Shadow Warrior is a classic PC game from 3D Realms, the creators of Duke Nukem 3D, now updated for iOS by General Arcade. Does this first-person shooter port manage to secure a rating spot up high? Or does the adventure with Wang hang low, stumbling to and fro?
Gotta love these games built on the Doom engine, right? It's fun to run around and shoot walking 2D cutouts of monsters and such, no matter how dated the graphics look. But is it really all that fun to do on a touchscreen device? No. No, it most certainly is not.
The game is centered around the hyperviolent exploits of Lo Wang, a master assassin who resigned from working at Zilla Corporation when he learned that they were summoning demons in order to rule Japan. Zilla didn't like this and sent out demons to kill him. So now hellspawn are roaming the streets in attempt to assassinate an assassin. Sounds thrilling, right?
Actually, it could be, if the port's controls had been a lot better. I remember playing the original game, and while it was still pretty difficult on a PC, it's nigh-impossible to play with the touch control schemes. You can either move around with a floating thumbstick on the left side of your screen and then aim/activate buttons with the right side (shown above), or you can use two fixed thumbsticks for both moving and aiming (shown below).
Both are horrid and make the game unplayable. It's a problem when you have to try to run and aim at the same time, while being unable to shoot. And it's worse when the camera jerks around erratically if you try to hit the "attack" button, because you're no longer aiming manually. Before you know it, you're down to 20HP.
And it's all just so frustrating, because I'd love to play this game fully and enjoy some classic FPS action on the run. It's got all of the violence, the crude humor, and altogether campy goofiness of Duke Nukem 3D. In fact, the game even has an option for Retro Graphics, if you really want to tap into some nostalgia. But unfortunately, the quality of the controls just destroy any semblance of enjoyment one can derive from the port.
If you do manage to get a hang of the controls, you'll be treated to some intense gameplay. There are a variety of tools to use, from automatic weapons, swords, and even shurikens. It's kind of cool to slice a bad guy in half and see all of the 2D viscera gushing out. The environments aren't very accurate to Japan (well, neither is Lo Wang's name, really), but they're interesting to see. You'll never know what kind of Easter eggs lie in wait in a room behind a locked door, but half of the fun is finding out. You'll also hear Lo Wang spew a bunch of funny nonsense from his mouth, so that's kind of a saving grace as well.
Still, a bad port is a bad port. At least there's some solace in the fact that you can get the game for free in the App Store. This way, you can see the horrors of the control schemes without having to spend a dime. But for those with the patience and dexterity not common among mortals, the full version will cost $1.99. You'll get all of the goodies listed above, complete with new "enimies". Yikes.
Thanks to the controls, this game isn't unsuitable for just the under-17 crowd, but it pretty much shouldn't be played by anyone, especially those who don't want their memories of a fun game shattered. Sorry to deal you such a low blow, Lo Wang.