When I first read the announcement from Namco about Time Crisis Mobile, I was thinking this must be one of those games where they take a first person shooter and turn it into a top down game. So here we have a classic light gun shooter that can be turned into something else. When I looked at the screenshots, I was flabbergasted. It’s actually a rail shooter. How? Why? Everyone knows that games originally designed for arcade light guns make less than successful conversions to consoles. And if you happen to not own any light guns, playing with a console controller is asinine. Just think how many times you have to press a directional button or hold an analog stick to get your cursor on a target.
What about playing with a cellular phone? Somehow, the developers of Time Crisis Mobile have pulled it off. The secret trick to making this rail shooter even remotely playable is by designing the game around the phone itself. Instead of having you move a tiny target reticule over enemies your gun has been divided into nine quadrants corresponding to the keys on the phone. The zero key is used to hide behind cover. In a firefight, you’ll get out of cover, pop off a few shots and return to cover.
With the controls down pat, this game is surprisingly very fun. The level of challenge is just about right for a wireless game. Some enemies take more than a few shots to bring down, especially the boss characters at the end of stages. Like most light gun titles, you can’t really expect much of a story but suffice to say, the Story Mode links a bunch of different locales together so you can mow down a few hundred enemies. The game features some challenges that help unlock Crisis Missions. Completing the Story Mode also helps too.
The graphics are pretty faithful to Time Crisis. The mobile version uses lower resolution but all in all, there are enough explosions and varied buildings to keep things interesting. The motion of terrorists and your own personal movement throughout the game is also smooth so the game isn’t some contrived version of whack a mole.
Compared to what I thought the game would be like, Time Crisis Mobile really surprised me. It has quickly become a favorite of mine and because of its accessibility I believe it should be a standby for others as well.