Time Crisis Strike Review

Time Crisis Strike is an on-rails shooter that attempts to bring the fast-paced action of the Time Crisis arcade games (played with a light gun) to the iPhone. As in the arcade version, you don’t control the direction or angle of your viewpoint–all the camera work is taken care of for you. You do, however, swap a lot of bullets with soon-to-be-dead terrorists by tapping all over the screen. There’s lots of enjoyable gunplay in Time Crisis Strike, but we felt that the brevity of the game didn’t match up with its price.

One of the best aspects of the original Time Crisis was the ability to duck behind cover to dodge enemy bullets and reload–this interactive bit separated the game from its more stationary competition and really pushed it over the top. Time Crisis Strike enables dodging by tilting your iDevice forward (by default), and we’re sorry to say something has been lost in the translation. It’s awkward to constantly have to tilt the screen and disrupt your viewing angle in the middle of a firefight, and it’s just not the same thrill it was before.

Time Crisis Strike bears the standard hallmarks of a large-budget game that puts a lot of demands on the system: it’s a bit of a memory and battery hog, with a slow loading screen along the way. The graphics are actually a little blockier and generally less advanced than we thought they might be, but at least you can clearly see your enemies and the frame rate holds up well. Plus, the gameplay screen is tidily organized, which we would take over a heavily detailed but murky mess any day.

The music is pretty abysmal–a struggle between hard rock and electronica that the listener loses–and we felt that the sound effects were a little loud. When we went to turn them down, we found out that our only options to customize the game experience were a difficulty setting (which mostly adjusts the accuracy and frequency of the enemies’ shots) and the direction you tilt to reload. This seems like an oversight; it’s fair to say a lot of iPhone gamers like to choose their own music. We were also unimpressed with the game’s total playtime: for the money here ($5.99), and the big bucks behind this iDevice port, we’d reasonably expect double the content.

Overall, we were a little disappointed with Time Crisis Strike. Given an additional month or two in development, this thing could have been polished up and damned near perfect, but it feels like we got the beta version instead of the actual release. A couple of updates might get the options back to where they should be–music selection, a different reload method, etc.–and perhaps add a little more content as well. As-is, Time Crisis Strike can be entertaining for a short while, but you can do much better for much less… and still be playing after an episode of Robot Chicken.

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