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Available for Nokia S60v3, various screen size (176x208, 240x320, 320x240, 352x416)
Konami Metal Gear Solid v2.0.0 N-GAGE SymbianOS9.1 Cracked-BiNPDA
What a delightful genre the 'run around shooting people' game is. So much so that developers had to go and spoil it with 'sneak around very quietly, make no noise, and don't kill anyone unless you really really have to' game. The inexplicable rise and adoption of the stealth game is something I fail to understand. Look, I've got hulking great machine gun here, I can see the plane I'm going to jump on at the end of the level – just let me kill the soldiers around it!
Some titles get the balance right in this action vs. stealth drama (and I'm looking at Syphon Filter on the PSP here), but Metal Gear Solid Mobile (MGS Mobile), just released for the Nokia N-Gage, eschews a full on kitted out combat system to concentrate on the stealth... and the game is all the better for it.
That's because a casual game, especially one on a mobile, needs much more laser-like accuracy on game play than a full blown console variant. And in MGS Mobile, they've delivered that on a plate. Admittedly they delivered it very quietly, but that's the whole style of the MGS world.
This isn't the first stealth game to hit the N-Gage; the classic N-Gage had two Splinter Cell stealth games. The first was nothing more than a side view platform game, where being spotted made you start the level again. It was the second (Splinter Cell Chaos Theory) that really brought stealth gaming to the N-Gage. That title had a huge range of buttons to press to make your character do various actions.
Thankfully that issue has been dealt with in this game. That might be down to the fact that the next-gen platform is generally gearing to similar control systems; it might be that as this is a new franchise everything could be put on a blank sheet of paper; or it might just be an attack of common sense from the developers. However the decision was made, it was smart.
Thanks to a top-down camera view (into a 3D world) the controls are essentially the cursor keys used to move the lead character, while the 'A' and 'B' keys are used for performing an action (fire a gun, throw a grenade, etc) and moving into first person perspective. This is where Konami start to use the differing inputs on the N-Gage. In the first person view, you don't move around the game area, but simply look about, and to do this, MGS Mobile accesses your phone's camera. Move your phone around, and the movement is tracked and replicated in the game screen.
It's a cute touch and yet again shows the potential of the multiple sensor input that N-Gage compatible devices have, but it does need a well lit room that has decent definition on the walls. Thankfully, it can be switched off and you can use the cursor keys to move around – something that I did on the third look around the world. Certainly when out and about this might be the only way to do it accurately. Still, congratulations for doing something different. There are other camera surprises along the way, to help you with lock picking and setting up some electronic camoflauge by taking a picture of a colour to paint your gear, but like the best plot lines in MGS, the fun is in the surprise.
Needless to say, controlling the main character (the amazingly-named Solid Snake) is pretty easy. Push closer to a wall to push your body against it to hide or move carefully through a gap, use the action key to jump over boxes and into spaces, switch to first person for a subtle sniping shot with a knock-out dart on a guard... It's all intuitive, easily-controlled, and most important for the N-Gage, it doesn't take to long to stop thinking “I'm playing a game on my phone” to “I'm playing a game” and that's an important leap.
The other important thing to note is, yet again, that N-Gage has another strong brand associated with gaming on the platform. Metal Gear Solid is a respected title (mostly on Playstation, it has to be said), and has a huge 'canon' of stories following the adventure of Snake. MGS fans' first question will be to ask where the MGS Mobile story fits in when put alongside the other titles. The answer is that it sits between MGS and MGS2: Sons of Liberty. The plot itself is based around Snake and his (your) partner at the end of a comms link, Ocelot, liaising with a Dr Victoria Reed to destroy a new version of the Metal Gear (Wikipedia has the easiest definition... "Metal Gear is a bipedal walking tank with nuclear weapon launching capabilities").
If you think the story sounds familiar, then be warned that MGS titles have lots of double crossing, twisty plots and hidden agendas. MGS Mobile is no different.
