Mobile Games Roundup • Page 2

Coin! Pitfall! Splinter! Nightjar! Prose!

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction

  • Xperia Play - 3.00.
  • Also available on Android - 3.00, iPhone - 2.99 and iPad 2.99.

If the recent 3DS port of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was a sullen disappointment, it looks like a peerless masterpiece next to this amateurish attempt at bringing Sam Fisher to the mobile realm.

When it first came to iOS and Android, I took one look at the hideous virtual stick controls and thought better of trotting out more black words about virtual stick controls. But with Xperia Play's excellent combination of dpad, buttons and thumb pads, that no longer applies to the same degree.

Unfortunately for Gameloft, the vastly improved control system only highlights what a terrible game it was in the first place. For starters, you can't even invert the Y axis, making it basically unplayable for about 50 per cent of us.


Lacking conviction.

And even if you're able to adapt to that, the game feels like a hapless approximation of what Splinter Cell might have been like if Ubisoft had designed it for the PS1 in 1997.

If the horribly angular, poorly animated visuals aren't enough to put you off from the start, the undercooked stealth certainly will, featuring some of the most brainless AI you've ever seen.

If you bother to play it properly, then it's possible to gradually creep up behind enemies and dispatch them with a swift melee manoeuvre, or mark targets and take out a whole group at once.

But once the game's hilarious limitations become fully apparent, you'll soon realise that it barely matters if enemies discover you or not. You can simply wander up to anyone and smack them with a melee smash, and shrug off the small matter of a few bullet wounds to the chest.

From that point, the game descends into a farce where the biggest challenge is not switching it off immediately. One day Gameloft will bring us high-quality mobile versions of its sister company's console hits. Until that day, avoid this at all costs.


Game Room - Pitfall

  • Windows Phone 7 - 2.49.
  • Free trial available.

And now, the final insult. After months of being routinely charged over the odds for ports of two-year-old iOS games, Windows Phone 7 owners can now enjoy Atari 2600 games for a mere 2.49 a pop.


Falling down.

To be fair to David Crane's legendary platformer, it was bloody brilliant at the time but that time was 1982. In an era before Miner 2049er, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy graced our screens, Pitfall was one of the first home titles to get anywhere near the arcade standard, and it promptly sold four million copies.

But nearly three decades on, it's little more than a charming museum piece. Even with triple-layered rose-tinted hippy specs on, your wistful memories will turn to ash as the harsh reality hits home.

You can't really knock the game itself. It is what it is: a simple 2D run-and-jumpathon where you have to collect 32 artefacts within 20 minutes. It's tough, it's exacting, and one of the very few 2600 titles that doesn't look irredeemably awful.

On a touchscreen system, though, it's obvious within about two seconds that it's a total waste of everyone's time. Things like achievement points and leaderboards mean nothing when the game itself is as fun as tucking into a maggot and offal sandwich.

Fortunately for all sane retro gamers that don't come running at the merest whiff of nostalgia, you can find out all of this by downloading the free trial. If you want to slap money down, more fool you.


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