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Scarface Last Stand

For: iPhone   Also on: Mobile

Think you can take me?

Product: Scarface: Last Stand | Developer: Tricky Software | Publisher: Starwave Mobile | Format: iPhone | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Scarface: Last Stand iPhone, thumbnail 1
The bloodied, coke-addled figure of Tony Montana has cast a long shadow over the games industry.

He was the inspiration for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, while the language, guns, drugs and violent crescendo shoot-out of the Scarface film have infected everything from Max Payne to Hitman.

On iPhone and iPod touch, he's just as hot-headed, unloading his little friends through 30 stages on on-rails action. It's a neat approach to highlighting the film's climatic final scene, even if the execution leaves much to be desired.

Playing rough

The action kicks of with a series of comic book frames which show Montana's mansion raided by thugs. You enter the scene with M16A1 in hand, tasked with shooting goons through your office door.

It's an abrupt beginning without any explanation of what's going on, but since moving the virtual analogue stick to aim and tapping a fire button to the right are your only options, you get the gist pretty quickly.

Each of the 30 levels kicks off the same, with Tony running out of his office onto the main staircase. You then have to shoot the progressively more well-armed thugs who leap out of various door ways and rush the stairs or snipe at you from distance.

This starts with a handful of pistol or Uzi-wielding bad guys at the top of the staircase, but eventually you'll end up working your way through a dozen or so different firing positions ranging from down the staircase to the mansion's side corridors and additional staircases and balconies.

After each wave is cleared, the game automatically moves Tony from one position to the next until you've completed that level.

My little friends

As you clear levels you unlock better guns: sniper rifles, heavy machines, and rocket launchers; however, the goons at which you're shooting acquire better weapons too.

This becomes something of an issue when it comes to one-shot kill weapons such as the rocket launcher, because this being an on-rails shooter, you can't dodge out the way. Luckily, the bad guys aren't good shots, but the game ends up boiling down to pattern recognition.

Replaying levels over again improves your performance purely because the activities of the enemies are completely canned. They always do the same thing and have the same weapons so you can work out who you have to target first.

Make way for the bad guy

It's not ideal in terms of the suspension of disbelief, but Scarface Last Stand isn't a polished product. From the slightly constipated running animation of Tony Montana, to the sharp turns he does when moving to each pre-set position, there's a lack of graphical finesse.

The biggest issue, though, is the aiming system: it feels loose but enemies remotely near the cursor are automatically snapped onto, leaving you with no liberty for pulling off precision moves like head shots, even though the game does reward them.

You can tweak this a little in terms of choosing an Auto-Center or a Roam mode, plus there are five levels of sensitivity. No combination really feels comfortable though, so you effectively end up moving the aiming reticule around until it snaps to an enemy and then tapping the fire button until they fall over, repeating ad nauseum.

Developer Tricky Software has tried to bring sophistication into play, yet it's not enough to counteract fundamental flaws. For example, the zoom that's attached to many weapons is a nice, but the action is just too frantic for it to be useful apart from in the earliest levels.

The disposal business

Equally, the armoury system is a great idea that doesn't quite work. At the start of each level, you get to choose one heavy weapon to go alongside your default auto ammo pistol. Your choice powers up fast but you're only rewarded with a certain amount of ammo for each level you complete, you can't use the same type of weapon throughout.

Plus, the fact shotguns are weak at a distance and sniper rifles are too slow when in zoom mode, effectively limits your options.

Fury usually saves the day. When this gauge is full, shaking your device instructs Tony to let it rip with his M16A1. It's the best gun in the game so Fury is a great power up, but it makes the rest of the game feel a little pedestrian in comparison when it's timed out.

Overall then, Scarface Last Stand is a disappointment. It's been well designed in terms of concept and flow, but the control method - crucial for a shooter - isn't flexible enough to make 30 levels of repeating action more rather than less exciting.
Scarface Last Stand
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 13 April 2010
The idea behind Scarface Last Stand is innovative but problems with the controls mean it doesn't reach its full potential
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