Hellfire takes you back to the cold war era, when the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. were locked in an escalating race for military supremacy. The original Hellfire game for the Windows Mobile platform came out around 2004, and was dubbed Hellfire: Apache vs. Hind. The title is misleading—it makes it sound like an air-to-air combat game between two helicopters. It’s listed in the category of strategy games by the vendor, but most of the game involves direct combat between a helicopter you control and “bogies” controlled by the computer. (You choose to pilot either the Apache or Hind.) The original game was nicely executed and fun to play, and so is the newer version.
Hellfire runs smoothly on the iPhone and the graphics are sharp, but the control options were better with traditional buttons. The control of the helicopter is managed via the accelerometer: tilt the iPhone/touch left, right, forward, or back to move in that direction. You can adjust the sensitivity of the game tilt; I found that higher sensitivity is better for advanced gameplay, when you have to maneuver a lot. No matter what settings I used, I still found it difficult to keep the chopper from moving forward, unless I practically tilted the game up to where I could barely see it. I looked for a tilt calibration capability, which similar games I have played include, but found none. This allows you to set the relative starting angle of the unit. It can be very dicey landing accurately because of the touchiness and viewing angle (i.e. when you need to land on a small ship to drop off rescued prisoners). I crashed at least a couple of times at the end of a mission because I was low on life and smacked the side of the ship.
The iPhone version of this game adds the ability to raise and lower the altitude during flight (or they have at least added it since the original version). This is useful in some terrain or around target areas—it lets you sneak in below the terrain and do some recon before committing to your attack run. The scenery is well drawn, and the sky looks like photographs of real cloud decks. The game logic is not super sophisticated, but a good mix of mission types and challenges will keep you engaged through the levels. The controls are also pretty easy to master, but the weapons selector and the firing stud could use a little more separation.