Let it be known that the Azn Badger loves him some Time Crisis.
I think the key to their appeal lied within the simplicity of the gameplay, coupled with the fact that, for most of my life, they were a genre of game that was exclusive to the arcade.
I’ve never really been an arcade game enthusiast, largely because I was never one of “those guys.”
You know, the guy in the arcade that strolls up to the Tekken, or Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or Street Fighter III: Third Strike cabinet, and proceeds to dominate all comers and play off of the same 50 cents all day and all night.
While I was a pretty competent Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament player back in the day, most of my time in the arcade was spent playing the first few stages playing the first few stages of beat ’em ups like Aliens vs. Predator or X-Men.
I say “the first few stages of” because I’d usually only be willing to play for one credit.
Time Crisis 1 was exceptional and unique due to it’s introduction of “the pedal” system for allowing the player to reload and duck into cover at will.
Enemies in the game were purely of the human variety, and would go down with a single shot; an important factor seeing as your magazine capacity was only 6 shots per load.
Like most rail shooters, enemies were color coded to provide a quick means of visually acquiring and prioritizing targets.
To my knowledge, the blue guys were basically worthless, the white guys were a little bit more accurate, the brown guys were about the same, the green guys had heavy weapons, and the red guys were aimbot motherfuckers that could hit you just about every time.
Graphically speaking, Time Crisis was no House of the Dead, but it got the job done regardless.
People looked like people, helicopters looked like helicopters, and ninjas looked like ninjas.
The game wasn’t flashy, with no fancy gore effects or crazy character designs, but it’s unique and exciting gameplay made it something truly special.
Did I mention that Time Crisis actually had a story?
In fact, it’s funny to think it now, but back in the day I actually thought Time Crisis had a pretty good story.
Sure it’s just a standard “the president’s daughter has been kidnapped, are you a bad enough dude to rescue her?” story, but my barely 10 year old imagination spun it into something more than that.
Hell, I can remember dreaming up ideas of how to adapt the game to a fucking movie, even as a kid.
That’s not to say they were good ideas, but come on, I was 10.
The main gist of the story is that a man named Sherudo Garo is trying to overthrow the rule of his homeland by claiming his ancestral birthright.
Mr. Garo enlists the aid of an army of terrorists headed by a man named Wild Dog in order to accomplish this, kidnapping the president’s daughter, Rachel in the process.
Once the introduction is over, the rest of the story is told through a series of in between mission cut scenes.
Nothing really profound or unexpected really happens in the story, but all through the game you feel like an action hero.
As Richard Miller, generic, bad ass and mute agent of VSSE, you are treated to a handful of boss fights that take the otherwise mundane experience of killing the same soldiers over and over again, and make it all worth while.
The first boss is Moz, a ninja who takes three shots to kill, and is a waste of your fucking time.
Next up is Sherudo Garo, who in a decent twist, isn’t actually the final boss of the game.
Crazy, bowl-cut sporting son of a bitch that he is, Mr. Garo actually brings a knife to a gun fight and tries to best you using ornamental ferns as cover.
It’s a fun fight, made all the better by his progressively more visible signs of weakness during the fight.
The big finale comes on the roof of the castle, at sunset, just moments after Wild Dog puts a bullet in Rachel’s arm.
Yeah, with a set-up like that, you know it’s gonna’ be a hum-dinger.
I’d just like to take this moment to say that Wild Dog deserves some sort of award for how truly badass he is.
I mean look at him:
He’s got the trench coat, the pimp goggles, the greased back hair, and fuckin’ red suspenders underneath it all!
He’s like the pimpest thing that ever walked the Earth!
On top of that, he’s got one of the coolest, and most over-the-top voices and deliveries I’ve ever heard.
Seriously, the first time I heard this man laugh, I knew I was looking at a living legend.
Anyway, as if Wild Dog wasn’t pimpalicious enough, he fights you with a pair of Broomhandle Mausers.
That’s Han Solo guns to you and me.
What begins as a duel based around a circular fountain, quickly escalates to something more, as Wild Dog pulls out his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and starts clickin’ that fucker like no tomorrow.
Enemies start piling out of the woodwork, the castle starts blowing up ’cause Wild Dog keeps clickin’ that fuckin’ button, and all of a sudden the game gets crazy fuckin’ hard.
