Time Crisis Strike Exclusive Hands-On

Time Crisis Strike is now out on the App Store for $5.99. Stay tuned for the full review.

Unlike some other major console publishers, Namco hasn’t been shy about bringing a good selection of games to the iPhone, most recently Katamari Damacy. Time Crisis is another big Namco franchise making its way to the iPhone–perhaps as soon as next week–in the form of Time Crisis Strike, which subs in the touch screen and accelerometer for the arcade cabinet’s light gun and foot pedal. We were recently able to lay hands on a near-final version of the game, and came away impressed by how naturally its terrorist-shooting gameplay suits the new platform. Details and video within!

Time Crisis Strike isn’t a port of any of the main Time Crisis games, which have appeared in arcades and on various consoles since 1995. It’s an original game that’s most directly comparable to 2006′s Time Crisis Mobile 3D, albeit with far improved graphics and controls.

You play as an elite cop on the trail of the villainous Mad Dog, who has an army of jumpsuit-clad goons at his beck and call. You dispose of these guys by blasting them as they pop out of their hiding spots to fire at you. You simply tap the screen to shoot, while tilting the device slightly forward causes your character to duck behind cover and reload. This renders you invincible, but it also prevents you from firing back. You can’t just hang out behind cover indefinitely, because if you fail to kill all the bad guys on the screen before a timer runs out, you’ll take damage–it’s called Time Crisis for a reason.

The terrorists blaze away at you constantly, but like all expendable extras in action movies, they have terrible aim; most of their shots are yellow-colored, meaning they’re going to miss you. You have to watch out for the occasional red shots, which take away one of your five life boxes if you aren’t behind cover. Some dudes will even chuck hatchets and bombs in your direction, and you can play defense against these by blasting them out of the air. There are big boss fights, too, such as when you go up against a tank at the end of Stage One with your puny sidearm.

Time Crisis Strike is a pretty tough game, even on the Easy setting, where you get two continues. Medium cuts it down to a single continue, and Hard eliminates them entirely; the baddies also take more shots to kill, and become more accurate to boot. In addition to the three-stage Arcade Mode, there are five unlockable Crisis Missions, which challenge you to perform specific tasks. We played one called “Yellow Only,” where you are only allowed to shoot yellow bad guys, and you have to bag a certain number of them in 30 seconds.

Time Crisis Strike is entering Apple’s review process tomorrow, so it could be in the App Store sometime next week, if all goes well. $5.99 is the price.

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