Triniti continue their modern war series of games with AC-130 Spectre, a combat simulator which sees you taking to the skies in a Lockhead AC130 (an attack variation of the Hercules) and taking out terrorists with gatling guns and howitzer missiles.
Playing across 10 missions you must provide air support for your ground ops by skilfully lining up in your sites and destroying patrol vehicles, SAM turrets, ground troops, tanks and targeted buildings. Before each mission you are given a briefing which indicates what targets you need to take out in order to complete the objective. Most of these early missions see you simply taking out all visible enemies, but later you must be careful not to hit any civilians.
The battlefield is presented to you through night vision, with enemies and targets showing up brighter against ground and foliage. You have three weapons at your disposal. A gatling gun for taking out troops; rockets for taking out vehicles and buildings; and then about half way through the game you unlock the use of the Howlitzer missiles which wreak far more devastation.
The game plays out a like an on-rails shooter, with the flight of the AC-130 itself automatically controlled for you. This allows you to concentrate on targeting and delivering killer blows. To aim you must use the tilt function of the iPhone, and for quick pans of the battlefield you can swipe across the screen with your finger, with the tilt used for more precise aiming. In the lower right hand corner you select from your three weapons types, with each offering a different zoom view of the battlefield. On the left is a big red fire button. Weapons are unlimited, with only the Howlitzer requiring a pause for reload between shots.
There is no doubting where Triniti got their inspiration from, and that’s Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. While the majority of that game is a first person shooter, a mission later in the game entitled ‘Death from above’ sees you doing exactly this style of play. Triniti’s AC-130 does a great job of replicating that part of COD4, right down to the look and feel. However, this game doesn’t quit feature the same great animation, which, while not bad, feels a little jerky and wooden. The AI isn’t as good either, with troops idly walking on even if their comrades have fallen to your shots just metres away. I’d like to see better AI routines that have them scattering when you attack which would add to the challenge of aiming.
AC-130 is a solid effort at bringing the excitement of that COD4 style gameplay to the iPhone. The missions could do with a little more variation, and it’s a little too easy, with predictable enemy spawn points. With some better level design this game could be great.
At $2.99 it’s a little pricey for the amount of content, but it’s incredibly good fun, at least for the initial play through.
Presentation and graphics
Almost perfectly recreates the feel of the COD4 level, with great use of night vision effect, and solid, if a little wooden 3D animation. The game runs pretty smooth too.
Sounds of the weapons are good, and the game includes some nice voice over work which ads to the atmosphere of a real operation.
Controls work very well, and the game is fun to play. But more variation and better AI would make the current ease of the missions more of a challenge.
Only a handful of missions won’t hold your attention for long. Most missions take around 3-5 minutes to complete. Hopefully Triniti will ring out some more in an update. Beyond the game you have achievements, but most are purely for completing a level, with no special bonus achievements awarded for skill.
As one of my favourite missions in COD4 beyond multi-player, I was excited to see Triniti developing this game and trying to replicate that experience. After playing it I was surprised how well it plays, but after time with the game that initial fun wears thin, with it’s flaw becoming apparent. With some more polish and more levels, this could be a must have for war fans on the iPhone.