I'm sure I'm not the only one that scoffed at the notion that Doom 3 could be downscaled and crammed into the iPhone and iPod Touch, but id Software's John Carmack has a habit of exceeding expectations and the truth is that Doom Resurrection is a remarkable piece of technology that appears to be pushing the base hardware to breaking point.
Available on the AppStore now for GBP 5.99, Doom Resurrection is a graphical showcase that is up there with what we've seen from the very best PSP first person shooters: technology-wise, that's probably the best comparison I can come up with. This is nowhere near the level of sophistication seen in any of id's 3D accelerated PC titles, but on the portable it looks excellent, and moves relatively smoothly. I say "relatively" because it's clear that frame rate here is somewhat on the choppy side. I played the game on a first generation Touch, so performance should be pretty similar to the iPhone and it's fair to say that the game can lag, though it's only really noticeable in the animation as the scene itself usually remains fairly static during the most intensive blasting. Performance is apparently better on the second generation Touch (30FPS according to the developer) and I'm assuming that the 3GS should provide a superior experience too.
So with all that in mind, here's a quick cam video of the game in action with direct feed audio, taken from my Touch. It's disappointing that so much of the detail and the subtle work in the visuals is lost in this video, but it should give you some idea of what to expect from the game and the mechanics of its control system.
The actual gameplay itself is intriguing. The full touch controls seen in id's own Wolfenstein 3D Classic have been binned in favour of a mechanism whereby you tilt the screen to take aim. Touch buttons on-screen allow you to fire, reload, dodge enemy projectiles and seek cover. Items on-screen, such as extra ammo, are collected by "touching" them, as you might expect. The game itself essentially plays on rails, and while it works and is entertaining enough, there is the sense that the core brilliance of the Doom concept and those trademark precision controls have perhaps been diluted too much. This is no twitch shooter: lining up a kill takes a bit of time as you tilt the unit, and the game is fair in giving you the opportunity to respond effectively, but somehow the trademark Doom levels of suspense doesn't feel quite there as a result of that accommodation of the control method.
Overall though, first impressions remain impressive. The engine looks a clear cut above the best that iPhone currently offers, and while the on-screen pop-ups and help texts are somewhat intrusive and spoil the atmosphere early on, enough of the Doom 3 DNA soon shines through and it feels like a worthwhile buy.