History teaches us that war is a terrible thing. Gameloft’s Modern Combat series, meanwhile, teaches us that war is a pleasure palace filled with identikit evil-doers waiting to have their limbs blown off.
Black Pegasus, the latest instalment, earned a Pocket Gamer Gold Award on iOS last year, and now Gameloft has brought the grenade-hurling, bullet-pumping, explosion-making party to Android.Armed and dangerous
The campaign, spanning a dozen terrorist plot-foiling missions, takes you on a tour of the world’s more hostile environments (from South American jungles to ruined Middle Eastern cities to snowy Eastern Europe).
Although the linear game design forces levels into a series of point-to-point, corridor-style battles, the maps are expansive and lavishly detailed.
Freedom may be limited but tight scripting and controls, along with some bombastic set-pieces (sniper escort missions, tanks battles), keep the action scintillating throughout.
You sprint around levels, or crouch behind cover, using a virtual analogue stick on the left of the screen. The right thumb handles looking around, as well as weapon-switching, ammo changes, and shooting (all achieved by tapping icons).
With controls and icon placement being customisable, the touchscreen action is generally fast, intuitive, and responsive.
The wi-fi or Bluetooth multiplayer offers a lag free platter of four modes (from traditional deathmatches to frantically brief Defuse the Bomb sessions) for up to ten players, with better weapons the hook for levelling up.
Servers are currently sparsely populated, but player levels suggest that there's a committed group playing.Eyes off the target
Black Pegasus for Android only falters when the screen is overcrowded with enemies.
On a Desire HD, the frame-rate dipped significantly during some shoot-outs, leading to some frustrating unavoidable deaths.
But it’s a mild grumble in a game that sets an auspicious benchmark for Android shooters. It'll be tougher to overthrow than a stubborn Middle Eastern dictator.