Time Crisis II
- 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.)|
The story mode is once again on the short side, clocking in at 15 to 20 minutes, and combined with the more forgiving mechanics, it makes the game feel like less of a challenge than before. The PlayStation 2 version fails to include any additional campaigns, as with some other games in the series. That's not to say TCII lacks any replay value, however. To get the full experience, you'll want to play on both the P1 and P2 sides, as they will occasionally branch off into different paths and converge later on, giving the different players chances to see scenes from different angles.
As for the home version, there are numerous unlocks to be had. For your first play-through, you'll have a limited number of continues, but this can be extended by either beating the game or using up all your continues, until you eventually unlock the Free Play option. By beating certain score and/or time targets, you can unlock alternate fire modes similar to the special weapons in later games. On top of that, there also shooting-gallery minigames to be unlocked, some of them based on Namco's old gun-game machines, and a series of "Crisis Mission" challenges which you'd be mad to attempt to earn all the medals on.
|Both the first and second-player sides branch off to different paths at times. (PS2 version.)|
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.
Control: 3 crisis sights out of 5
Design: 4 crisis sights out of 5
Graphics: 3 crisis sights out of 5
Sound: 3 crisis sights out of 5
Value: 3 crisis sights out of 5
The Call: 75% (B-)