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Spartan Hero Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Spartan Hero
Release: July 07, 2010
Genre: Action
Developer: Shanghai Chang-Yi Technology Development Co.,Ltd
Available Platforms: iPhone (iOS 4.0 Tested)
Players: 1
MSRP: $1.99
ESRB Rating: Unrated (some blood)
Website: http://www.gamesdragon.net/ (Coming Soon!)

Spartan Hero (not to be confused with Hero of Sparta) is a simple and challenging game available for the iPhone and iPad.

When I first started up Spartan Hero, I didn’t know what to expect. The title screen looks great and the music sets the stage for an RPG-like adventure. I was totally unprepared for what happened after I tapped “Play.”

A simple instruction screen indicates your control of the Spartan’s shield via onscreen finger movement. One more tap, and you’re off! Arrows immediately begin flying at you from the right side of the screen. The aim of the game? Block every incoming projectile and let nothing hit you. That is, until you reach ten points; another simple instruction screen illustrates the importance of letting the rainbow ball hit you (I later found out this was “candy”). One false move or slip of the finger and our Spartan Hero dies with a feeble yell.

That glowing ball is really candy. Let it hit you for 10 points!

The best part about Spartan Hero is the accessibility. I can unlock my iPhone, start the app, and begin playing in only 15 seconds. Should you meet a bitter end (and you will), you may simply tap “Retry” and the game restarts. This game is also OpenFeint supported, meaning your high score is saved and shown to the rest of the world on the leaderboards. There are also OpenFeint achievements, although they hardly qualify as achieving anything in my opinion: “Killed by spears; killed by arrows; killed by missiles; killed by bombs,” etc.

"THIS...IS...SPARTA!!!"

Periodically throughout your march, our hero yells “THIS…IS…SPARTA!!!” and sounds alarmingly similar to Leonidas from 300. When your score gets around the 250 mark, classical music starts playing to accompany the random items being thrown at you.

This game is extremely short; if the first arrow hits you, you not only suck, but the game is over and you must restart. The longest run I ever had was about 3 minutes and I still haven’t earned the “Play 50 times of game” achievement.

You will destroy the car when it hits your shield. Don't try that IRL.

The gameplay is the definition of linear; your hero relentlessly marches forward, suffering increasingly annoying items being launched at him. The game makes sense early on, with only arrows, spears, and elephants to block. As your score increases, you must tolerate skateboards, footballs, boots, and bicycles. I know the Spartans were a great civilization in their time, but I’m certain they never had volleys of UFOs raining down on them. Where does that fit in with the theme?

Block the poo & plunger, then brace yourself for the elephant!

The $1.99 price tag is a major turn-off for me, since I have played free flash games that were more fun. I can also download an XBLA game for $1 that provides hours of gameplay, complete with a story! I know what you are thinking… “It isn’t fair to compare games across platforms, John!” The same thing occurred to me, but then I realized: If I am capable of having this thought process, then so is every other paying customer.

While the interaction with this game is minimal and the gameplay can get monotonous, I would like everyone to know that I experienced a lifetime first while playing this game. My score of 603 is the highest on the OpenFeint iPhone leaderboards. That officially makes me the best Spartan Hero player in the United States, if not the universe. The unmitigated glory associated with being the best Spartan Hero ever prevents me from issuing a “Do Not Play” on this game. However, I could only recommend this game to someone with excessive disposable income or lack of alternative entertainment.

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