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Time Crisis 3
game: Time Crisis 3
four star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Namco
date posted: 12:00 AM Wed Nov 26th, 2003
last revision: 12:00 AM Wed Nov 26th, 2003

By Eric Qualls

If you were a gamer back in the NES and SNES days, you most likely picked up an NES Zapper or Super Scope 6 at some point and had a great time.  Nintendo has since abandoned the genre and Namco has picked up the slack by releasing several games for both the PSone and PS2 that utilize its GunCon 1 and 2 controllers.  The guns are far more accurate these days, and the games are a bit more complicated than the point and shoot affairs of yesteryear, but the games are still relatively easy to get into and enjoy.  Time Crisis 3 is the latest entry in the genre and it has a few new tricks up its sleeve that add quite a bit of depth to the extremely accessible gameplay light-gun games are known and loved for.

There is a story in Time Crisis 3, but it won't affect how or why you'll play the game at all.  Two special agents get sent into a small Mediterranean island to take care of a madman who is holding several people hostage.  Got it?  Now go shoot stuff!

Unless you already have a GunCon 2 for one of the other light-gun games released for the PS2, I suggest that you pick up the set of Time Crisis 3 that comes complete with the gun and the game priced anywhere between $50 and $60.  You can play the game with just the Dual Shock, but it isn't nearly as fun and doesn't perform anywhere near as well as Resident Evil: Dead Aim did without a gun.  Another bonus of picking the game up along with a gun is that you can find most of the other light-gun games for PSone and PS2 for pretty cheap these days and you'll already have a gun to use with them.  At any rate, don't bother getting Time Crisis 3 if you aren't going to pick up the GunCon 2 along with it.

The gameplay in Time Crisis 3 is set on rails so the game moves for you and all you have to do is shoot the bad guys.  Don't take that the wrong way, you aren't constantly moving, but rather the game moves you from one area to the next and then you have to shoot all of the enemies before you move onto the next area.  The gameplay hook in TC3 is that you can duck behind cover in order to avoid enemy attacks or environmental hazards.  While you are ducking behind a rock or barrel or whatever, your gun is automatically reloaded and you are completely safe as long as you stay down.  A timer is constantly ticking away, though, and if you stay in one place too long you'll run out of time, so it is better to use cover wisely and take out enemies as fast as possible.  The levels vary from a ship to a moving train to a small town, and while the different locations don't have much of an impact on how the game plays, they do an excellent job of keeping the theme of being on a small Mediterranean island intact.

Time Crisis 3 adds a couple of new twists to the tried and true gameplay of the series.  First off, you can switch between a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, and grenade launcher whenever you want.  The machine gun, shotgun, and grenade launcher only have finite amounts of ammunition so you have to be careful with your shots and try not to waste bullets.  Your pistol has unlimited ammunition, but to replenish the bullets for your other weapons you have to shoot enemies wearing yellow suits.  All of the enemies in the game are color coded this way , green guys are pawns, red and blue guys are more dangerous, etc. , and it is fun to be able to enter a room, gauge the threat level of the enemies, and then choose the right weapon to take them out.  Another area where the gameplay has been enhanced is the use of the environment and set pieces.  You can blow up gas tanks and other objects, which not only take out all of the enemies, but also change the environments by making a building collapse or rocks fall down.  The set pieces used in the game are pretty clever as well.  One example is found early in the game when the boat you are on is sinking and starts to tip up, completely changing the level layout and the way you have to deal with enemies. 

If you know what you are doing, you can beat the game in under an hour.  The first time you play it, however, it is unlikely that you'll even beat the first level.  Even on the easiest difficulty setting, this game is still incredibly hard.   You only have three lives when you first start playing, but the more times you try to go through the story mode the more continues you get and that makes it a lot easier.  Through all of that playing, you get a lot better at the game and memorize the levels as well, so after a couple of days you should be able to beat the story mode.  This is sort of a cheap way to make the game last a little longer on Namco's part, but repeated runs through the levels are a lot of fun, so you can excuse the games relatively short length.  When you beat the game you unlock a rescue mission that is pretty fun and adds a few sniper sections into the mix. 

Just like in the arcade, you can play Time Crisis 3 with two players.  Each player only gets about a quarter of the screen, however, and that makes it very difficult to see what you are doing unless you have a huge TV.  You can hook up two TVs and two PS2s with an I. Link so you can both have full screens, but that isn't very practical for about 99% of gamers out there.  In short, multiplayer sucks.

Graphically, Time Crisis 3 looks nice enough that you can see what is going on, but it isn't as pretty or well animated as RE: Dead Aim.  The environments are varied and look nice, and since the enemies are all wearing bright colored jumpsuits, it is easy to pick them out from the backgrounds.  The enemies have pretty stiff animation, which looks weird at first, but you are usually blowing them away fast enough that you don't have to watch them too much. 

The sound is pretty much the same way.  Good enough to get the job done and little more.  Everything has a very loud arcade sound to it, which suits the game perfectly.  The music is pretty forgettable and the dialogue is goofy enough that the voice acting is funny instead of annoying.

If you are looking for a light-gun game so you can relive the good ol' NES days, Time Crisis 3 is a solid purchase.  Just keep in mind, if Duck Hunt is a puddle, then Time Crisis 3 is an Olympic sized swimming pool.  You can buy the game with a GunCon 2 packed in so you'll be ready to play for a relatively low price, and there are a lot of other decent light-gun games out there that you can find for cheap to justify your purchase.  The gameplay in TC3 is fast and exciting and a whole lot of fun.  Give it a rent if you can get it with the gun, but I think Time Crisis 3 is worth a purchase.