game reviews and playing tips: Palm PDA and phone games
Daedalus 3D by Safoa.net
$29.99 for Palm, $14.99 for Symbian Series 60 Review posted July 2005 by Alex Lifschitz
Daedalus 3D could be called the first major
3D FPS on the Zodiac. The gorgeous environments in this little
game set a precedent for mobile graphics, but many people wondered
if the gameplay matched up. This game is truly a mixed bag
of tricks, with some elements that engage you, and some that
push you out. Much like in the legend of the (nearly) same
name, Daedalus flies close to the sun, but will its imperfections
send it spiraling to the ground?
The gameplay is pretty straightforward. In D3D, there are
no real open and expansive environments aside from large rooms
cluttered with walls in the earlier levels, but they spring
up more often later in the game. The feel of the game is actually
scary, and whether or not the publishers intended for this
to rub off the gamer is still a mystery to me. It is not scary
in a psychological sense, but rather in the sense that you
never know what is coming around the corner, or what's behind
that next door. Occasionally, you may see a nearly undefeatable
horde of enemies nearby, and you have to brace yourself for
the onslaught before they approach you. Did I mention this
game was hard? If not, this game is H-A-R-D. For a variety
of reasons, this game will hand your ass to you, even on the
lower difficulties, if you are not careful. This can be extremely
frustrating at times, as there are no checkpoints whatsoever.
Got to the last enemy, and he killed you with an ambush? Tough
luck, bunky. Back to the start of the level. Every weapon also
runs on the same ammo, and there is a very limited selection:
Only the pistol, shotgun, bazooka, and SMG. The SMG eats away
at your ammo, as does the bazooka (though it is unfathomably
powerful), so if you end up using the SMG for a while, you
suddenly find yourself out of ammo. Since there is no melee
weapon, once you are out of ammo, you might as well restart.
The AI is pretty basic, as they will just home in on you. However,
this adds another level in frustration in that it is not so
much a battle of wits as it is a battle of firepower. Some
of the enemies are hideously overpowered, as well. Even on
the easiest difficulty, some enemies can take away half your
health in one attack. You need to be quick on your feet to
survive the world of Daedalus.
The controls in Daedalus are truly two-faced. On one hand,
the game has a nice, fast pace that gives it the depth of a
good PC shooter. The strafing and general turning controls
are quick and responsive. However, after you get past basic
movement, things get ugly. Aiming is a real chore. The controls
are extremely flinchy in the sense that a light tap on the
analog control will move your reticle (crosshair) too far to
either side. You can somewhat rectify this by tapping a side
of the screen with the stylus EXTREMELY close to the reticle
(or by minor strafing), but breaking out the stylus in the
middle of a fast-paced shooter like this is mighty inconvenient,
and many times strafing takes too much time to line up. Getting
a good shot at your opponent is pretty difficult unless you
have the distance and time to make it out. Lightly holding
the analog controller will also slowly move you slowly, but
this is quite difficult to do in the middle of pulse-pounding
gunfights. And forget circle-strafing; while it is a good evasion
tactic, landing a shot is next to impossible unless you become
very good at it, as your shot will veer off to the side when
strafing. This means that as you strafe and fire, if you fire
while the reticle is right over your opponent for a split-second,
your shot will veer off to either side of the enemy. This makes
have to have an advance knowledge of your enemies' positions,
and it can be quite annoying. However, the developers were
very generous with hit detection, which slightly lightens the
proverbial load. Aside from the intricacies, the controls are
responsive and sharp, just not as fine-tuned as I would like.
The graphics are the true high point of this game. Every environment
of every level is done in breathtaking 3D detail. This is easily
the greatest graphical game to come to the Zodiac. Every wall,
lighting effect, and object is completely rendered in 3D. However,
a few elements may take you out of the game. The enemies are
a flat, blocky amalgamation of pixels that don't have much
detail at all, and take away from the otherwise beautiful graphics.
You will encounter roughly four enemy types through the entire
course of the game: Bear/Bigfoot/Demon thing, Valkyrie woman
with a gun, half-man/half-tank hybrid, and giant spider. The
latter two are greatly overpowered, and you should approach
them with caution. Two in a room can mean certain doom in many
situations. Also, you never, ever see your gun. Much like in
Ghost Recon, you only see your reticle, and the gun selection
is seen primarily via a small menu at the bottom of the screen.
While not a necessity, not being able to see your gun onscreen
makes the game a little impersonal, though it is a minor inconvenience.
The ammo for every weapon is a bit confusing, though. Every
shot looks as if it was a wad of web shot from Spider Man,
aside from the bazooka. The lack of detail is disappointing
for an otherwise beautiful game; However, the environments
are so magnificent, I can't bear to rag on it anymore.
Also, in one of the earlier levels, the environments went all
negative on me, giving it a funky, psychedelic atmosphere,
and while it was most likely a glitch, it should be a cheat.
It was fun!
Sound is… Well, basic. There
are only so many sounds in this game. Your character, when
jumping and grunting, sounds like the manliest man ever wrought,
with a horrifically deep voice. The enemies are reduced to
a bark from the demon thing, scream from the valkyrie, hiss
from the spider, and other sound effects with little variation.
There are about two effects per character, and the weapons
have little variation in sound as well, aside from the rapidity
and volume. There are also some simple item effects, but
nothing remarkable. But one thing that turned me off was
the complete lack of music whatsoever aside from the title
screen. Nada. Just silence until the next gunfight. At least
make it an option!
This game is truly a triumph of graphical
power marred by only a few small problems and a steep difficulty
level. The lack of real immersive gameplay by way of minor
graphical oversights and sound variety may turn some people
off, but the frantic pace and gorgeous environments will attract
many others to it. While I would love to recommend this as
a purchase, I really cannot. This game is a matter of personal
taste. However, there is a two-level trial available that basically
encompasses the feel of the game, so if you like the trial,
go ahead and get it. It's great for showing off the Zodiac's
graphical capabilities to friends. Plus, with extra maps, reticles,
and bars available for download at the developer's site, this
has a nice bit of replay value, if only for the tiny facial
Playing Hints and Tips
- The game will save your health and ammo count, so if you're having
a problem with a level where you start off near a stockpile of health
and ammo, grab them, restart the level, and repeat. You should be
full up in no time.
- Always try sniping. The enemies have a limited field of vision,
so if you see one off in the distance, take a time to adjust your
aim and fire away.
- Circle strafing is great for avoiding enemy fire if you're far
enough away, but hitting them while circle strafing is difficult.
Practice, and get a feel for the veering shots.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
While there are a few graphical problems,
the beautiful 3D imagery really gives the game's title credit.
I would give this a 10/5 if I could on the 3D alone, so a few
minor problems are easy to ignore.
The sound is average. It's really nothing
special, but it will suffice. Some music would have been nice,
Fun and frantic on the lower difficulties,
obsessively hard on anything above that. Do you like frantic
shoot-'em-ups, or teeth-gnashing challenge? You decide. On
pen and paper, it sounds annoying, but the experience is great.
No matter how many times you die (and
you will), you'll just keep coming back for more. Keep your
charger nearby, as the graphical power eats up the battery.