Defender of the iPhone

August 30, 2011 11:17pm
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“Surprised, but nonetheless excited” is probably the best way to describe my reaction the other day when I got a random email from Cinemaware stating that “they were back!” and also that they were released a new port of my old Amiga favorite, Defender of the Crown for the iPhone. Having really been getting into playing the classic version of Final Fantasy on my iPhone lately, I’m always up for another dose of nostalgia!

That said, after actually playing the ported game, I guess I’m somewhat less excited.

The problem is basically that this is a very lazy port – they literally didn’t change any of the controls, despite moving from a 14″ screen with a mouse and keyboard to a 3″ screen with neither. The worst is the cursor control itself – as opposed to being able to touch and select menu items, your finger just moves the mouse cursor just like it did on the Amiga version back in 1986. I mean, this is very literally an exact port from the Amiga version, whereas a couple of minor modernization tweaks would’ve done wonders for the gameplay.

The other thing that stuck me as odd was the sizable Amiga emulator banner along the bottom of the screen – you can unfortunately see it quite prominently in each and every one of the screen grabs below, and frankly, there’s just too little screen space to begin with on a mobile device to be giving anything up to advertisements or whatever. It’s the same reason that I paid the couple of bucks for Words with Friends – I just don’t want to trip over that kind of stuff when I’m gaming on a mobile phone.

Oh yeah, and also unlike how Final Fantasy made a major change to their save system to allow the ability to basically pause anywhere, not so much with Defender of the Crown – exiting the game at any point means you’re starting over from the beginning, introductory text that you’re unable to speed through and all…

It’s too bad, really – I used to love this game and it could’ve been a neat, nostalgic little port from 25 years ago, but instead its painfully obvious that this was a bare-bones, shortest route to the iTunes store project that’ll be happy with the $2.99 from anyone who they’re able to trick into downloading this based on great memories. The game still looks great for its age, but it’s just not really playable in its new format, which is an absolute shame because they could’ve done something really special with this timeless classic instead of just taking the easy way to a few quick bucks.

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