Scarface Last Stand – Review

Little Friend or F*****g Cockroach?

If there’s one thing all these gangster types, from to Vito Corleone to Tony Soprano, have in common, it’s their endless quest for a little respect. And unhinged drug lord Tony Montana was no different. So thankfully Starwave, in adapting the last blood splattered reel of Brian De Palma’s seminal crime flick for this iPhone iteration, do so with a great deal of affection, and indeed respect, for the source material.

Resultantly Scarface Last Stand perfectly captures the over-the-top bombasity and ludricrous swagger of Al Pacino a.k.a. Montana’s coke-fuelled final face-off against the goons that have invaded his luxurious Miami hidey-hole with a damn near cinematic level of polish.

Unfortunately basing the entire title around a single scene, even one as iconic as Scarface‘s climatic gun battle, makes for some seriously limited gameplay. A fact further aggravated by Last Stand sticking doggedly to the arcade – and on-rails – shooter formula.

So while the protagonist is a dead-ringer for Pacino, brings a bunch of his little friends (ranging from a M-16 assault rifle to a M-203 40mm grenade launcher) to the party and, of course, spits those endlessly quotable battle cries as he riddles the joint with bullets, the game suffers from comprising of a string of samey levels.

This series of bloody shoot-outs, each taking place in a different area of Tony’s mansion, are enjoyable enough to begin with. From a set vantage point you must pick off waves of Alejandro Sosa’s hench-men before moving onto the next section. I did grapple briefly with the default targeting system, but found that the second option, while not perfect either, was more to my liking.

The gun-fights are just as gratuitously violent as the film that inspired them; the camera gets sprayed in gore, heads explode like watermelons, while certain pieces of scenery are fully destructable and shatter as the bullets fly. Also whilst you cap bad-guys Tony’s rage-meter builds up, and shaking your device sends the deranged Cuban on a momentarily unstoppable rampage. Cockroaches beware!

This mindless killing spree is, for the best part, hugely enjoyable, and it’s only when the realisation hits that every level plays out more or less identically that boredom begins to set in. Later stages are also frustratingly difficult as Tony often finds himself outnumbered at point-blank range, so expect to die A LOT. However it’s most likely going to be the, lets face it, dated on-rails mechanic that will divide iPhone gamers’ opinion. It works well in the spirit of the game, but honestly it lacks sophistication and might alienate those accustomed to modern day shooters.

Ultimately Last Stand is a ridgedly old-school, yet still sufficiently entertaining, arcade romp. And you can add a point to our score if you’re a die-hard fan of the movie.

iFanzine Verdict: Scarface fans will lap this up, for everyone else it’s a mixed bag of explosive on-rails action, clunky controls and repetitive gameplay.

Score: 6.5 out of 10