Wild Dog pulls out all the stops in the last minute or so of the battle.
He jacks some dudes’ machine gun.
He starts throwin’ grenades.
He starts teleporting.
Hang on, what?
Well okay, he doesn’t really teleport per se, rather the flames of the explosions serve to mask his movements, making it seem like he’s teleporting.
At least I hope that’s what they were going for.
Finally, as if Wild Dog’s dick wasn’t massive enough already, the final phase of his attack is not to pull a rocket launcher on you, nor to turn Super Saiyan and blast you into the fuckin’ sun (yes, that did in fact happen once or twice), but simply to run straight at you, and try to punch you in the face.
If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.
In short, if you’re man enough to put a bullet in Wild Dog as he reaches out to sock you, he falls over backwards, drops his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and, surprise, surprise, gets blown the fuck up in the process.
Richard carries the wounded Rachel onto a nearby helicopter, they flee the exploding island, they fuck, roll credits.
The console release also had a multi-branching sidestory regarding Wild Dog’s arms supplier, a woman named Kantaris.
The story took Richard Miller on another mad dash, this time as he chased Kantaris through the hotel that was the front for her arms deals.
There were only two bosses in this mode, a random-ass dual-mohawked motherfucker named Web Spinner, and a big fuckin’ robot.
Web Spinner was encountered early in the game, and was basically like a faster, more unpredictable Moz with electrified boomerangs for projectiles.
I don’t know why you would want to electrify a boomerang, but whatever, the man has 2 mohawks, I don’t question men of such character.
The big fuckin’ robot was really hard, but lacked personality, so I don’t have much to say other than the fact that he was cheap as fuck.
There wasn’t much story to the Kantaris mission, however there were a number of cutscenes to draw my little 10 year old mind into the drama.
Part of the fun of the Kantaris mission was the fact that, though the game branched a number of way, nearly all of the ending resulted in Kantaris getting killed in some embarrassing way.
In one ending you shoot at her red sports car, that is, not hitting her, and she flinches like a bitch and rolls it over, thusly causing it to explode with her inside.
In another, her big fuckin’ robot goes haywire and turns on her, pushing her out the window of the hotel, and yes, exploding on top of her.
In still another, you don’t even shoot at her, and the plane she’s escaping in just sort of craps out and crashes on it’s own.
Aside from the gameplay and story, it should be said that Time Crisis’ soundtrack, while repetitive, was wonderfully memorable soundtrack.
I am a fan of thematic scores, and Time Crisis’ entire soundtrack is based on reworking maybe 3-4 major themes throughout the entirety of the game, with most of them being pretty good.
“Stage 1-3” is my favorite, as it’s a medley of every major theme in the game.
You see, yet another sign of just how badass Wild Dog is.
The original Time Crisis was, and always will be one of my favorite light gun games.
It was fun, it was different, and it was balanced, but more importantly, I bought into the drama of the game and made it out to be something more than it was.
While Time Crisis 1 was an excellent and innovative game for it’s time, #2 managed to improve upon it in every way.
Released in arcades in 3 years after it’s successor in 1998, Time Crisis 2 featured a new visual cue to alert the player of incoming fire, an increased bullet capacity from 6 to 9, the limited inclusion of a new weapon, (a machine gun) and the option to play the game co-operatively with a friend.
The new visual cue, dubbed the “Crisis Flash” system, would go on to become a staple of the series included in every subsequent sequel.
The “Crisis Flash” was a rose colored flash that would emit from from incoming bullets just a moment before striking the player.
The system was created in response to the sometimes random instances in which the player would get hit.
While enemies’ colors denote their accuracy levels in all Time Crisis games, in the original there were some instances in which the seemingly harmless blue enemies would somehow turn into deadshots.
Time Crisis 2 corrected this by affording the player with an opportunity, however brief, to avoid any instance of potential harm.
This, along with most of the other new features in the game, served to lower the difficulty of Time Crisis 2 in comparison with it’s predecessor, while at the same time making it more accessible and fun to novice and expert players alike.
The increased bullet count per load in Time Crisis 2 was, in my opinion, one of the most significant improvements from Time Crisis 1.
The original Time Crisis had the player using 6 bullets per load, a number that, while standard for the time, was somewhat difficult to work with.