MGS Mobile is stunning. To have a decent portable MGS game is an achievement in itself, but to have one that plays well to the strengths of the device, while minimising the weaknesses - that's something that I praised Reset Generation for, and I'll repeat that praise here. MGS Mobile does suffer slightly in a few areas. There is an inevitable comparison to a console and the simplified controls do lead to you being led by the hand of the designer a bit more than in a full sized game. The maps and levels themselves offer little choice in direction – you rarely get the option to go around something instead of sneaking through the middle, but it keeps the goal of the game in sight, and of course makes the mobile experience one that works in the context of a play anywhere device.
And the thing is so addictive that you'll be happy to pull an all-nighter to finish the game, leading to unjustified complaints of “that was a bit short.” It wasn't that short, it's just you played it for ages in one sitting!
Is it mega? As in an All About Megagame award? I think it just scrapes in and should sit alongside Reset Generation as one of the games to really show off the N-Gage. Reset Gen also picked up a 90, but I'd still rate that (barely) as the top game as it was unique IP and designed 100% for the N-Gage, where MGS brings a lot of baggage to the handset - which is thankfully ditched for a good experience.
Join Hiro, Niki, Peter and more in the official, exclusive game of TV's most talked-about series, Heroes, and experience the show's mind-bending universe on your mobile phone. Relive the series' thrills by entering an epic game that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities - and an ultimate destiny to save the world! Experience the excitement of super-human abilities as you sneak into places unnoticed, save lives and fight enemies with astounding skill.
Hooked On: Creatures Of The Deep is one of Nokia's flagship first party games, and one of the most eagerly awaited titles of the new N-Gage platform's launch. It's been published by Nokia itself, and the developers are the Polish company Infinite Dreams, who are well-known in the smartphone community for their acclaimed high-quality games such as K-Rally, Sky Force and Super Miners (all of which are available for N-Gage phones, just look for the versions labelled "Symbian S60 3rd Edition").
HO:COTD is a sort of combination of a fishing simulator and a role pla, with every successful catch earning you experience points (XP) that bring you closer to "levelling up", which unlocks new features, playing areas, items and even mini-games. You can just fish at random if you want, or you can choose to take part in a quest (usually to find a particular object lost underwater, or to catch a certain creature), or you can take part in tournaments which are held several times a day in the game world (they're offline tournaments against computer players, so you don't need an internet connection). All three activities can be done at once, so for example if you get bored of a quest you can go off to join a tournament
The game takes place in four real-life fishing resorts in Costa Rica, Alaska, Scotland and Thailand. Some of the characters you meet exist in real life, and the resorts themselves are represented by locations in the game based on real maps. You start the game in Costa Rica but as you earn experience you'll unlock the other locations, and you can fly to them from each resort's airport. As you level up, new fishing tackle will be available to you from the resort shop (you don't have to pay for it, just reach the right level of experience and go and collect it).
The controls for the game are very, very simple: you move with the direction pad, and you select things with either the direction pad button or the top gaming button (the A button). You also occasionally have to choose an option with the blue soft keys. The simplicity of the controls means you can play the game just as easily with one hand as two, and the game plays just as well in horizontal/landscape mode as it does in vertical/portrait mode. HO:COTD is suited to practically any phone model with any button layout.
You choose where to fish from a detailed 2D map which you drive your boat around. The map is animated, so for example you can see where other boats are fishing (if there are any), and the depth of the water is visible from the colours of the sea or lake. Once you decide on a place to fish, you just click the button and you're presented with a 3D view of the spot where you can look all round and up and down.
Using a golf style power meter, you press the button to cast your line, and then press it again to choose how far out you want the line to go. If you've managed to obtain a depth meter, you'll see a chart showing how deeply your lure has sunk, which is important as different lures sink at different speeds, and different fish live at different depths. Reeling the lure in keeps it at that depth, though it may drag it away from an interested fish. When a fish does try to take the bait, the game's camera zooms in on the end of your reel, and if the fish is ready to be reeled in a blue icon will appear telling you to press the game button.
