- Publisher: Namco
- Developer: Namco
- Arcade, 1998
- PlayStation 2, 1 October 2001
- Genre: 3D Action (Rail Shooter)
- Players: 1-2
- Save: Memory Card (74KB)
Our excuse plot this time around concerns an industrialist named Ernesto Diaz, who has just finished launching a network of communication satellites into space, only as a cover for sending nuclear weapons up there as well. This time around, VSSE sends two agents (named Keith Martin and Robert Baxter) to stop him in his tracks, kicking off a series tradition of colour-coded heroes in red (for Player 1) and blue (P2) outfits. There's also an allied informant named Christy Ryan who tips off VSSE about the evil plot, but she gets captured in the opening cutscene and doesn't show up again until the final chapter. This game doesn't nearly pass the Bechdel Test, is what I'm trying to get across. Oh, and Wild Dog returns, this time demoted to the rank of mini-boss.
|TCII finally adds a visual warning for shots|
that are about to hit you. (PS2 version.)
|Both the first and second-player sides|
branch off to different paths at times.
Speaking of the home version, it is backwards-compatible with the PlayStation's GunCon, but also came bundled with a new light-gun model designed for the PS2: the GunCon 2. The GunCon 2 adds a few extra buttons, including one below the handle if you want to pantomime reloading the magazine, along with a D-pad up along the back. Even though TCII doesn't use these extra buttons for any specific features, the D-pad in particular is a very ergonomic option when used as a button to hide and reload with. As for re-creating the two-player experience of the arcades, your options are either split-screen or to link up two PS2 consoles by their iLink (a.k.a. Firewire) ports. Don't remember iLink? That's probably because it was abandoned by later models of the PS2, even before the redesigned version from 2004. Besides, this option would require you to own two TV monitors, two PS2s, two copies of the game, and two GunCons. If you're that intent on re-creating the arcade setup, you're probably better off buying an original arcade cabinet.
If I had to guess why, I'd say the lasting appeal of this game owes itself to the inclusion of a two-player option. The Time Crisis II arcade cabinet basically consists of two side-by-side machines which can either run independently or in co-operative multiplayer. Think about it from the arcade operator's point of view: you can get more income from a game that supports two people than with one, i.e. the first Time Crisis. As for the home port, it's nice that Namco went above and beyond the call, and added unlockable content to pad out the game's short running time. But TCII's lasting legacy is how it brought its series to a more accessible level of difficulty, and whether it makes the game more fun or too easy to be fun is a call best left for you, the player.
+ New mechanics and rules make the game more accessible.
+ The two-player co-op mode.
+ The new GunCon 2, designed for the PlayStation 2 version.
- The new mechanics do take away most of the challenge from the first game.
- Still on the short side.
- Imperfect multiplayer options on the home version.
The Call: 75% (B-)