“Time” was a huge factor in the original Time Crisis.
The player was afforded 40 seconds to deal with any one situation, with extra time awarded for killing orange enemies or reaching checkpoints.
The timer would count down at all times, even during scene transitions when the player was unable to control the game.
Running out of time in Time Crisis would result in a game over, while in all of it’s sequels, the player merely loses 1 hit point.
While enemies rarely swarmed you, it was often difficult to effectively dispatch any one wave of enemies with a single load of 6 rounds.
This would often force the player to duck and cover repeatedly for every wave, thusly draining your precious time limit quite rapidly.
While the enemy count on screen was bolstered significantly from the first game, Time Crisis 2 granted the player flexibility in dealing with them by giving them 3 extra bullets to mount a more sustained offensive, and a more forgiving time limit for times when the player needed time to collect themselves.
Time Crisis 2 marked the first time in franchise history that the player could acquire new weapons during the game.
The only other weapon available in Time Crisis 2 besides the default infinite ammo pistol, was a machine gun given to the player for very specific situations.
The “situations” in question were a few instances in which the player was faced with the challenge of taking on heavily armed APC’s.
When using the machine gun, the player would be treated to the advantages of automatic fire, and unlimited ammo.
Unfortunately, the game’s player characters, Keith and Robert would always see fit to discard these wonderful guns upon taking out the APC’s, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”
Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but hey, the game would probably be too easy if they let you keep the machine guns.
Just ask Time Crisis 3…
Despite all of the neat little improvements that Time Crisis 2 made over it’s predecessor, by far the most significant of these was the addition of two player co-op gameplay.
Light gun games and co-op go together like spaghetti and meatballs.
Despite this, it’s easy to understand why the original Time Crisis didn’t include the feature.
Namco already broke the mold by introducing the “Hide and Shoot” pedal mechanic, and the creative fatigue associated with this, coupled with the technical limitations of 1995, probably resulted in them being unable to incorporate the feature.
At least that’s my guess.
Co-op in Time Crisis 2 was executed in a unique and brilliant fashion.
While virtually every light gun game before had the player characters occupying the same field of vision, on the same screen, the Time Crisis 2 arcade cabinet was split into 2 separate screens, allowing for instances in which the two players would split up, viewing the same scene from different angles.
This, combined with the nifty recoiling light guns, made for an exciting and colorful experience, wherein the two players would often times be caught up in cross fires while trying to cover one another.
It also made it possible for the two players to mess around and shoot one another if they so desired.
Fortunately, the game only penalizes the players for doing so by removing points, not by damaging the player.
Whatever man, you’d have done it too…
I played Time Crisis 2 like a mad man in the arcade, but it wasn’t until I bought it on the Playstation 2 that I truly began to love it.
The PS2 port of Time Crisis 2 came out in 2001, and, like it’s predecessor, it featured a lot of bonus content.
The game featured remixed music, a massive graphical face lift, optional permanent weapon enhancements, the option to play the game “mirrored” with enemies appearing in new places, and a number of scenario missions called “Crisis Missions.”
All of these features, as well as a few others, resulted in a console light gun game that was hard to get tired of.
Done with the single player game?
Play it “mirrored” and you’ve got basically a whole new game on your hands.
Done with “mirror” mode?
Try playing through the game with a shotgun, see how it feels.
Try 5-Hour Energy.
*Ahem!* Sorry about that, WAY too many Hulu ads.
The “Crisis Missions” were essentially training missions designed to challenge your skills and help you become a better player.
Either that or they were just cruel jokes meant to make you feel dumb for being unable to complete them.
In short, the “Crisis Missions” were very hard, much harder than the story mode of the game, even on the hard settings.
Most of my memories of “Crisis Mode” are ones of contempt and frustration.
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t one of those guys that break things when they get mad, otherwise I’d have a lot of broken GunCons.
The story of Time Crisis 2 is standard action movie fare, however it’s progression is a little bit muddled and detached, resulting in an experience that isn’t nearly as memorable or dear to me as the the first game’s.
Using his company as a front, Diaz intends to launch a nuclear satellite into space so he can… Well, it’s never really explained as to what he intends to do, but whatever, you end up killing him anyway so it’s all good.
