Review ZIOSoft Spawn for StrongARM

by Reads (9,493)

Overview

“Based on the best-selling independent comic book of all time, Spawn for Pocket PC follows the battle of Hellspawn against Angels in a world where good and evil are not as clear-cut as they may seem. Spawn for Pocket PC is your chance to join in the battle that has endured for centuries and threatens to tear apart any hope for a peaceful existence on Earth.”

ZIOSoft has set the standard for action titles on the Pocket PC with games like Age of Empires and now Spawn. Spawn is another fantastic looking game with very difficult gameplay. However, Spawn is not without a few flaws.

Installation

1) Spawn takes about 2 full minutes to install to main memory (very slow)

2) Spawn has a LARGE footprint: although ZIOSoft says 8MB, I copied 9.9MB from the directory. Conclusion: a lot of space for Spawn.

Graphics

Perhaps the most important aspect of a Pocket PC game, this is where Spawn excels. The world in which Spawn exists is 3d, save for the enemies that you fight. Spawn interacts nicely with the environment and enemies he encounters. The colors in Spawn have a darkness to them, but are brilliant and crisp nonetheless.

The HUD (Heads Up Display) is pretty self-explanatory: top left is the current enemy you are fighting’s health; top right is the level you are on and the number of lives Spawn has remaining; bottom right is Spawn’s special-power meter; and bottom left Spawn’s health meter.

In the bottom middle of the HUD is an icon of Spawn’s face, which when pressed brings up a radar screen that displays the direction Spawn is facing and the location of remaining enemies on the level. This is an extremely nice feature. How many times have you gotten lost trying to find that last enemy in a game, not to mention how many hours you wasted?

Another unique point to make is the comic-driven plot between stages. This adds to the gameplay not only because it has never been done before, but because it allows you to choose how you want to play Spawn. You can either choose to become good or evil. I’ll let you make that decision!

Sound

The sound in Spawn is not terribly exciting. Upbeat music and repetitive noises make up the majority of Spawn’s audio. I found the punching noise particularly annoying after about the 345,234th punch.

Gameplay

The gameplay is not as easy as it might seem. There are two ways to control Spawn’s actions: use the stylus or the d-pad. It is rather difficult to control Spawn either way, as the camera is in a fixed position directly behind him. This makes it hard to fight enemies that are close to Spawn, as you can easily find yourself running in circles trying to hit someone while being shot by their cohorts. In the end, I found it easier to use the d-pad to control Spawn, rather than the stylus.

Bottom Line

Spawn, like most other Pocket PC games, has its strengths and weaknesses. Although navigation is challenging and difficulty is frustrating, Spawn’s beautiful graphics and plot-driven storyline makes it nonetheless entertaining. Gamers who want an easy to learn, but challenging adventure might really enjoy this latest effort by ZIOSoft.

You may download a free trial of Spawn or purchase for $29.95 from Handango (product link).

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