When I saw John Carmack show off Rage on the iPhone a few months back, I was rather excited. The promise of real console-like graphics were in our grasp. Then, the game finally came out and I was initially blown away, but then...
Rage HD on iPad is set in a post-apocalyptic future. Typical of these types of games where you play a contestant out to earn money by defeating mutants. The game is set in a first-person shooter (FPS) perspective, but it is on rails. This means the game "moves" for you and you are only allowed to maneuver the cursor on screen at any given time. This is okay, as the games visuals are amazing and this style of game worked really well for Doom Resurrection on iPhone.
The screen is comprised of only a few buttons. The left side is meant solely to move the cursor, target enemies, etc. The right side has the action button (to shoot and pick up items like health, ammo, etc), dodge button (the enemy throws bricks at you), reload weapon and select weapon. If the touch screen modality does not work for you, there is a tilt option as well as lefty mode and other configurable choices such as inverted axis and more.
As you start a level, you immediately notice there are several bulls-eyes scattered among the levels. By shooting them, you increase your score. As enemy mutants appear, you target and shoot them. You can often get a one-shot fill if you time your shots appropriately; you get a special reticule when you in the correct area to pull it off.
As you maneuver your cursor around the screen trying to take out bulls-eyes and mutants, you will notice you can also pick up money, health and ammo bonuses; your cursor turns into a green hand. The ammo comes in particularly handy as I found I ran out of ammo a little too fast. The good news is that you have a pistol with unlimited ammo, but takes forever to reload. However, I have played entire levels with just the pistol with no problem. The additional weapons that you can find ammo for are the shotgun and automatic weapon.
The games graphics are really, really good. I mean, really good. It is a testament to iOS's capabilities. No slowdown, plenty of particles flying at you and a ton of action. But this is where the problems begin for this game. It's gorgeous. But that is all it's got. You only have three levels of play, you fight the same enemies over and over. Rage HD is literally a $2.00 technology demo. It wouldn't be so bad (since the game is clearly score based) if you had Game Center support to see where you rank on the leaderboards and add some challenges with achievements. Alas, none of these options exist.
I am impressed with id's effort in this title to bring an amazing console experience to our beloved iOS devices. I am not impressed with the paltry three stages and lack of Game Center support. Should you get this game? It's hard to tell. It is only $2.00, and will hardly break the bank. You will enjoy it till you beat the three levels and you will be left with the insatiable need for more. I am happy to have played it, but after 30 minutes (that is how long it takes to beat all of the levels) you are left with a very, very, very empty feeling.
[$1.99- iTunes Link]
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