As members of VSSE, Keith and Robert, it’s your job to take on Diaz and his thugs, destroy the satellite, and rescue Christy, an agent assigned to infiltrate Neodyne.
It’s a good thing that “No One Can Beat Them,” otherwise that’d be a tall order.
Skip to 2:10 or risk losing your sanity:
On the way, you encounter a series of strange and colorful bosses.
The first is a man named Jakov Kinisky, a weasly and effeminite man in a pink shirt and black suit that carries a suitcase.
Oh yeah, and a machine pistol.
You spend the entirety of the first stage chasing Jakov through the streets of a picturesque town and port, literally knocking him on his ass everytime he makes the mistake of trying to shoot back at you.
Eventually, you chase Jakov onto a heavily armed and armored speed boat, which leads to a crazy boat chase complete with attack divers that try to shank you at every corner.
After disposing of the boats defenses, you then cap Jakov in his face, thusly causing the boat to crash, and yes, explode.
Using the intel gathered from Jakov’s precious suitcase, Keith and Robert drive off to intercept a train that is carrying the nuclear satellite.
And yes, “No One Can Beat Them.”
After a hard fought battle, our heroes are faced with the challenge of taking on a black man so tough, they saw fit to give him a Russian accent: BUFF Bryant.
Seriously, BUFF Bryant.
The only other Buff I’ve ever heard of was Buff Bagwell, and he wasn’t nothin’ compared to Mr. Bryant.
As BUFF makes his entrance, a helicopter shows up, airlifting the nuclear satellite off the train and out carrying it far off into the distance.
None of that matters though ’cause BUFF sees fit to distract our heroes by spraying fire at them with a train mounted minigun.
When that proves ineffectual, BUFF casually hops out of his seat, strolls over to a surface-to-air missile stowed on the train car, and proceeds to pick it up to club you over the head with.
What the fuck Namco, did I miss something?
I can understand if the man’s supposed to be bulletproof, ’cause he’s wearing nothin’ but a dress shirt and suspenders and somehow it takes like 50 rounds to make him flinch, but when the guy starts picking up 30 foot long missiles, then I just get confused.
It must be the pimp-ass suspenders, after all, Wild Dog’s got ’em and you saw all the crazy shit he was doing in Time Crisis 1…
Anyway, BUFF drops the missile eventually, whereupon he decides to pick up his minigun and hop onto a nearby helicopter with it.
After doing a few passes on you, eventually BUFF takes one too many bullets to the face and he rears back in his seat, shooting out the Jesus bolt in his helicopter in the process, thusly causing, you guessed, an explosion.
For whatever reason, the train starts to fall off a cliff after this, thusly forcing Keith and Robert to flee the ensuing destruction and explosions.
Fortunately, “No One Can Beat Them,” and after a bunch of stupid bullshit involving Last Crusade nonsense and inept guards, our heroes manage to commandeer a nearby helicopter that just happens to have a pre-programmed flight pattern for Ernesto Diaz’s island hideout.
With that, our heroes head over to the island and start killin’ bitches.
Armed with a brand new robotic gatling gun arm and a fatty new facial scar to boot, Wild Dog puts the hurt on our heroes while Diaz hangs back and shoots rockets at them every now and again, you know, like you do.
Despite looking, unbelievably; even more pimp than ever before, Wild Dog is nothing more than a minor obstacle in Time Crisis 2.
“Obstacle” being the operative word in that sentence.
In Time Crisis 1, Wild Dog was the big boss, the guy you had to kill to get to the end, while in the sequel he comes across more as an element of the level design than a concrete “presence” or character in the game.
In either case, being as “No One Can Beat” Keith and Robert, (Note: “No One Can Beat Them”) Wild Dog ends up gettin’ capped somethin’ fierce, only this time he makes the conscious decision to click his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” on himself, thusly setting off a charge in his robotic arm and causing him to explode.
Anyway, upon seeing the pimpest man in existence extinguish his own life in a blaze of B ADASS glory, Diaz rabbits like a little bitch and takes Christy with him.
Chasing Diaz through the installation, Keith and Robert manages to cap Diaz in the face enough times to make him let go of Christy, though in an act of douchebaggery he actually has the nerve to try and toss her ass into a fuckin’ hole.
