What’s there to be said about a Time Crisis game that hasn’t been said before? You plug in a light gun, aim at the screen and take out wave after wave of terrorists. These terrorists are a brain-dead collection of robots disguised as shock troopers, Ninjas and bosses, and you’ll be blasting away at them as the game drags you between environments. It’s all the same with Namco’s latest: Time Crisis: Crisis Zone for PlayStation 2. But even with all that generic light gun action, there are a few bits of extra enjoyment to be had here, and if you’re a light gun (Guncon) junkie like I am, it’s probably worth renting on a lazy Saturday, just to while away the time. If you are a Time Crisis fanatic, it probably wouldn’t hurt to add it to your permanent collection, though I’d suggest waiting until it hits the magical $25 price point.
If you’re familiar with Time Crisis and other light gun games, you’ve probably had enough of those single-shot “House of the Dead” weapons. So has Namco apparently, since Crisis Zone is all about submachine guns. No single shot slug throwers here, it’s all about spraying plenty of lead and leaving a huge trail of destruction, and there’s destruction aplenty here. Unlike many light gun games (including previous Time Crisis titles), you’re able to literally shred environments while doing a little lead-based landscaping. The destruction is flashy and fun, as magazines flutter, glass shatters and bodies fly when they take a one-way trip on the bullet train.
Namco also goosed up the gameplay by immediately equipping you with a police riot shield, which you need to drop in order to get shots off. Dropping the shield makes you vulnerable to enemy fire (obviously!) and so you have to time your shield drops for when the enemies take a moment to reload. Speaking of the enemies, they are the usual light gun “robots”, because heaven forbid you shoot “people” with a light gun! No, I’m not a psycho looking to live out killing fantasies, but the realism of a shooting game gets taken down a notch by firing at wave after wave of robots that take several dozen hits before dropping. These enemies are pretty mindless, firing in specific patterns, rarely shifting position and only occasionally using cover to proper advantage. If they use soft cover, it’s all over but the crying, as you can blast clean through their cover and let ’em have it. The bad guys will unload everything they can at you, though it rarely seems to do much damage – guns, knives grenades and boxes of bombs will head your way (and towards your head), though none will do enough damage to worry you. So you can just keep on spraying fire with the shield down and have a good old time.
While we’re on the topic of spraying fire, Namco’s made this even easier by letting you double up on your lead blasting abilities. In Crisis Zone, you can hook up a second Guncon (light gun) and go John Woo on the bad guys. Or you can always use ’em to switch between guns while one is reloading.
To keep you coming back for more gunplay action, there are quite a few unlockables and additional challenges. Just trying to finish everything in Crisis Zone should keep you busy for several days (if not weeks.)
If you like Guncon/light gun games, you should definitely rent Time Crisis: Crisis Zone. Hardcore fans of the light gun genre should consider this a purchase, but only when it hits the $20 price range. I just can’t see sinking $40-$50 into a light gun title that doesn’t really do all that much new.
- Gameplay: 6.8
- A few tweaks, but overall it’s standard light gun fare.
- Graphics: 6.5
- Jaggy character models and environments, but lots of fast paced destruction.
- Sound: 6
- Eh. It’s a gun game, not a concerto.
- Replay: 7
- Plenty of unlockables and challenges should keep you busy.
- Overall: 7
- Fast and furious fun, especially for fans of the light gun genre.
— Craig Falstaff