Terror on Tau Ceti
No health packs left lying around here, just the occasional shield-recharge point. Save the game whenever you like? No way - find a "pattern buffer terminal" or forget it.
With very limited ammo - Marathon was the first FPS to hinder players with realistic clip capacities - combat evolved from Doom's scorched Earth to a more tactical endeavour as you lay down suppressing fire while constantly ducking back to a more defendable positions.
I hate wasps
Your average Mac didn't really have the graphical oomph, so the first game in the series windowed the action in a helmet HUD. That's gone from the new iPad version, which is based on the Marathon 2 code, open-sourced by Bungie during the development of Halo, and which sported a leaner, almost full-screen UI.
That means here there's room for the virtual joypad used in place of WASD keys. Most of Marathon's guns had two firing modes, so two keys, and they're replicated here too.
No meaner arena
What would later be called 'mouse look' when other games followed Marathon's lead and implemented the ability to look up and down - Bungie was the first to do parallax correction so vertical viewing didn't look wrong - is here controlled by moving a thumb around the screen.
The only downside: you can't fire and change your viewpoint simultaneously unless you move. You can with a mouse, and I hope this will be fixed in an update.
Coder Daniel Blezek who handled the iOS port got Bungie's support for the release, so it's not only free but uses original artwork. You can buy a hi-res textures upgrade through the app for £2.39, but the blocky retro look of the originals - candidates for Antique Code Show, no question - is no hindrance to a great game experience here.
And with all 27 original levels faithfully presented here - plus a trio of Easter Egg maps, including 'Grendel Lives' from an early 1993 beta release - you're in for a long play too. ®
Wield superior firepower
Dive into the melee
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Works? Sure. Well? Not really.
"To hear PC gamers talk about how first-person shooters don't work on consoles because the machines don't have mice, you'd think that's how it always was.
Not a bit of it. A lot of us playing in the early to mid-1990s on the first FPS games made do with just two handfuls of keys."
Well, sure, but none of you were very good, I'm afraid. ;) There is no significant competitive FPS player from the first few generations of FPS games who used keyboard-only controls, as far as I recall (and I was there, man). There were a few second-tier Doom speedrunners who used keyboard only, but all the top-tier players used keyboard and mouse. I can't recall a single notable deathmatch player who used keyboard only. It's just inarguable that the mouse represents a better control mechanism for rotating the player.
"I say this because the proof that FPSes are not at all dependent on a keyboard-and-mouse combo are the number of such games running on tablets, and if they can be played successfully there, they can be played on anything, console, PC or whatever."
I'd disagree here, too. I'd rather use a touchscreen than a keyboard or joypad to control an FPS, I think. I played a few FPSes on the Nintendo DS and found they played rather better than FPSes I tried on consoles with joypads. The touchscreen has many of the benefits of a mouse for player rotation - most significantly, you can easily perform a very small rotation or a very large one in the same amount of time and with quite a precise degree of control. Neither a keyboard nor a joypad is capable of this. I'd say it's sustainable to argue that you can play an FPS better on a tablet than on a console with a joypad.
Don't even joke about that.
Not after the damage 'Daley Thompson's Decathlon' caused....
I remember my first network FPS games were playing Marathon Infinity on a Mac Quadra and a G3 Powermac with me and my brother storming through matches with double shotguns. Good times...
Marathon had a tough learning curve compared to Doom and Wolfenstein at the time, but once you learn that you are not invincible (and that running while punching does more damage, HINT HINT) you can get through the earlier levels and get the strategy foundations right for the later levels, which sport more grenade spitting enemies than you can shake a Phfor fightstick at. The fact that the backstory and the ongoing narrative within the levels is absolutely top notch adds to the experience, plus haunting music and lots of dark corridors with scratchy, alien noises. And THAT motion detector lovingly stolen from Alien (the triangles, they come!!) . In some cases, this is even akin to pre Portal-esque AI humor:
"P.S. If things around here aren't working, it's because I'm laughing so hard."
Durandel, Quarantine, terminal 2 message 1
Oh god, I don't care if I've played it all through Aleph One - to the app store!
Whilst not a Mac fan, my friends worked in a graphic design office in the 90's and I had my first taste of multiplayer gaming on Marathon 2... a couple of times a week, we'd gather in their office at the end of day and play the sub games like 'kill the man with the skull' and so forth.
I soon moved on to PC multiplayer games, but never enjoyed them properly until getting DSL 10yrs ago... But that 1st multiplayer experience had me hooked right away.
It's just a shame that the gaming community is now full or moronic teenagers and bad losers... and I no longer enjoy playing with such childish people.
I'm guessing the reviewer is not an FPS player.
There simply *are not* a lot of FPS games for smartphones and tabs, and even fewer that work well.
Secondly, anyone who took FPS playing seriously, even in Wolfenstein 3D days, has always used a mouse - especially for multiplayer. You just cannot achieve the analogue turning speed and precision with a console pad, and certainly not with a touch UI. Consoles give you aim assist, massive hitboxes, rail levels and enemies all on the same vertical plane as the player all to make up for the deficiencies of pads. Dual-analogue pads make FPS games bearable on consoles, but they are a long way from the ideal. The only console control method that has the potential of coming close to a mouse is the Wii / Move/ Kinect.