Time Crisis 3
- Publisher: Namco
- Developer: Namco
- Arcade, 2003
- PlayStation 2, 21 October 2003
- Genre: 3D Action (Rail Shooter)
- Players: 1-2
- Save: Memory Card (212KB)
In TC3, you play as yet another pair of colour-coded VSSE agents, but the circumstances they're dropped into are a bit different from the usual fare. The setting is Astigos Island, a place heavily inspired by Greek islands such as Mykonos and Santorini, and it is currently under invasion by the army of the neighbouring Zagorias Federation, and its general (and the game's final boss), Giorgio Zott. In terms of writing a believable story, that's already a step up from the megalomaniacal villain of, say, TCII. In the various cutscenes, your player-characters also interact with a resistance fighter named Alicia Winston. While she doesn't have any effect on gameplay, this is an improvement from a storytelling perspective, considering that the usual role of women in Time Crisis games is that of the damsel in distress. As arcade-based light-gun rail-shooters go, being a genre filled with excuse plots, I was not expecting the story in TC3 to be as juicy as it was, but there you go. Granted, the voice- and motion-acting don't take themselves seriously enough to match the story, but baby-steps, people!
|Shoot soldiers in yellow outfits for special weapon ammo.|
In addition from the extra efforts put into the story and gameplay, the content has been buffed up considerably, too. Both the arcade and Rescue Mission stories take around 30 minutes to clear, which doesn't sound like much, but is still an improvement for this series. It feels like a longer journey, too, because each stage within each act takes place in a different setting. In act one, for example, you go from a beach, to a wrecked ship, to fighting the boss on a moving Jeep. That said, TC3 seems to have copied its action setpieces from the last game. The first act's boss takes place on a set of moving vehicles, the second act takes place on a train, and the third act includes a mini-boss battle with, of course, Wild Dog. As with the home port of TCII, TC3 lets you unlock unlimited continues and ammo for both your main and sub-weapons through repeated playthroughs and other achievements.
|The Rescue Mission mode adds weapon upgrades and sniper levels into the mix.|
Time Crisis 3 is yet another example of how to do a sequel right. Now that Namco knew what they were doing, they were free to experiment with new mechanics. And not only did they do so, but they managed to design the game around them, for better or worse, so they come across as less a tacked-on gimmick and more an integral part of gameplay. Having a more intriguing story than the usual arcade shooter fare is a bonus, as well. Is it the best light-gun shooter around? I'd love to say so, but there's one other game which makes a strong case for that title, and you'll find out about it soon on the SDP!
+ The multi-weapon system.
+ A longer run-time compared to the rest of the series.
+ The "Rescue Mission" mode in the PS2 edition.
+ Probably the best story the series has ever had and will have.
- An over-reliance on armoured enemies.
- The action setpieces seem recycled from Time Crisis II.
- Motion and voice-acting is still a little campy.
Control: 3 special weapons out of 5
Design: 5 special weapons out of 5
Writing: 4 special weapons out of 5
Graphics: 4 special weapons out of 5
Audio: 3 special weapons out of 5
Value: 4 special weapons out of 5
The Call: 85% (B+)