Time Crisis has long been the standard-bearer for “lightgun” shooters. Namco’s over-the-top, often manic, approach to packing as much action into as short a time as possible works exceptionally well when it hits the right notes and with the launch of PlayStation Move (the game is still GunCon3 compatible too) there will be a wider audience for this home console port of arcade originals than ever before.
On the disc you will find three games. Razing Storm is a spin off from the main line of Time Crisis games; it is set in the future and sees you take down a futuristic terrorist organisation complete with huge mechs and destructible environments. Time Crisis 4 is a re-release of the arcade smash hit which sees you trying to stop terrorists on US soil as they try to release biological weapons. Finally, Deadstorm Pirates is heavily influenced by the look of Pirates of the Caribbean (complete with Kraken- whirlpool level) and features motion-controlled navigational sections which involve rotating the Move controller to spin the ship’s wheel (or dodge, etc.).
The final thing worth mentioning on this feature-packed disc is the Story Mode of Razing Storm. It’s a first person shooter in the traditional sense. The rails are gone and you now have freedom of movement within strictly linear pathways to your goal.
Unfortunately, the “off-the-rails” gameplay is simply horrendous. The control system is twitchy and difficult to find any sort of precision in the shooting. At times the waypointing is almost step by step and at other times it’s almost non-existent. The over-the-top action, cringeworthy voice acting and scripting and huge on-screen directions and hinting make this mode not quite unplayable but certainly unbearable. It even permeates into one of the online battle modes, ruining that aspect of the release too.
With Razing Storm back on-rails for the arcade mode, it is a joy to play. Sure, the scripting and voice acting are still awful and the strictly guided and heavily hinted-at route to victory won’t suit everyone but if you know what Time Crisis is then you know what to expect. The futuristic setting makes for some large-scale boss sections and the destructible environments add to the mayhem. One section, in a South American fruit market, is particularly crazy with bits of pineapple and melon flying everywhere.
The game doesn’t last long, which is to be expected for an arcade port. However if you want a long campaign rather than the high score-based gameplay Time Crisis has always offered you’ll be disappointed. The saving grace for the brevity of the arcade mode is that it always feels much longer than it is. Sections are so manic that five minutes can seem like half an hour.
Deadstorm Pirates gives you a different theme and some new characters (who still have terrible scripting and voice work) but it is very similar in terms of gameplay. Light alterations in the way you play will have to be made in favour of the unlimited ammunition and the special weapons you can win but for the most part this is familiar territory. Not that it’s not enjoyable. Sections where you have to steer your ship, boat or mine cart are novel for the short periods they are presented and the standard point and shoot gameplay is the very reason you will be buying the disc. As an addition, it works but don’t expect it to hold up as an entirely separate game.
Time Crisis 4 (based on the arcade mode from the previous release) is probably the best part of this package. That is perhaps odd for a re-release but it was good the first time around and this arcade port is as accomplished as you would expect for a fourth outing. It oozes polish with visuals being consistently impressive and character models precise and well imagined. Even the scripting and voice acting isn’t so bad in this game. Forgiving the odd prematurely-disappearing downed enemy there is very little to complain about with this addition but it is unfortunate that it somewhat steals the show away from Razing Storm, in spite of being a three year old game.
The Move works well but without a gun-shaped attachment it can be tricky – and painful – to hold correctly for long periods of time. It’s also worth noting that the on-screen crosshair is to be trusted much more than the Move’s ability to keep your aim calibration precise with any physical sights you may have it slotted in to.
All of the games on the disc (with the exception of the ill-advised foray into “off-rails” shooters which is best completely ignored) are enjoyable to play through on your own but they are much improved with a local partner (or three in the case of Razing Storm’s Sentry Mode). The game encourages you to strive for high scores, as all good arcade games should, and if the person you’re competing with is there in the room it’s all the more fun.
- Three different titles included with distinct themes and environments.
- Tight, responsive light gun action.
- Terrible scripting and voice work throughout.
- The addition of an awful FPS story mode which is best ignored.
- Very short campaigns might seem leave some feeling short-changed.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm is a reasonably decent compilation of light gun games. If you just pretend the egregious FPS story mode doesn’t exist there is a good amount of enjoyable content here and for those that have enjoyed previous Time Crisis games this is an obvious choice. None of the three games on the disc would, individually, be worth the purchase price but when you add it all up, and consider the fun to be had with likeminded friends, there should be a healthy market for this. Just steer clear of the FPS mode and approach the voice work well prepared for a laugh.