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4 years ago

Hero of Sparta II- app review

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Hero of Sparta II- app review

Can Gameloft deliver with their sequel to Hero of Sparta? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Though not perfect, Hero of Sparta II (HOS2) delivers pure action and colorful graphics on Apple's noble iPhone and iPod Touch.

HOS2 is an action game spun in the Greek mythological era of the Gods and Goddesses. You play the warrior Argos. I won't get into his story here, but in this game you are sent on a path of redemption. You return to Earth after spending some buddy time with Hades and immediately the action starts. The controls are different than its predecessor. The main diffidence is that Argos can now jump. This adds a much needed play mechanic to HOS2. In the weapon department, you start off with the basic shield and sword. After every level or so, you start to collect a variety of different and useful weapons including: wings that can be used to glide and attack, a helmet that give Argos the ability hurls fireballs, and my favorite the claws which give you God of War like attacks against your enemies.

The levels are mostly linear, but on occasion you can find a hidden area that has extra gems. You can collect red balls that can be used to increase the attack and magical attack of each weapon. Blue gems to replenish magic and green gems to gain back health. You can also collect additional gems that can be added to your weapon of choice to gain attack/magic bonuses like a +2 to attack, for example.

Pulling off attacks is fun. You have an attack button that when pressed successively, gives you a combo attack on your enemy. However, you can add a modifier to your attack by swiping up, down, left and right. If you use the down motion it will typically cause a "shield break" maneuver with your selected weapon to destroy a shield or some other object. Using the up swipe will launch your enemy in the air for you to unless even more combos.

I am very pleased with the variety of levels in HOS2. You have a lot of different interactive events from running acorss a crumbling bridge to swinging with the claw weapon like a vine to climbing towers. The enemies in HOS2 are not as great. I found that I was constantly fighting the same 3-4 enemies every time with an occasional 5th monster added just for variety. A new enemy feature which is enjoyable is "taking control" of the enemy. For example, the Minator can be controlled by following a series of button presses on screen. You can then control the Minator and attack the baddies. Regretfully, there is not much of a boss battle. There is a boss at the end of every level in HOS2, but you rarely actually attack them. Instead, you typically dodge their attacks or dodge environmental variables. This is somewhat disappointing, but there is plenty of action when fighting during the levels.

The graphics have really be stepped up in this release. There is an insane amount of detail close up with a wide variety of color and textures; make no doubt, HOS2 is very pretty and impressive. However, all of this comes at a controversial cost in this reviewers opinion; framerate. HOS2 moves nicely if you are in a relatively enclosed area with a couple of enemies, but this is rarely the case. You are typically fighting 5 or more bad guys at once in an open area and this is where the framrate begins to suffer. I estimate this game runs at an average of 15-20 frames per second. This can become frustrating when trying to string combos together,etc. I can only hope that Gameloft will update this app soon. Gameloft did an awesome update to GT Motoracing Academy to the pleasure of many fans and I hope that they do the same here.

Overall, HOS2 is a must buy for any action fan. If you are looking for the silky smooth framerate of say, N.O.V.A, look elsewhere. If you want a solid, fun action game that pays homage to God of War, then this is the game for you.

[$6.99- iTunes Link]

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4 years ago

Counting iPad, Apple is 3rd largest portable computer maker

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Counting iPad, Apple is 3rd largest portable computer maker

With 3.3 million iPad sales last quarter, if that number is lumped in with MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop sales, Apple reportedly slingshots over Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba and Dell to claim the #3 spot in portable computer market share.

Which is okay for headlines and graphs, I guess. As longtime readers know, I've repeatedly said market share isn't anywhere near as important for Apple as profit share. With just 3% of the smartphone market they still make twice the profit Sony, Nokia, and RIM make combined. With single digit PC share they still make umpteen billions on higher end, higher margin Macs.

Sure an iPad can't do everything a Mac laptop or Windows or Linux laptop or netbook can do, but it can apparently do enough things well enough, and maybe a few things better enough, to be selling a million units a month with no sign of slowing down. It's not cannibalizing Mac sales to do it either. If it's cannibalizing netbooks and bargain laptops, already practically loss-leaders for Intel, Microsoft, and the manufacturers, while significantly boosting Apple's bottom line, then that's very interesting for the market.

