Either you hate them or you love them. We Europeans keep talking about how you Americans are all gun nuts, and how you are all fat because you can eat at McDonalds all day and it will only cost you like one Euro. I tell you what; I think we are all just jealous. You Americans get to have all the fun, damn you guys I want to shoot stuff too. No, I want to shoot stuff while eating a Happy Meal God damn it!
Thanks to Namco and SEGA, and even Nintendo with the classic Duck Hunt on the NES we Europeans every now and then could take on the role as a gun nut with our plastic guns firing round after round at bad guys jumping around on our TV screens. I have never held or fired a real gun before, but since we’re not firing at real people this time either my safety-orange-goofy looking piece of plastic that Namco sent me will have to do. Time Crisis has always been the king of the hill when it comes to shooting games. Its fast action combined with the ability to take cover makes up for a much more satisfying experience than most of the other shooters out there. Time Crisis 3 is no different, just make sure you buy the bundle where the Guncon2 is included if you don’t already got one from TC2, as your old Guncon1 will not work with Time Crisis 3, and don’t even think about playing this one without a light gun.
The story is about some bad guy taking over some small island, and yes he has nukes if you are wondering. You take the role of two super agents who are sent in to take care of business so to speak. The story is crap and the character design is dull, but the gameplay is ace and you can skip all the story sequences so who cares anyway. The game has three main stages plus one extra stage which you get access to after you have completed story mode. Don’t listen to other reviewers telling you how the game is so short and that the story is crap and that you should rent and bla bla bla. Of course the game is short, it’s an arcade game! Come-on, don’t seriously tell me that you play arcade games to see a spectacular ending. You play arcade games so you can write your name on top of that board and show everybody who’s the king! Time Crises has always been about beating your high score, it will not show its true face before you know each and every stage down to the last pixel, which also brings me to the game’s only downfall.
This time your not only equipped with a hand gun, but a machine gun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher as well. Though this makes the gameplay more dynamic it also hurts the game’s core, which is as mentioned the good old high score concept. This is tragically often overlooked in modern game design. The philosophy amongst many of today’s game designers seems to be more features equals more fun, more dynamic gameplay equals better game. For many games this might be true but for just as many it is also wrong. The first Ridge Racer is such a great game because it only has one track and the driving is far from dynamic. This gives a high score freak like myself full control. There is only one way to take that perfect turn. It’s hard as hell, but when you do you also know you did, and can you do it three laps in a row?
When you are blasting your way through the stages in TC3 with the machine gun not to mention the grenade launcher it’s very hard to get that satisfying feeling of a perfect kill like you did in TC1. Namco should have made an extra game mode “Classic” where you only had access to the hand gun, with a high score board of its own. But with a split screen two player option, even system link for the ultimate arcade experience, great graphics and most importantly great level design combined with solid gameplay, the average shooter fan can’t go much wrong with TC3. And if you are a bit conservative like me, just choose not to use the fancy new weapons and make your own high score board on your comp.