CANNES, France--Gameloft's already proven it can get simple N-Gage games (like Asphalt: Urban GT, for instance) to work brilliantly on the new generation of mobile handsets. And now it's trying its hand at porting games with more-complicated play and controls, like Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm. We were somewhat skeptical of Gameloft's ability to translate 12-button first-person-shooter gameplay to a standard cell phone, but no longer are we skeptical. We had a chance to give Jungle Storm mobile a quick try at 3GSM, and we're stupefied by how well this game appears to be coming off.
We tried out Ghost Recon's first mission on a fairly standard consumer handset, the LG VX7000, and decided we could have just as easily been looking at an N-Gage screen. The game runs flawlessly on the 7000, and it does so at a frame rate that meets or sometimes even exceeds the N-Gage version's. More impressively, all the game's graphics appear to be of a very comparable quality, from the polygonal models to the textures. We anticipated that the port's main snafu--the complicated controls--would submarine gameplay, but, in fact, the game was quite playable with a bit of practice. The only real difference involved the vertical orientation of the navigational pad and number keys, which were both somewhat unwieldy at first but became easier after a few minutes. Just as in the N-Gage game, the nav pad aims your weapon, while the number keys move and strafe your Ghost. The only questionable decision in the default configuration revolved around having the 5 key serve as the fire button while also calling for you to use the action button to zoom your sight in and out. Sadly, the downloadable version of the game will lack Bluetooth multiplayer, though all the single-player scenarios, including the challenge missions, appear to be in the offing.
Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm will appear on Verizon's V CAST service in the near future; even though we demoed the game on a non-V CAST handset, Jungle Storm will only appear commercially on V CAST phones. Check back soon for more details.