One of the first games I got for my Amiga was Space Ace. Although most of the original game from the arcade was missing and the graphics were made from actual 2D sprites and not an actual cel-animated cartoon, I still played the hell out of it until I could beat it in less than fives minutes in my sleep.
Space Ace was originally released for arcades in 1984, following the huge success of Dragon's Lair. Both games were Laser Disc-based and were essentially controllable cartoons. Well, at least that the was illusion they so successfully cast.
Former Disney animator Don Bluth created the art and animation for the games and each featured gameplay in which at certain points during the animation, the player was required to press a single button or move the joystick in a single direction to progress.
Basically, the animation was playing and you had to make the right choice, with the right timing, to keep it playing.
Although I always preferred Dragon's Lair, Space Ace added the ability to transform your character from a meek wimpy wimp into the huge, musclebound hero archetype. Changing your character in this way usually added a new puzzle to whatever sequence you were in the middle of. Given the game some added replay value.
On Thursday, Digital Leisure announced Space Ace's availability on the iPhone app store for $4.99. I never played the original arcade game to the very end, but as far as I can tell, the whole game is here.
The game uses the touch screen to allow the player to control the action. On the screen are grayed-out buttons that represent your energize button--represented by a single circle--and your joystick, converted here into four directional arrows.
In the easy mode, one of the five options will light up and you'll have a short window to press that button. In the "Ace" mode, the buttons don't light up. Press the correct button at the right time and you progress. Make the wrong choice, or make the right choice too slowly, and you die. Simple as that.
A few useful options included in the settings include the ability to select infinite lives, which cuts down on frustration for beginners or those of you who haven't played the game in 26 years may have.
Playing at work, but don't want to have to start the game over from scratch each time you boss walks past your office? Don't worry. Pressing the iPhone's home button automatically saves your game to the last section you got to.
The controls are responsive, although the window to react is not always consistent. The video quality is decent, albeit slightly grainy in some scenes.
If you were ever a fan of the game and you're looking to play it on the go, five bucks is a reasonable price. Playing in the comfort of your own home however and you'll probably want to check out the recently released Blu Ray versions.
Be warned, however. According to a few reviews on Amazon, both Space Ace and Dragon's Lair can be buggy when played on the PS3.