Mission R.I.P.
| Mission R.I.P.

Have you ever noticed that in films, no one can ever hit a damn thing with a machine gun? They’re only any use for shooting up tyres, or strafing along the ground right next to the person who’s being shot at.

Give someone a pistol, however, and they’re like psychic snipers who can shoot the wings off a (winged) amoeba from 1000 yards away.

Well, it seems Dynamic Pixels decided this was a pretty reasonable concept for a game, and built Mission R.I.P. around the idea of standing your ground with a pair of pistols and blasting the hell out of anything that comes into range. In this case, that’s quite literally be hell.

In gaming terms, this action display works far better than it does in the movies. You don’t mind a bit of random blasting in a game - in fact, it adds a lot to the gameplay if you’re not forced to count bullets and can really open up the lead a bit, and there’s plenty of that in Mission R.I.P.

There’s a badly disjointed story running in the background, presumably about some kind of elite monster hunting team, but the English translation’s so bad it’s impossible to tell.

Bad translations, like bad voice acting, can have their charm, and perhaps it’s a little pretentious to expect readable text from a foreign developer, but there’s also no denying that it sets Mission R.I.P. off on a very camp foot - and that’s something it doesn’t need.

You’re standing at the doorstep of some kind of demonic horde. There’s an unfathomable radio conversation with a partner running concurrently with a bit of smack talk from a devilish version of Gandalf, which comes to a thankful end when guns are brought out to do the talking.

You stand still at the left hand side of the screen, while the constant stream of diverse monsters all lumber towards you. Armed with two pistols, your job is go all John Woo on the approaching nasties.

You’re given three levels to aim at - high, middle and low - and depending on which monster you’re shooting you’ll need to aim specifically to take them out before they reach you.

In ‘sniper’ mode, however, the game works by using up and down buttons (on more than three levels) to aim, then a separate fire button. This gives you more control over your aim, but requires you to be a bit happier on the trigger. You can also hit a reload button to fill the chamber quicker once your guns run dry.

Only the other week I was complaining that so many mobile games fail to really utilise the full screen, which is a damn shame considering there so little screen to actually play with on a mobile.

But Mission R.I.P. actually turns the handset on its side so you play in landscape mode. This makes for much bigger graphics, and an extended play area in the direction where it’s really needed for a scrolling shooter like this.

Now, it should be noted that I tested Mission R.I.P. on a Nokia N81, which is designed to be used in landscape orientation (being as it’s N-Gage), but how well this would work on a clamshell phone, where the keypad wouldn’t be aligned with the screen, I wouldn’t like to say.

Though I'll try.It’d be okay with practice, though you might put an unwelcome strain on the phone’s hinge as the action heats up.

Dynamic Pixels only sent us the demo version to review, which allows you to play the first level before having to activate the game. This is actually a decent enough feature, as it means anyone can play a working demo before deciding whether to buy. You can even text message a link to your buddies to grab it themselves.

Overall it’s a very sedate game, however. Once the novelties have worn off, the action feels rather slow and the gameplay very limited.

But it’s a decidedly innovative concept - being played in landscape mode and having your character stationary while the enemies scroll toward you - so it deserves credit in that respect.

With a bit more imagination in the raw gameplay mechanics, Mission R.I.P. could have really stood out from the crowd. As it is, there’s a strong intrigue value, though it doesn’t entirely win out in the longevity stakes.

Mission R.I.P.

A game that makes a significant effort to maximise the mobile platform, but that runs aground in terms of translation and depth of play. Still an intriguing effort if you’re looking for an unusual take on the scrolling shooter