Missile Command

Missile Command
Game Name: Missile Command
Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch
Publisher(s): Atari
Developer(s): Atari
Genre(s): Arcade, Action
Release Date: Sep 16, 2008
Price: $4.99
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The last retro game to hit the App Store, Pole Position: Remix by Namco Bandai, made me cringe. The graphics were horribly outdated and the controls were mediocre at best, even if you enjoy the old graphics , it’s still hard to swallow the $9.99 price tag.

I was skeptical of Missile Command when I first heard of its release. I was worried it would be another barebones port with no new improvements over the original.

I was pleasantly surprised by the updated graphics of Missile Command, the fresh coat of paint really did add to the experience, making it all the more enjoyable.

In Missile Command your mission is to defend cities from incoming missiles by shooting them out of the sky. As levels progress players will have to defend against an ever increasing number of missiles, satellites, UFOs and mother ships. The variety of enemies you’ll encounter will be more than enough to keep your hands full, especially in the later stages.

Normally when a game is ported to another platform, there are usually a few concessions to be made, but with Missile Command rather than being reduced to a former shadow of itself, the gameplay was greatly enhanced by the touchscreen controls.

Lets face it using the joystick was more like operating a crane, and gamepad controls were just as bad. The best by far was the web version of Missile Command, which utilized the mouse as the pointer for quick and precise controls. With the touchscreen gamers will enjoy the same level of precision of the mouse and still be able to game on the go.

To shoot, simply tap on the screen and your turrets will fire at the location you tapped, it doesn’t get much easier than this when it comes to controls.

Missile Command takes full advantage of the touchscreen’s multi-touch capability, allowing players to fire multiple shots at the same time.

I liked having the classic version of Missile Command available to play as a bonus feature, as opposed to being the whole game, Pole cough Position cough REMIX.

When launching Missile Command players are prompted with the choice of in-game or iPod music, it’s nice to have a choice and not be forced to listen to alien music 24/7, not that I don’t like alien music, nothing wrong with alien music what so ever (I’m going to get probed for this one, I just know it).

Missile Command has everything you’d want in an arcade game, simple game mechanics, backed by great graphics and gameplay with an addictive quality that’s easy to play in short burst.

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  1. Ironcell says:

    @Constable Odo – You sure can, so far I’ve tested up to 8 fingers total, I wasn’t able to fit my thumbs in there, but it seemed to detect all 8 simultaneous touches with no issue.

    I tried playing Missile Command with 2-3 fingers at once, but I didn’t have the eye-hand coordination to pull it off and it became harder to see what was going on since my fingers were obscuring the screen.

  2. Constable Odo says:

    Since the screen is multi-touch, can you use three fingers at once? That would cut down on a lot of the delay of having to move one finger a a full screen’s distance.

    That really is a well-done re-make. I know I played it on a home console, but it was so long ago, I don’t remember which one I used. Maybe it was an Atari 5200 with a joystick.

  3. Leland says:

    The original Missile Command arcade machine actually used a trackball (and a big, heavy one at that), not a joystick, and had three buttons, one for each of the missile batteries. The joystick version on the Atari 2600 home console just didn’t match the speed and precision of the trackball.

    Eh, I’m just being nitpicky. The multitouch game is even better than the trackball was, and more likely to be the control method in today’s anti-missile defense systems (remember the rumor that the arcade machines were being monitored by the CIA, keeping an eye out for VERY high-scoring players for future recruitment into the “Star Wars” missle defense program?). ;-)

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