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ups: new game mechanic, diverse gameplay and environments
downs: new game mechanic initially awkward, graphics are good but not amazing

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Time Crisis 4 Preview
game: Time Crisis 4
posted by: RJ Brooks
publisher: Namco
developer: Namco
date posted: 01:05 PM Sat May 20th, 2006
last revision: 01:04 PM Sat May 20th, 2006

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Click to read.Yes, it was there at E3 in all of its arcade glory. This is one of those games that keeps getting better with time, and Namco adds some sort of new gaming mechanic with each iteration.

The first Time Crisis introduced players to the usage of the pedal, allowing players to duck behind objects when they were getting shot at. Time Crisis 2 introduced a 2 player co-op to the franchise, allowing for each player to duck and shoot independently, and to cooperate on attacks in a way not previously seen in gun games. Time Crisis 3\'s innovation allowed for players to have multiple weapons at their disposal at all times from the minute they started playing instead of having to find them.

For Time Crisis 4, Namco has introduced 180 degree movement. Enemies can come after you from both the left and right side of off screen. To shoot them you motion your gun left or right and your screen shift in that direction so you can eliminate your attackers.

At first, this new mechanic is awkward and at times overwhelming. However, the more you play TC4, the more comfortable it becomes. It adds another welcomed level of strategy to an already innovative and complex franchise.

The Time Crisis series feels more and more like a John Woo film with each sequel and TC4 is no different. Your character is always performing some sort of outrageous stunt and/or being shot at by multiple enemies while explosions, gunfire, and fast paced music fill your ears at the same time.

The graphics are colorful and sharp as usual, but nothing groundbreaking. They stick to the visual cue that Time Crisis has steadily built upon, so while Time Crisis 4 looks polished, it is not jaw-dropping amazing in terms of visuals.

Namco also continues to keep the gameplay sequences and environments diverse and unique. One of my favorite levels in TC4 is a design that they conceptually stole straight from one of my favorite shooters of all time - Sega\'s Gunblade series. In this level, you strap into a helicopter, have unlimited ammo, and you fly throughout the city - ducking, dodging, and shooting enemies while the helicopter twist and turns unexpectedly. It\'s very fun.

To say the least, I want Time Crisis 4. I\'m looking forward to it. It was a quiet gem that no one really knew was going to be there, and didn\'t receive a great deal of attention after E3 commenced. I happened to see it by accident as the show closed at the end of the first day.

What system TC4 is being released for has yet to be disclosed. If it follows the tradition of the previous iterations, it will come out for PS2 or potentially PS3, but only time will tell. This is a year for mixing up console expectations.

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