Doom Classic (iPhone): What happened to the font?

9 11 2009

iphonedoom

I was going to write a review of id’s latest iPhone release, but let’s be realistic: it’s Doom, you already know what you’re getting yourself into. If you just want to shoot demons and zombie soldiers on Mars and in Hell on your iDevice then go for it. It plays well and has local multiplayer, and if Wolf 3D Classic is any indication will have user-created map support at some point down the line. And, dare I dream, mods? Maybe not, but the rest is cool beans with me.

What is not cool beans is the way id bungled the presentation in this version.

Menus are extremely bland blocks that, yes, are very large and functional but look like complete ass on a platform that is known for aesthetic elegance across the board. And what the hell happened to the in-game font? It’s there for end-of-episode story blocks, but completely absent when fending off the hordes of Hell.

That font is a signature element of Doom and it’s been neutered by what looks like a Verdana variant. Was it hard to read? Did id lose the original font and had no choice but to use something else? It’s there in that screenshot, but this type of inconsistency is tough to swallow on a platform renowned for uniform elegance.

It feels cheap and rushed, but considering John Carmack himself did essentially all the work I can see why it’s this way (the man is known for kickass tech, not art design); I only wish it wasn’t. It’s possibly the ugliest interface I’ve seen come out of the App Store so far and I can only hope Carmack pulls a UI designer aside and has them spruce it up a bit.

Oh god, the font. It kills me more than it should, but dammit, id, that font is half the nostalgia.

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