Friday, 16 October 2015

Time Crisis - Arcade


It's time, for a Crisis

Pedals and guns. An odd combination to be sure but it has a lot of potential and thanks to Namco, they've managed to turn it into an entire franchise through Time Crisis. Use the gun to shoot everyone and everything you possibly can in the shortest amount of time in order to progress through the levels, while using the pedal to advance and releasing the pedal to become indestructible but at the cost of a) time and b) not being able to shoot anything at all.

There are shotcuts to be found too

There's a plot in Time Crisis, as one might hope for and it runs along the B-Movie lines of "Someone has been kidnapped, arms smugglers are attempting to take over some small principality and you're being sent in, lone agent style, to stop the plot, save the hostage and shoot up more people than Rambo, Commando and Robocop combined. 

Quite a few shortcuts

As expected, the focus in the game is on Time and there being a Crisis. The Crisis has already been explained and the Time element is that you'll have approximately a minute to beat the game. However, before people decry bullshit, you gain time in various ways. These range from clearing an area, to shooting yellow/gold enemies which only appear periodically and briefly for a bonus of 2-5 seconds, as well as getting quick-fire accuracy shots for more time and there's always alternative solutions in blowing something up or being quick enough to bypass stop-gap checkpoints as an extra incentive for the especially quick players. 

Whoa! A plot too!

You're given several lives in Time Crisis, depending upon the arcade settings, ranging from 3 to 9 (only the super generous would permit that however) and getting shot by a lethal bullet or explosive or even hazardous surroundings, will results in having one of your health points removed and staggers your view for a few seconds, losing even more precious time. The issue is that if you run out of time, it's game over regardless of the health of which you're carrying on you. That aside, once you get used to the idea that speed and accuracy and bravery will win this, not cautiousness and carefulness, you will make significantly more progress and find yourself only really stepping off the pedal once a reload is required or one of the red soldiers turn up, as these ones are almost certain to be firing lethal shots. Not that the others can't wound, they're just much less likely to do so.

There's quite a variety in locations and settings in the game

Cars, cannons, helicopters, these are several of the larger enemies in the game that will require more firepower to take down. Failing that, there's always soldiers, rocket soldiers, ninjas with claws, ninjas with knives, machine gunners, soldiers with pipes and many other enemies. It's an interesting mix of madness while you'll quickly learn to spot the red enemies and unique enemies as they'll be the ones that shoot you before you realise it. 

Sadly, not the final boss

The music in Time Crisis fits well and has been scored appropriately, a steady set tempo that becomes more manic and intense during the lead up towards the more climatic battles and dips back at the start of a level to ease us emotionally into the next round. Speech has been recorded well and you'll often hear "Action!" as if this game took on the form of a movie or cinematic but it's suitable enough to not be repetitively annoying and often is welcomed as it makes it abundantly clear when the action is back on again.

Only the red guys should be worried over.

It's an impressive game and concept (If Space Gun hadn't done it first...) and for the first game in the franchise, has shown that you can take the old style of the on-rails shooter and make something innovative with it. Unlike Space Gun, Time Crisis is fully 3D using the similar graphics engines that the PSX could manage but for some reason it works very well with this game, scenes and backgrounds are wonderfully represented given the circumstances and everything does feel like a hike through an East European castle with its construction sites, science labs (including 'The Fly' teleporters...) all the way up to the big final battle with the Man-Behind-The-Man bad guy. Who keeps popping up in other games.

Certainly worth several credits and hopefully you'll have a machine that gives you a plethora of lives with which to play around.