Price: FREE ($1.99 to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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There's nothing wrong with wanting to walk down a very violent memory lane by enjoying the wonders of Doom-style FPS, Shadow Warrior, but there is plenty wrong with its restrictive control system. It's a game that struggles to convert well to the iOS platform and suffers greatly for it.
Upon first release in 1997, Shadow Warrior never quite gained the attention that the likes of Doom or Duke Nukem managed, even despite its more tongue in cheek roots. Offering a fairly functional tale of revenge and world domination, the title offered plenty of tongue in cheek humor as well as the then revolutionary inclusions of climbable ladders and transparent water. The game, although, dated still holds up reasonably well, too. There are simple puzzles to solve amongst the hack and slashing initiated by the main character's katana, as well as shurikens, sticky bombs and plenty of different guns.
The major problem is the choice of control methods. There's the choice of two different ways of doing things, neither works hugely well. One involves using a virtual pad to the left to control movement while a pad to the right affects attacking. In this case, it's tricky to simply move the camera around and look around. All too often, it's easy to hit the attack button rather than look. The latter control method is even worse, offering the ability to look around but making attacking harder by placing the button in an awkward place. Worst of all, it makes jumping ridiculously cumbersome, an ability that proves to be rather important throughout the game.
Converting an FPS to the touch screen is never easy, and games specifically designed for iOS have struggled, but this really is a bit of a mess. Any control system that veers away from being an irritant to an outright hinderance that can get its player killed is a huge issue. Unfortunate given that Shadow Warrior has aged quite well, other than that. Of course, its graphics look dated but there's some interesting level design to explore, plus the potential to see how FPSes have evolved. To aid players all the more, there's even a cheats menu unlocking God mode for those who wish to back down.
It's not quite enough to make Shadow Warrior anything more than an idle curiosity, though. Stick with the memories rather than struggle with the implementation.