This is where the excitement begins: you have to get the fish all the way back to the boat, with that distance represented by a blue bar. At the same time, the fish has to get away from you, so it tries to pull on the line as hard as it can, and the strain on your line is represented by a green and red bar next to the blue bar. If you don't reel the fish in it will get away, but if you do reel the fish in it will cause strain on the line. Your task is to balance the strain with the reeling, and this is where the essence of the game lies, in "playing chicken" with the strain gauge so that it goes as close to breaking point without actually breaking. This is made very difficult by the constant changes in direction of the fish, and you see it spinning you around in the main display, occasionally even jumping out of the water in a rather spectacular manner.
If the above process sounds complicated, it isn't, you get to know the game very quickly and fishing becomes an instinctive process. Catching a fish feels very much like a duel, which is probably as it should be.
If you manage to get a fish reeled all the way in, you receive experience points based on how rare the fish is and how difficult it is to catch. You can then either keep the fish or release it (the game generally rewards you for releasing fish, especially rare species).
Sometimes you'll find a fish is very easy to reel in, and then you'll discover it isn't a fish at all but an object of some kind. It's worth keeping all the man-made objects you find, as you receive bonus experience points for removing rubbish from the water, and the objects may help you solve certain quests. Particularly interesting are the messages in bottles that you catch from time to time, which reveal the back-story to the location you're in at the moment. For example the Costa Rica resort Costa Rica resort has lots of ancient maps and messages from Christopher Columbus
You'll also very occasionally catch a creature that isn't a fish, such as a turtle, crocodile or even (if you're lucky) the Loch Ness Monster.
One of the problems with HO:COTD is that it doesn't really have a tutorial to get you started, so let's take a break from the review for a moment and look at some important thins you should know before playing the game:
- The "Pause" menu is your best friend, it contains all the important information you need to play the game.
- The "Pocket" section of the pause menu contains your tackle box (where you can choose the fishing equipment you want to use), as well as a Pokemon-style bestiary of the fish you've caught in that resort, and a "Live Well" section containing all the objects you've kept.
- Don't repeatedly pound the game button to reel in the fish, just keep it pressed down to reel in and release it if line tension is too high.
- When you're at an appropriate level you can collect new tackle from the resort, represented by an orange circle with a house in it. You have to collect it for it to appear in your tackle box, and you have to then select it from your tackle box in order to use it.
- Tackle unlocked when you reach a higher level is NOT necessarily better than tackle from a lower level, quite often a lower level item works better than a higher level item. For example some of the higher level lures sink much more quickly, which means they're useless in trying to catch fish which live near the surface. You need different kinds of tackle for different kinds of fish, there are no simple tackle "upgrades".
- The green and red dots represent quests, just go to them and click on the button to find out what they are. If you want a further hint or a reminder of what you're supposed to do, go back to the dot and click on the button.
- The game does have a variety of different lures, rods, lines and other equipment, but these aren't open to you when you begin. As you progress, the fishing techniques you can use become more subtle and complex.
- Different fish live in different places, come out at different times of day, and live at different depths, so try to vary where and how you fish as much as possible. The depth meter will help you do this, as will an appropriate choice of tackle.
- Your level, experience and tackle box only count in the resort you're in. You earn experience, levels and equipment completely separately in each resort, so for example you might be level 10 in Costa Rica but only level 2 in Alaska. In effect, each resort is a separate game.
- If you want to use the rumble feature, as well as switching it on in the options menu you also have to have vibrating alert switched on in the phone profile you're currently using. For example, if you have the phone in offline mode, you'll have to activate vibrating alert in the "offline" profile for the rumble feature to work in the game. You can usually find the profiles icon in the "Tools" folder on the main menu screen.
- Let the main menu of the game run on its own and you'll see fish and objects you've recently caught float by in a virtual aquarium.