of developers to create their own first-person shooters, a particularly colourful and infamous example of which is Duke Nukem 3D (69p, iPhone; 69p iPad).
It was notable for stealing Doom's crown, not in terms of popularity, but in the wave of controversy it stirred up on its original release. Starring titular hero Duke Nukem, it's fair to say that much of the fun comes not from its fairly predictable gameplay, but from the guilty pleasure of seeing the ludicrously macho Duke swear and slaughter his way through a landscape full of hideous aliens and big-breasted women… if you like that sort of thing.
Doom's creator, id Software, has been very active on iOS with titles that push the boundaries of being a first-person shooter. DOOM II RPG (£1.99, iPhone), while an interesting enough project for Doom fans, is possibly not the biggest draw for younger iOS gamers raised on more sophisticated role-playing fare.
Visually and thematically, it's very much a Doom game, but here the flowing first-person action is replaced by slow turn-based gameplay.
Next up comes DOOM Resurrection (£1.99, iPhone), which once again pits the player as a lone soldier up against the hordes of Hell in a besieged Martian mining facility. The visuals have had a thoroughly modern makeover, leading to some truly unsettling demonic encounters, but more importantly the gameplay, while retaining some of the aiming and shooting aspects of a regular FPS, is entirely on rails, with the movement through the levels being strictly choreographed.
The iOS version of id's new big FPS franchise – RAGE HD (£1.49, Universal) – is a similarly on-rails affair, but the combination of an enjoyably gruesome plot and superb visuals make it a nightmare world worth visiting.
Two of the best first-person shooters come from Gameloft, a company known for creating its own games that are heavily inspired by well-known titles. N.O.V.A. (£2.99, iPhone; £2.99, iPad) and N.O.V.A. 2 (£4.99, iPhone; £4.99, iPad) are the closest you'll get to Halo on iOS, and while the lack of originality may irk a few people, there's no denying the skill and resources the developer has lavished on the games. They're visually stunning, boast slick control systems and feature stable multiplayer content.
The most ubiquitous first-person shooters of the past decade have been those based on realistic military conflicts, and iOS gamers have plenty of such games to choose from. Brothers In Arms Hour of Heroes (£2.99, iPhone) is a relentlessly action-packed WWII romp despite some dodgy controls.
Its sequel, Brothers In Arms 2: Global Front (£2.99, iPhone; £2.99, iPad), is a much more polished affair and adds a multiplayer mode to the mix.
EA delivers a slightly disappointing, but admittedly dramatic, take on modern warfare with the muscular but flawed Battlefield Bad Company 2 (£1.99, iPhone, £4.99, iPad).
However, it once again falls to Gameloft to show how FPS gaming on iOS should be done with the Call of Duty-inspired Modern Combat: Sandstorm (£2.99, iPhone; £2.99, iPad) and Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus (£4.99, iPhone; £4.99, iPad), both of which feature great looks, scripted events that keep you utterly engaged in the story, and flowing gameplay courtesy of a well-implemented control system. In addition, the multiplayer offering in the second game is particularly compelling.
Those seeking a little more tactical depth from their first-person shooting should take a look at the squad-based Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard (£4.99, iPhone; £4.99, iPad). You still control a central character, but are accompanied by two other squad members, to whom you can issue orders to take on individual enemies, flank doorways, plant explosives and the like.
Lastly, we've got two final titles that strip away all the single-player shenanigans in order to concentrate on an online multiplayer offering. Archetype (69p, iPhone; 69p iPad) is a visually appealing shooter with an excellent balance of weapons and big, open, well-designed maps.
Not quite so slick, but featuring a rather pleasing rewards and upgrade system, is Eliminate Pro (Free, iPhone) in which you can either play free or go for In-App Purchases.
First published in Tap! Issue 10
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