Spartacus: Blood and Sand In Review – No pain, no gain!

Games based on TV shows or Movies have earned quite an ill reputation on PC and consoles. A lot of cash gets put into the overall franchise marketing and the games themselves often turn out to be C class products. On the iPhone, however, quite a number of Movie and TV-show based titles have already been released and some have even received well-deserved praise. And I’m happy to report that Spartacus: Blood and Sand is one of the better ones.

Spartacus is based on the original TV series by Starz that just premiered on Jan 22. It is a classic 3D fighting game – a genre not favouring the iDevice with much love and attention. It follows the adventures of Spartacus as he was disgraced by the Romans and thrown into the arena to fight for his life.

As a fighting game Spartacus is quite feature-packed. It has a story mode consisting of 7 stages with TV-show cutscenes between them, unlockable characters (only 2 though), quick fighting, challenge and survival modes, achievements and even local Wi-Fi.

The fighting is done more or less well, at least for an iPhone game. You have an 8-position D-pad to control movement, and attack, block and special attack buttons. There are a few combos and even a fatality. But any fan of fighting games will quickly find himself short on special moves. There are none whatsoever, making strategic fighting a brain-bending affair. There are 9 characters, but apart from animation, there isn’t much difference in fighting style, speed or damage. They are cookie cut-outs.

The graphics are excellent – the characters are quite well designed and drawn and the backgrounds also got quite a bit of love from the developers. And again – the cutcenes are simply excellent due to the fact that they’re simply bits and pieces of the full-featured TV series. The performance is a bit sketchy on the 3G with noticeable lags appearing from time to time. As well, Spartacus is one hell of a memory hog – if you’ve got Winterboard installed on a 3G – reboot in safe mode or use the SwapMode utility I mentioned in one of my articles.

Spartacus is quite a reasonable fighting game backed by a solid TV series. With the lack of proper fighters on the iDevice, the only point that bothers me about it is the price. I really feel the lack of special moves and unique characters, even if offset by the great visuals, multiple game modes, and local multiplayer, doesn’t quite make Spartacus worth the $4.99 pricetag. But as the price drops, it should become an excellent pick for all those hungry for fighting action on the iPhone.

With this I declare Spartacus: Blood and Sand officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Spartacus: Blood and Sand Developer: Artificial Life, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 126 MB
  • Very good graphics
  • A genre lacking on the iPhone
  • Solid controls
  • Multiplayer
  • Various gameplay modes
  • Few combos
  • No special moves
  • No difference in characters except apearance


Rat-a-tat-tat! TMA is a brick house for action gaming.

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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