The PG Hall of Fame: Fatal Force: Earth Assault

Why we loved this side-on platform shooter

The PG Hall of Fame: Fatal Force: Earth Assault

Marking the first in a new series of posts on the mobile games we loved from yesteryear comes Macrospace's Fatal Force: Earth Assault.

You want a mobile game that was ahead of its time? Try Fatal Force. It was released by UK studio Macrospace in 2004, and spliced first-person-shooter mechanics onto a side-on platform game, adding Bluetooth multiplayer and an online community into the mix.

It was great. Like the mobile lovechild of Doom and Rick Dangerous, it involved little big-headed cartoon characters running and jumping around scrolling levels and grabbing weapon power-ups to blow seven bells out of one another. The flamethrower was particularly cool, as I recall.

There was a Story mode with a plot, but the real fun was in Skirmish mode, where you took on AI bots in deathmatch, domination or capture the flag.

And its Bluetooth mode really worked, although the fact that few phones supported Bluetooth via Java at the time somewhat limited the likelihood of finding a friend to play against. But when you did, it was superb.

Alongside all this was one of the first sophisticated mobile gaming community, which tracked your stats in frightening detail, as well as hosting a global rankings table, and even letting players form clans. Just to remind you, this was 2004. Companies are still struggling to get this stuff working now.

Despite critical acclaim though, Fatal Force seemingly didn't sell enough copies to get a sequel after Macrospace merged with US firm Sorrent, and then became Glu Mobile. Its website lives on though, and there's even an emulated demo.

So if Glu's designers are ever looking through their back catalogue wondering which titles to revive, I know which one I'll be rooting for...

Next week: Balloon Headed Boy (the 2003 edition)