The next classic games in our 50-part retrospective of the best iOS series from 2008-2013 seem at first to be unconnected. Besides both being first-person shooters developed by Id Software, what could the WW2-themed Wolfenstein and sci-fi, demon-hunting Doom possibly have in common? The answer can be found in the overlooked (and unfortunately, no longer available) Wolfenstein RPG, with its twist reveal that links the two games through the Blazkowicz bloodline.
Wolfenstein 3D Classic
The original Wolfenstein 3D was, for us, first among the first-person shooters. The concept of peering over your hero’s gun, hiding in the halls, and single-handedly defeating the Nazis was mind-blowing in 1992. When Wolfenstein 3D Classic launched with new touchscreen controls on the iPhone in 2009, it was a welcome addition to the platform’s lineup of original mobile apps, and an indication of the demand for classic PC game ports. The swastika-soaked imagery is still disturbing, and you might only pick up a few words of digitized German, but the Wolfenstein games hold up perfectly no matter what year you’re playing them in.
Key Quote: Phil/iKryptic takes a look at Wolfenstein 3D Classic in this video review, reaching the exact same conclusion we remember from 1992: this game freakin’ rules!
You could use a lot of words to describe Wolfenstein 3D, like “violent” and “intense”, but one that’s rarely used is “funny”. Wolfenstein RPG, though, had a wicked sense of humor. Even the Nazi imagery was hilariously tweaked, with Hitler sporting a soul patch instead of his trademark mustache. The gameplay received a makeover as well– instead of circle-strafing faster than your enemies, Wolfenstein RPG’s machine-gunning hero had to take turns exchanging fire with his foes. The result is a more deliberately-paced, thoughtful action game, with lots of secrets to discover and stats to max out. Since Wolfenstein RPG is no longer available on iOS, we’ll go ahead and reveal the game’s big twist: The demon summoned by the Nazis that you defeat as the final boss vows to return to haunt your descendant– the space marine from Doom.
Key Quote: Besides quality gameplay, humor and creativity score big points with us. The weird and silly Wolfenstein RPG is a welcome counterpart to the angry and serious Wolfenstein 3D.
With Wolfenstein RPG bridging the two series, now it’s time to talk about Doom. Doom could be considered educations, since it taught us the basics of shotgun spread effect and the perils of teleportation technology on Mars. But really, this is a game about turning demons into bloody chunks, using a pistol, machine gun, rocket launcher, and a Big Freakin’ Gun. Doom improved on the early FPS technology of Wolfenstein 3D, with much more complex levels, a wider arsenal, and a brutal heavy-metal soundtrack. The iPhone port is essentially flawless– you can customize the controls however you like, and it runs at breakneck speeds. If you’re not freaked out by the content, this is an outstanding game that you’ll always want to carry in your pocket.
Key Quote: A word of warning: if you’re not familiar with the Doom series or first-person shooters in general, and you think the Harry Potter books were written by witches, then this is not the game for you. There are more upside-down crosses, pentagrams, and unspeakable demons of hell in this game than you can shake a severed bunny head on a stick at. It’s not for the squeamish or sanctimonious: Doom is a sick, bloody game.
Doom 2 RPG
Like Wolfenstein RPG, Doom 2 RPG has a lighter tone and a strategic, turn-based gameplay style. And it’s full of great humor, like the dialogue from scared scientists in the demon-haunted Mars base. But compared to Doom Classic, Doom 2 RPG isn’t quite as exciting or dramatic. For example, the best gun in the game is a squirt gun full of holy water, which sends demons scurrying in googly-eyed terror. Still, since Wolfenstein RPG is no longer available on iOS and Doom 2 RPG is, it’s definitely worth playing for a unique spin on the series.
Key Quote: Doom 2 RPG is more amusing than terrifying, and if you’re looking for a far less serious take on battling monsters on Mars, it works. We don’t think it’s quite as fun as Wolfenstein RPG, though, because you’ll end up in a lot of the same gameplay situations over and over again.
Doom Resurrection was meant to update the Doom experience for handheld devices, beyond the straight-up PC and mobile ports of the rest of the series. The result was an amazing-looking on-rails shooter, where you controlled the targeting but not the movement for your embattled space marine. Instead of pixelated carnage, Doom Resurrection had realistic, 3D carnage, with art assets borrowed from the graphically-intensive Doom 3. However, the short running time and high price point kept us from giving Doom Resurrection our highest ranking back in 2009, but it still belongs next to these other classic Id iOS shooters.
Key Quote: The classic franchise makes its iPhone debut in Doom Resurrection. As a result, this game most certainly looks like Doom– especially since it borrows several assets from Doom 3– but a few fundamental gameplay changes will definitely have some purists groaning, as unfair as that may be.
Tomorrow, we take flight and take control in the original line-drawing game Flight Control!
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.