59279 The Top 3: Shooting Games David Averbach Benjamin Katz iPhone Life 1528-5456 2010-09-23 NovDec2010_BuyersGuide 2 5 41 Apps Games

Eliminate Pro

Free, app2.me/106

imageEliminate Pro revolutionized two categories in the App Store in a single swoop. Not only was it the first large scale attempt to bring an online deathmatch to the iPhone, it was the first title to show that "freemium" games can work outside of Tap Tap Revenge. When first released, Ngmoco's hit title started out on shaky ground with unpredictable servers and unrealistic recharge times. Both problems have been addressed and Eliminate Pro is now at a stage where you can have a lot of fun for free…and even more if you pay.

Why is this game so good? It looks great, offers a lot of customization, and lets players level up. In ranked matches, you can earn credits by killing other players and by collecting the credits that fall out of other players when they die, even if you didn't kill them. Earning so many credits allows you to level up and buy new weapons, armor, etc. Customization and levels are features that are still lacking in the other online shooters found in the App Store. Choosing weapons and armor that suit your game style makes this a more interesting game. There are a lot of different maps to play on, and updates add new content all the time. Eliminate Pro is by far the best multiplayer experience available on the iPhone.

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

$2.99, app2.me/2596; $4.99 (HD version for iPad), app2.me/2597; free versions of both also available

imageGameloft has been offering the best iOS shooters for nearly two years and continues to do so with Modern Combat: Sandstorm. It's as close as you can get to playing Modern Warfare 2 on the iPhone. This was Gameloft's first shooter to use stunning 3D graphics, which really got everyone talking. This game is still one of the best looking games on the App Store.

This spectacular FPS takes you through 10 missions in war-torn locations. In each, terrorists overrun the area and you have to get down to business and take everyone out. The variety of weapons and missions make this one a heap of fun. The animations are excellent, and the game manages to run smoothly on any generation device. Modern Combat: Sandstorm is a challenging game—a must-buy if you're looking for a modern war fix.

Best Shooter

N.O.V.A – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

$4.99; app2.me/362; $6.99 (HD version for iPad), app2.me/2598; free version also available

imageReferred to as the "Halo of our generation," N.O.V.A is arguable Gameloft's finest creation—and one of the most hyped games ever to be released in the App Store. What makes this the best? Most importantly, it's the great graphics, especially when displayed on the iPhone 4's Retina Display. Other factors include the fun game play and striking similarity to the Halo series, one of the most well-known brands in gaming.

N.O.V.A. is the only first person shooter from Gameloft that I couldn't find any faults with. Everything has been improved from Gameloft's past attempts, including controls and the online experience. N.O.V.A is an amazing example of what the iPhone can handle. It's as good as it gets—a game you must own!