I’m amazed he even tried to put up a fight, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”
Fortunately, Christy is saved just in time by our heroes, thusly leading to the final battle.
With the shuttle carrying the nuclear satellite beginning it’s launch sequence, Diaz confronts our heroes at the top of the launch platform while straddling a dummy satellite mounted on a complex armature.
Despite being a dummy model for a nuclear satellite, the machine proves to be heavily armed with conventional weapons like laser beams and rockets.
Once again, I don’t get it, but whatever, it’s hella’ fun to shoot to shit.
Taking potshots at you while hiding behind his mechanical monstrosity, Diaz proves to be a decent, if not colorful challenge, however he doesn’t even come close to approaching the level of difficulty that Sherudo or Wild Dog achieved in Time Crisis 1.
It isn’t long before Diaz and his satellite, quite literally, fall before the power of Keith and Robert’s infinite ammo pistols.
Oh yeah, and “No One Can Beat Them.”
Diaz and the dummy satellite fall onto the launching shuttle, thusly damaging it enough to stop it’s ascent and destroy the installation in the process.
With that, our heroes are blown out to sea, whereupon they are greeted by the sight of Christy driving over to them in an inflatable raft.
Cue BLATANT rip-off of music from The Rock, roll credits, everyone fucks, the end.
Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack, both in the arcade, and remixed on the console, was nothing to write home about.
The Time Crisis theme is evident throughout the game, however the intensity level of everything is significantly taken down a notch.
I mentioned that the ending theme of the game is, in my opinion, a rip-off of the theme from the movie The Rock.
In case you’re curious, here’s the evidence of my claim:
Skip to 9:05 for the source material:
Now skip to :40 of this one, and tell me they aren’t nearly identical:
In the console version of the game, this theme, ripped-off or not, is repeated throughout the game at several points, most notably during stage 2.
Rip-off or not, this theme can’t hold a candle to the original Time Crisis theme.
Wild Dog’s theme is thankfully reused for his appearance in the game, though once again, the intensity level just isn’t there.
Time Crisis 2 stands as my favorite light gun game of all time.
It may not have connected with me on as personal a level as the first in the series, but sometimes that’s not important.
Because Bloodsport is a fucking fun-ass movie and Shawshank requires a bit more investment than I prefer to give in most cases.
Time Crisis 2 was just plain fun, end of story.
For the first time in the series, a new “inventory system” was added, granting the player access to a machine gun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher at all times throughout of the game.
The addition of these special weapons changed the dynamic of the game drastically.
Selecting weapons was done by pulling the trigger while in cover, so there was very little pressure to select weapons quickly, however, by giving the player options on how they wished to approach every gun fight, it slowed down the pace of the game somewhat.
It should be noted that the “Time” aspect of the 3rd Time Crisis, is almost entirely a non-factor at this point in the series.
In addition to this, because the expectation was that the player would be using these powerful new weapons throughout the game, the difficulty level was padded in the form of granting several enemies a lifebar system as opposed to the “one shot, one kill” dynamic of the previous games.
I use the term “padded,” because the whole lifebar system felt tacked on and inorganic.
In prior games in the series, one shot was usually enough to kill virtually any enemy in the game.
Some bosses in Time Crisis 2 would take several shots to stun, but even then, none of them had a fatty lifebar floating over their head to tell you when they were going to flinch.
Despite the lifebars hanging over most enemies’ heads in Time Crisis 3, for the most part they didn’t flinch when being shot, which resulted in many instances where enemies would land hits on the player while eating entire clips in the face.
Strangely enough, despite the vast assortment of enemies with lifebars in Time Crisis 3, the overall difficulty level is decidedly lower than Time Crisis 1 or 2.
Once again, I attribute this fact to the new weapons.
In short, giving the player a machine gun that never has to be reloaded is always a bad idea in a rail shooter.
Because the core gamplay, no matter how frenetic or Paul Greengrass-ed the fuck out, consists of nothing more than spotting enemies and pointing your gun at them.
Do you realize how easy that is when all you have to do is wave the gun across the screen few times to kill everything at once?
Well I’ll tell you: Pretty fuckin’ easy.
Difficulty level aside, Time Crisis 3 was a solid entry in the series.
The color palette was once again made even more vibrant than in the previous game, giving the game a cartoonish, almost anime-like aesthetic.
