(Note: We had been kicking around a reviewable copy of Time Crisis 3 for about a month now but it had some bugs and issues that we felt would be worked out in the final build of the game. This review is for the retail boxed product and not the gold master that we received in early September.)
If you’ve been to an Arcade within the past five years chances are you’ve been exposed to the Time Crisis
series of games, Namco’s excellent lightgun franchise. Taking a detour from your standard lightgun shooter, players were given more control over the action and were allowed to hide from enemy fire as opposed to staying stationary while being pelted with bullets. This lead to some pretty intense action and as the series gained popularity Namco developed a sequel. Time Crisis 2
didn’t change the gameplay formula too much but it did
add the much-needed two-player support that’s the trademark of most lightgun shooters. On the third round Namco has thrown some new weapons into the fray, all of which make a rather significant impact on the gameplay.
We’ve also got an entirely new storyline that details the struggles of a small island nation under attack. The beautiful island of Astigo has been taken over by a rogue army. They’re not just there to take in the sights though; they’ve already set up nuclear warheads that are capable of attacking the nearby nation-states. It’s now up to you to play as our favorite heroes as they’re saddled with diffusing the situation and restoring the world’s balance. Along the way you’ll encounter some familiar faces (Wild Dog) and some not-so-familiar faces (newcomer Alicia) but the storyline is merely a device to allow you to mow down endless hordes of baddies.
What differentiates TC3 from its predecessors is the new weapon select system. While the idea was kicked around a bit in TC2 you were only given access to the weapons for specific sequences. This time around you have these weapons with you at all times and can use them at your own leisure, provided that you have enough ammo. You now carry three weapons in addition to your standard handgun. First is the machine gun which is handy for mowing down hordes of enemies or taking down machines. Then you’ve got the trusty shotgun that really works wonders in tight corridors. Last is the grenade launcher which is devastating for groups of enemies and heavy machines. A problem with the weapons is that you’ll never have to reload them. As long as you have enough ammo you can stay up and fire until your cache is depleted. While this make may sense if you could only carry 20 or so rounds for the machine gun but consider that you can hold about 200 rounds and you begin to notice how this can be a problem. This essentially makes you a one man army who can deal out massive amounts of punishment without consequence. On the other hand it's damn cool to replicate the feeling of being Ah-nold in Commando
Another problem is that the game tends to rely too heavily on the additional weapons. There are some sequences that are just too difficult to beat with the standard handgun, forcing you to rely more and more on the grenade launcher and machine gun. I like the addition of the new weapons; I just think that there was a little too much emphasis placed upon them. This is especially noticeable because the game is now populated with an abundance of vehicles, most of which can take 20 or 30 rounds from the regular handgun to take out. Sure, you’ll mow through them with the shotgun and machinegun but by the time you’ve finally dispatched them with your handgun it’ll be time for you to ice down that index finger.
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