The Nerf N-Strike Elite Stryfe is one of the most impressive blasters available today. The core of the blaster is the flywheel-based motor which, while similar to those in the N-Strike Barricade and similar models, is amped-up for Elite status. Powered by 4 “AA” batteries, and brandishing a design that doesn’t venture far from the typical Nerf look, this mid-range unit doesn’t scream “exceptional.” But with perhaps a single, notable flaw, it is truly one of the best all-around values in foam-dart blasters currently on the market.
Having purchased the Stryfe on special at Amazon for $12.99 as a replacement to a trusty, battle-worn Barricade, we expected perhaps a modest improvement in performance versus the older Barricade, given the Stryfe’s “Elite” status. But what we didn’t expect was how much overall performance could be achieved by a blaster in this price range. In fact, right out of the box, the Stryfe was shooting with consistent mid-40 foot ranges (flat), with upper-50s possible with a slight arc (30 degrees). In addition, the grouping of the shots was remarkably good—something that we have NOT found to be the case with plunger-based Elite models. But what really blew us away was the incredible rate-of-fire. In our testing, we were able to consistently meet or exceed 2 shots per second, and with very little jamming.
Tek Recon was a successfully funded Kickstarter venture backed by parent company Tech 4 Kids of Toronto, Canada. We got our hands on a Tek Recon Havok and two Tek Recon Hammerhead blasters, along with refill pack of the “NRG” (Non-marking, Reusable, Gaming) ammunition. They’re readily available at retailers nationwide, and have even been seen being sold at a discount in some stores (we got ours from Kmart and Wal-Mart).
We’ll say right up-front that these blasters look awesome on the website, and the photography and design style used by Tech 4 Kids to promote the new line is spot-on. The blasters look menacing, in a vaguely Halo-esque, not-too-distant future kind of way, with wild animal-print markings. The product branding also has a very high-tech, mil-sim look that leaves the impression that these blasters were designed by a company that has their act together and that knows their target audience. But that’s as good as it gets.
Let’s get this out of the way: Battle Tag by Ubisoft is one of the coolest laser tag-like experiences you will never have. Yes, I said that you will never have. And that’s a shame. Initially introduced to a very confused E3 audience in 2010, the cleverly named “Battle Tag” system was given a soft release in Canada and Texas shortly thereafter. We first discovered the system in 2011, and went to great lengths to import about a dozen of the blaster/vest combo “Starter Pack” kits and a few med/ammo packs (more on that, below) from Canada, sight unseen. At a cost of about $75 per blaster/vest, it wasn’t cheap then, but now, good luck even finding them. Ubisoft has pulled all support for the system, and currently, they’re going for about $400-$500 per set on Amazon, with very few available (you may have better luck on eBay, though they were also $400 for a new set).