In fact, many of the character designs in the game reflect this trend, with outrageous, and often; flat-out stupid hairstyles and clothing being the norm for most of the cast.
Case in point:
Sadly, not even Wild Dog was able to escape the aesthetic shift, as his appearance in the game was marred not only by the inclusion of a fruity sidekick/son(?) named Wild Fang, as well as his least pimp, and by far worst “look” in franchise history.
Interestingly enough however, one thing Time Crisis 3 did with just the right amount of flair, was it’s story.
Unlike the majority of the cutscenes in the previous 2 games, Time Crisis 3 included a great deal of action in most of it’s story sequences.
In addition to this, the player characters, Alan and Wesley, were a helluva’ lot more defined than any of the previous ones, with a goofy sort of “buddy cop” dynamic being played up between the two.
Although at no point is it ever made clear that “No one can beat them.”
The story involves a fictional Mediterranean nation called Lukano, which is being invaded by the Zagorias Federation.
The head of the Zagorias Federation, Giorgio Zott, intends to use the location of Lukano to serve as a launch pad for tactical nuclear missiles.
Whoever the fuck named “Giorgio Zott” deserves to get smacked upside their head, ’cause that is just about the goofiest and least threatening last name I’ve heard in a while.
Anyway, international badasses that they are, VSSE dispatches 2 agents, Alan Dunaway and Wesley Lambert, to handle the entire conflict CONTRA style.
After a bloodsoaked beach landing, and a romp along the coast, our heroes find themselves under fire from a giant ass gunship.
Fortunately, the pair happen upon a foxy young member of the Lukano Liberation Army, named Alicia Winston, who just happens to have the world’s fastest and most well-armored jeep in the world.
While riding the jeep, our heroes battle the games’ first boss as he bears down on them with his gunship.
Despite the impressive visage of taking on a big ass plane while riding a jeep, the battle is really pretty straightforward once you’ve taken out the plane’s defenses and forced the flame-haired brute to fight you out on the loading ramp.
Other than the occasional lateral juke every now and again, the guy really just stands there and eats whatever you throw at him.
Oh yeah, and at one point he pulls a 10 foot long Vulcan out, but even so, he’s cake.
Long story short, he dies, the plane goes up in flames, everybody macarena.
With that, Alicia begins to guide our heroes through Lukano and towards the tactical nukes.
Unfortunately, a fuck ton of enemies show up, forcing Alan and Wesley to split off from Alicia and fight their way through a marketplace.
This was one of my favorite parts of the game, largely because of the music and the cute little motorcycle battle towards the end.
Eventually, our heroes make it through the town and reunite with Alicia, hitching a ride on a train while they’re at it.
While riding the train, a foppish, clawed ninja-like character, similar to Moz from Time Crisis 1, attacks them, serving as the stage boss.
The character has no dialogue, but unlike Moz, he actually puts up a decent fight.
Oh yeah, and he doesn’t take 3 shots to kill either.
The boss moves about quickly, often forcing the player to take their shots at times when he is just likely to hit you as the other way around.
To add to the excitement of things, the train the players are on is progressively falling into a pit during the fight, causing your perspective to be obscured for most of the fight.
Despite the bosses arsenal of grenades and claw slashes, he too ends up kicking the bucket like all those that came before him.
Curiously enough though, there is no explosion following his death.
Sometime during the 3rd and final stage, Wild Dog, and his new apprentice, Wild Fang, show up for their obligatory showdown with our heroes.
This time around, Wild Dog is looking a little worse for wear, with his hair long and unkempt, and beginning to gray at that.
Despite this, Mr. Dog demonstrates further improvements in his arsenal, fielding a flamethrower, a rocket launcher and a sword-like blade attached to the machine gun arm he had last time around.
Wild Fang is somewhat of a mystery to me, as despite his armaments consisting of little more than a Mauser pistol or two, his main method of attack involves him kicking objects at you.
By “objects” of course, I mean things like forklifts and I-bars.
You know, standard stuff.
It’s never explicitly stated, however I believe one can assume that Mr. Fang has had some sort of bodily enhancements.
Although if BUFF Bryant is any indication of what a “strong” human being is capable of in the Time Crisis universe, then I could be wrong.
