Incredible Crisis Hands-On

It's a crazy Japanese game that's somehow found its way to US shores. But is it just another silly rhythm/music game, or is it more than that?

Incredible Crisis is just about as Japanese as they come. The game was originally developed for the Japanese market, and Titus will bring it to the United States. While no amount of Japanese to English translation can shake the game's obvious Eastern influences, it's those influences that make Incredible Crisis one of the most refreshing and addictive games to come around in a long while.

Incredible Crisis is a huge collection of minigames, which are all wrapped around an unbelievable storyline peppered with life-shattering events and, well, incredible crises. You start off controlling Taneo - the father of the family. After you've finished guiding him through an assortment of twisted scenarios, you'll go on to play as Etsuko, his wife, Ririka, his daughter, and Tsuyoshi, his son - all of whom have to successfully survive the worst day of their lives in order to get home in time to celebrate their grandmother's birthday.

Taneo starts off his day with a little Michael Jackson-style dance routine to "let off a little stress." This minigame is a simple dancing/rhythm-style game complete with synchronized dance moves and a little poppin' thrown in for good measure. After that, you have to hotfoot it out from under a giant runaway steel ball; jam the manual override button of a falling elevator while avoiding debris; walk a tightrope-style flagpole; answer ridiculous trivia questions; navigate a runaway stretcher through streets littered with workhorses, motorcyclists, and automobiles; use verbal clues to find hot points on a woman's body; and use a gun turret to defend an alien mothership from attack. And that's just the start of the game.

My favorite minigame is the Ferris wheel. After crashing your stretcher, you run into a woman from your office who Taneo obviously has a crush on. He takes her to the fair - specifically to a Ferris wheel, where he plans to get mackin' with the girl. In the minigame, you have to give her a back rub and use her verbal clues to find hot spots on her body. You won't have any visual clues to help you along - you'll have to map her body all in your head. Each press of the directional pad moves your hands in a different direction on her body, and pressing a button puts pressure on that spot. Then she'll tell you if you're headed in the right direction, and from this point on it turns into a game of "warmer/colder" until you find the spot. Once you find the spot, you'll have to pound on the pressure button repeatedly until you fill a bar with love points. When you fill the bar, you've beaten the game - and then you're treated to one of the oddest turn of events yet. A cutscene shows the woman thanking you, then jumping out of the Ferris wheel and onto a helicopter. Taneo turns around and notices that she left a bomb behind, and it's just about to go off. The explosion shoots you out of the wheel and onto the face of the helicopter, which shakes you off and drops you near an alien mothership. It's incredible.

I haven't been able to progress much further into the game, but I'm definitely trying. Incredible Crisis is incredibly difficult to put down, and it features enough diversity and oddity to make the game interesting as all get out. I can't wait until the final game hits US shores.

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