Especially when Microsoft still seems intent on competing with tablets based on Intel chips running Windows 7 -- sometime in 2012. My guess is HP/Palm and BlackBerry maker RIM are more likely to try and emulate Apple's more mobile OS, higher margin strategy.

But back to the headline and graph: 1) should iPad be counted as portable computers alongside laptops and netbooks, and 2) what kind of market does that make where Apple is earning huge margins while everyone else is scraping by on razor-thin, race-to-the-bottom portable PCs?

[Fortune, graphs via Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore]

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4 years ago

Why Apple's Remote App hasn't been updated for iPad, iPhone 4, or iOS 4

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Why Apple's Remote App hasn't been updated for iPad, iPhone 4, or iOS 4

Steve Jobs say Apple is the largest start-up in the world, and Posterous CEO Sachin Agarwal not only experienced it, but says that's why things like Apple's own Remote App for iPhone haven't been updated for iPad, iPhone 4, or iOS 4:

Yes, the Remote app is due for an update. But here's why it hasn't been updated: the person who wrote it is busy working on other things. Yes, the person, not the team. (He's a good friend of mine)

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4 years ago

iTunes cloud-based music taking a back seat to streaming video?

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iTunes cloud-based music taking a back seat to streaming video?

When Apple bought Lala, everyone anticipated that iTunes.com streaming music service was on the horizon, but now CNET hears it might be on hold as Apple works on... streaming video.

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4 years ago

Regarding Jailbreak, exploits, and maliciousness

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Regarding Jailbreak, exploits, and maliciousness

Last night during iPad live I ranted on about how a web-based Jailbreak, like the recent iPhone 4/iOS 4.x/iOS 3.2.x release showed a dangerous exploit that Apple needed to patch immediately before someone evil got a hold of it and began malicious attacks.

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4 years ago

iPhone 4 jailbreak enables FaceTime over 3G

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iPhone 4 jailbreak enables FaceTime over 3G

If you were looking for an excuse to jailbreak your iPhone 4 using FaceTime over your carriers 3G network may just sway some of you to bite the bullet and go through the process. This can be done by installing a application located in Cydia called My3G [$3.99]. The app allows you to run any Wi-Fi only app over your carriers 3G network. While the FaceTime video calling quality suffers a bit compared to using Wi-Fi it still looks more than decent.

Update: If you're curious, 9to5Mac says a 5 min FaceTime call used almost 15 MB of data. Something to keep in mind if you have a data cap.

To those of you who have not tried to jailbreak, is using FaceTime over 3G worth giving it a shot? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check out the video after the break!

[9 to 5 Mac x2 and TiPb forums]

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4 years ago

Jailbreak and unlock, iPhone 4 battery life, Wallpaper, iPhone competition - From the Forums

Jailbreak and unlock, iPhone 4 battery life, Wallpaper, iPhone competition - From the Forums

The TiPb forums are naturally a great place to talk, commiserate, celebrate, get help, and offer advice to your fellow iPhone users. In order to create a new thread of your own or reply to any of the existing threads, you must be a registered member. Becoming a member is easy and free so if you haven’t already head on over and register now!

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4 years ago

iPhone 4 unlock will be released within 48 hours

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iPhone 4 unlock will be released within 48 hours

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4 years ago

Why did you Jailbreak iPhone 4? (If you did)

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Why did you Jailbreak iPhone 4? (If you did)

The iPhone 4 (and iOS 4.x) Jailbreak hit last night and by the looks of our Jailbreak Forum, many of you have gotten busy and quickly.

Since iOS 4 allows wallpaper and multitasking, and iPhone 4 is available officially unlocked in many countries, we're curious why you're Jailbreaking this time around?

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4 years ago

How to fix FaceTime waiting for activation error on iPhone 4

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How to fix FaceTime waiting for activation error on iPhone 4

Suffering from a FaceTime "waiting for activation" error? So was I. The one thing I wanted to try most on my new Canadian iPhone 4 was FaceTime. I've made no secret about being jealous of Chad and Leanna, so the instant iPhone 4 was in my hand and on Wi-Fi I went to hit the FaceTime button and... found no button. I checked my Settings immediately and saw, under the FaceTime on/off toggle the chillingly cryptic words: waiting for activation. What the h3ll?

To make matters worse, Rene's was working fine. Intolerable!

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