Anyway, the Wild Pair attack in tandem, offering up an exhilarating and diverse challenge that is definitely a step up in difficulty from Wild Dog’s appearance in Time Crisis 2.
However Wild Dog looks like shit, so the game loses brownie points for that.
Eventually, the Wild Pair is defeated, with Wild Dog going about his normal routine of, you guessed, blowing himself up.
After heated gun battles against ninjas, machine gun toting hooligans, and even the occasional submersible or two, it isn’t long before our heroes find themselves at odds with Mr. Giorgio Zott himself.
Like, with a fucking sword, up close and personal.
Zott begins the fight with a submachine in one hand and a sword in the other.
He is exceedingly accurate with both, and even sees fit to borrow Johnny Cage’s shadow kick from time to time.
During the fight, the arena is constantly being flooded with all manner of enemies, ramping up the difficulty level to an extent.
For the final phase of the battle, Zott switches out his weapons in favor of a pair of 4 tubed rocket launchers.
Despite the imposing nature of a man firing more rockets than any human probably should, Zott goes down shortly thereafter, proving be a gaudy and colorful, but otherwise harmless final boss.
Also, he doesn’t explode.
Even as Zott bites the big one however, the missiles he had set up earlier suddenly spring to life and begin to launch!
Fortunately, Alan and Wesley have the power of “dynamic cutscene intervention,” which the put into to play just in time stop the rockets and rob the player of any measure of participation in the games’ final crisis of time.
Remember how I said the cutscenes were flashier this time around?
Well, this is just about the only case wherein I felt this was a bad thing.
That being said, thanks to the power of cool cutscenes, Alan and Wesley get to walk away from a massive explosion, whereupon they are greeted by Alicia.
High-fives, fist-pumping, and three-way fucking ensue.
As a supplement to the main story mode, the console port of Time Crisis 3 includes a series of single player side missions wherein the player assumes the role of Alicia as she assists the VSSE agents and attempts to find her imprisoned brother.
Alicia’s missions include a new leveling system wherein her weapons start out in a downgraded state, only to steadily increase in power with repeated use.
By the end of the game, her weapons display power and rates of fire well in excess of their capabilities in the main story mode.
In addition to this, Alicia also makes use a sniper rifle, which is cleverly implemented into the gameplay by way of a zoom-in button in place of normal “duck” button.
Perhaps the most impressive use of the sniper rifle in Alicia’s game is it’s use during a pivotal point in the main storyline wherein Alicia saves her brother from Giorgio Zott by shooting a pistol out of his hand.
After saving Alicia’s brother, whole experience culminates with a fast-paced battle against Jake Hernandez, a traitor to the Lukano Liberation Army.
The battle is fought under a strict time limit, and is perhaps the most difficult boss battle in the entire game.
In all, Alicia’s missions are intensely varied and excellent throughout, with many of the mission adopting Crisis Mission parameters, such as extremely limited ammo, time, and even the occasional innocent civilian from time to time.
That’s not to say that Time Crisis 3 doesn’t include Crisis Missions of it’s own, however their largely the same as the previous game, so we’ll consider that covered from last time.
Aside from it’s exceptionally colorful and action movie-esque plot, another highlight to Time Crisis 3 was it’s soundtrack.
In short, the soundtrack of Time Crisis 3 is excellent, regardless of it’s connection to the Time Crisis series.
Time Crisis 1’s soundtrack consisted of only a minute or two of of actual composition, with most of it’s running time being made up of variations of the same core theme.
Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack was greatly expanded from the first, however the instrumentation was weaker and not as engaging as the first.
Time Crisis 3 however, has a very robust and exhilarating soundtrack, that while bearing very little resemblance, if any, to the previous entries in the series, definitely stands out as perhaps the best of all Time Crisis games.
My favorite track, by far, was the Stage 2-1 music:
A close second was the first bosses theme:
Sadly, Wild Dog’s theme is once again a step down from it’s original debut, however, given his severely demoted standing among the other villains in the game, it’s entirely appropriate.
Despite Time Crisis 3’s relative lack of difficulty, and borderline childish aesthetic, it stands as a worthy successor to the series, if not a dramatically different one.
To wrap things up, I figured I would take a moment to talk a little bit about the Time Crisis games that I haven’t played.
