Time Crisis 4

Time Crisis and I have a long history, as the original arcade machine was a prominent feature of the union bar at my University. This was upgraded over time, and when I returned to visit some friends a few years ago they were up to the third in the series. I would hate to add it up but some percentage of my student debt is due to Time Crisis. I never did rescue Rachel, the poor cow.

I’ve played the arcade of Time Crisis 4 many times and at it’s core it’s the same game as TC has always been, an on-rails lightgun shooter. Time Crisis has evolved over the years and the fourth in the series takes this evolution and builds on it again. We have screen panning, combat in moving vehicles, weapon swapping, multi angle co-op and all the camp voice acting you could ever hope for.

For those new to the series we’ll cover the basics. The game plays out by taking you from encounter to encounter, guiding you through the story, and your job is to shoot the baddies that appear on screen. You reload and/or switch weapons by taking cover. While in cover you cannot get hurt but you are on a timer and as your prospective victims aren’t going anywhere you’ll need to have your arse in gear if you want to get through each section. At various point in the story you will come across a challenge section, usually consisting of holding off the enemy from multiple angles, moving your screen left and right to cover all sides. These can be pretty tough but are not ‘mission critical’ so if you fail you can still move on, albeit feeling a bit of a loser.

I won’t go on about the plot, but crime lord Mad Dog is back again, and he’s being a total dick. You are part of a two man squad of tragically cool cops charged with killing your way through his gang and ultimately facing off with Mr Dog himself. As always the story takes a back seat to the action and the voice acting is extremely over the top.

With the dawn of flat panel TVs several years ago the old science behind consumer lightguns died. So for this HD iteration Namco have had to re-invent the Time Crisis gun controller. Time Crisis 4 comes with the Gun-Con 3, and as much as I would like to I won’t bore you with the technical side. Lets just say it works a bit like a Wiimote. You need to mount two infrared sensors on your TV, then plug them into your USB port on the PS3. The gun itself plugs into a separate USB port. The sensors come attached to adjustable counter-weighted straps to keep them in place. Despite having read that some people have had issues with this new gun/sensor rig, I found it worked perfectly on my first attempt. I didn’t get on with the default button configuration but once I had changed that I was very happy with the whole setup.

Aside from the standard arcade mode TC4 has several other modes for you to try out, including some simplistic mini games and an option to play through the story as if you were playing a FPS, essentially taking this on-rails shooter off of it’s rails. It’s not a bad distraction and a nice idea but I didn’t take to it. I found it a little too clumsy along with it suffering from some graphical and framerate problems.

The arcade mode is presented with pleasing HD visuals and sharp distinctive sound, I can’t find any fault there, it looked great on my 42” plasma, but I can’t say how will it will perform on a smaller TV, I would guess that anything under 22” and things might start to get a bit cramped.

The price is a little more than a standard game and the basic mode is quite short, but you can’t ignore the fact that you get a huge orange gun in the box. If Namco/Sony are planning on more PS3 GunCon compatible games then this package is a worthwhile investment. How about a new Vampire Night maybe? A next-gen Point blank? Or team up with Sega and bring us the House of the Dead games in shiny HD?


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2 responses to “Time Crisis 4”

  1. Tony avatar
    Tony

    Next-gen Point Blank? Now that’s one hell of a good idea. I can’t get enough of waving a comedy coloured weapon around my living room…

  2. Paige avatar
    Paige

    Absolutely awesome game in the arcade, I always love playing it! Even though I never really get that far…..
    Actually considering buying this, been half and half for a while.

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