Raptor: Call of the Shadows

Shooter games have been around for a while and have appeared on various media such as arcades, videogame consoles, and computers. Among the contributors to the genre was Cygnus Studios, which would change its name to Mountain King Studios, which developed Raptor: Call of the Shadows for DOS, with Apogee, known for their episodic shareware titles, publishing the game. The game would resurface as a normal Windows game and receive an iOS port, which provides an enjoyable experience.

Before starting missions, the player can save their progress and purchase weapons, jet health, and other equipment with money obtained by destroying buildings and enemy vessels. When the player is ready, they can choose one of three sectors to visit, with the nine-level first sector only being available in the demo. The player can move around their jet with their finger, which also fires a constant stream of gunfire. The gameplay is generally enjoyable, although if the player dies, they have to repeat the level from scratch. The second and third episodes can also be fairly daunting, the player likely to avoid them until they purchase better weapons and a few Plasma Shields for extra protection. Aside from these things and no in-mission saving, the gameplay helps the game more than hurts.

The same goes for Raptor’s control scheme, although the aforementioned inability to save in-mission is a major mark off, and while the iOS version allows for an “accelerometer” control scheme where the player can tilt their device left and right, they can’t move forward and backward, and odds are the player will want to control the ship with the touchscreen.

The story, however, is weaker, with no discernable narrative aside from that the player sees when completing all of a sector’s nine missions.

The music and sound effects, however, are well above average, the former being catchy and memorable despite some audible looping, and the latter not detracting from the gameplay experience.

The visuals also look nice, with plenty of unique enemy vessel designs, environments, and plenty of explosive effects.

Completing all three episodes takes a few hours, with multiple difficulties for each episode accessed upon completion of a lesser difficulty, accounting for decent replay value.

In the end, the iOS version of Raptor: Call of the Shadows provides an enjoyable gameplay experience backed up by solid sound and visuals, although there are some areas that leave room for improvement such as the lack of in-mission saving, weak narrative, and spike in difficulty for the second and third episodes. Although the full version of the game was fairly pricy when offered by Apogee, the iOS version is mercifully cheaper, and odds are players will get a good value from the game.

The Good:
+Solid shooter gameplay.
+Great music and sound.
+Pretty visuals.
+Difficulty choices add replay value.

The Bad:
-Some repetition upon dying.
-No in-mission saving.
-Little story.
-Audible looping in music.

The Bottom Line:
Enjoyable iOS game.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: iOS
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: Less than five hours

Overall: 8/10

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