Released in arcades in 1999, Crisis Zone was the first spin-off of the Time Crisis series, and the first that I would never play.
The game borrowed the duck and shoot mechanic of Time Crisis in the form of a riot shield that the player character wields throughout the game.
In addition to this, instead of the standard issue handgun of most rail shooters, the player was, at all times, armed with a submachine gun.
Well, that’s pretty much the reason I had so little interest in Crisis Zone despite the “Crisis” name.
My feelings on the subject would carry on years down the road, well past the 2004 console release of Crisis Zone on the PS2.
As an owner of both Point Blank and Time Crisis, as well as 2 Guncons, I remember being curious about Project Titan, however I never actually played the game.
I remember reading a review of Project Titan in my Playstation Magazine, (PSM) wherein the editor saw fit to give the game a solid, but otherwise unremarkable score.
This was back when the writing staff was still cool by the way.
The release of Project Titan was marred by horribly outdated graphics for it’s time, a lack of new features, and the impending release of the infinitely superior Time Crisis 2 on the PS2 within the same year.
A minor plus to the game came in the form of several major characters from Time Crisis 1 making an appearance; namely Richard Miller as the player character, and Kantaris and Wild Dog as the game’s antagonists.
That’s right, not even an appearance by Wild Dog could get me to play Project Titan.
In essence, from what I’ve seen and read, Project Titan tried hard with what it had, but came up short in just about every area possible.
Released in arcades in 2006, Time Crisis 4 is the most recent “proper” entry in the Time Crisis series.
I have seen the game available for play at Seattle Gameworks, and while I was somewhat impressed by the game’s graphical fidelity, I was also miffed by a few minor details.
Minor in most people’s eyes anyway.
In short, I was both flabbergasted and appalled by two aspects of Time Crisis 4’s design:
The character designs, and the addition of swarms of creatures called “Terror Bites.”
Honestly, I don’t what kind of Final Fantasy bullshit Namco was trying to pull with this game, but the character designs are utterly ridiculous.
Take a look:
These designs are what you call, “flash for the sake of flash.”
The clothing and hairstyles of the two guys on either side are outlandishly over-the-top, and the dude in the middle’s white man dreads are just plain scary.
Ever since Final Fantasy X (which I have not played, and have no desire to do so), I’ve always bashed the series’ character designs as being too “fashion magazine” like for their own good.
That’s Final Fantasy though, it’s fantasy, it’s supposed to be gaudy.
We’re talkin’ about fuckin’ Time Crisis!
Look at some of the designs from the old game.
Richard Miller, bomber jacket + blue jeans = Hero.
Sometimes simple is better.
Part of what always separated the Time Crisis series from many other light gun franchises, was the fact that your enemies were always human.
Sure, there were always mechanical bosses to deal with from time to time, and the 3rd game put a huge emphasis on putting you up against all sorts of vehicles and what not, but never was there a time in which you were fighting bugs or animals.
To make matters worse, from what I saw in the arcade attract demo, the Terror Bites attack in swarms, which is also a big no-no in a Time Crisis game.
Time Crisis games never swarm the player with enemies, in fact most of the time the enemy count on screen at any given moment is relatively low for a light gun game.
In Time Crisis 1 and 2, the difficulty stemmed from clever enemy placement and the requirement of great accuracy and speed on the part of the player.
Enemies rarely scored hits by overwhelming you, and they never swarmed you or otherwise forced you to spray and pray.
Personally, I felt these two additions to the gameplay structure of Time Crisis 4 have served to potentially send the series down an ugly road.
It doesn’t look horrible, and I still want to play it, however I’m in no hurry and will gladly wait until the price per play at the arcade goes down a bit.
We went over this before, I’m Azn and therefore cheap.
Time Crisis is a wonderful game series, and potentially the best of it’s kind.
I tip my hat to the folks over at Namco for enriching my childhood, adolescence, and teenage years with memories of playing the first 3 Time Crisis games early in the morning on Christmas day.
Huh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but Time Crisis was my favorite Christmas gift, 3 different times.
So no matter how critical I may get of the later entries in the series, when I say I’m a lifelong fan of the series, you know I’m not bullshitting you.
Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about Time Crisis for awhile.
Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t played a Time Crisis game in the arcade before, maybe now you’ll consider giving it a spin next time you’re out and about!