Liam’s Game Room #31 (Time Crisis 3, PS2)

Introduction

Time Crisis 3 is a arcade rail shooter released in the arcades in 2002 and later ported to the PS2 in 2003. Time Crisis 3 was not the first game to get an arcade conversion with on Pong being the first arcade video game and the first to get ported to the home video game market in 1973. Pong spawned an era in the mid 1970’s where game consoles known as “Pong Consoles” were developed by the dozen and alongside the Magnavox Odyssey really got the home console market going.

Story

The story of Time Crisis 3 is set 6 years after the events of Time Crisis 2 and the island of Astigos in the Mediterranean nation of Lukano is invaded by special forces from the neighbouring Zagorian Federation. The invaders conquer over 80% of the island despite international protests against the invasion and under Daniel Winston, the surviving defenders of Lukano form the Lukano Liberation Force. however, some of the LLF gets captured by the Zagorian Federation.

One week after their capture, Daniel’s sister Alicia infiltrates a Zagorian bunker, where she finds intelligence about the fact that the Zagorian Federation has the capabilities to release ballistic missiles, which the Zagorian Federation is planning to use to destroy the rest of the LLF and potentially risk attacking neighbouring nations. Alicia, then saves 2 agents Alan and Wesley who were posing as fishermen who was trying to wipe out the Zagorian Federation and it is up to these 3 agents to try and wipe out the Zagorian Federation and save the rest of the LLF.

Time Crisis 3-1.jpg

The story in this game has a huge amount of depth and it is quite a interesting story. It does use the arcade trope of a government or a force trying to rule the world scenario, but Time Crisis 3 delivers the story in an interesting way to get the player interested. This depth of story was also used in the arcades because if the story was not interesting, then it would have not interested potential players. However, there is a special prequel scenario which is exclusive to the PS2 version where the player plays the story of Alicia rescuing the agents. I found this to be a great touch because then it adds more to the back story of Alicia and also offers the game something extra over the arcade version. I think it also explores Alicia a lot more as a character as well because the player will get to see the start of the story from her perspective.

Gameplay

Time Crisis 3 is a rail shooter where to progress to the next section, the player must defeat all the enemies in the area within the time limit. The game is split into 4 stages with each stage being a different section of the island and there is quite a lot of variety in terms of setting. This makes sure that each individual stage is unique and the way the stages are designed are in such a way that there are multiple unique elements. For example, in stage 2, there is a section where the character is upside down and inverts the controls, which really spices up the stage.

This is a straight port from the arcade and there are minor changes to the game which makes it suitable for home consoles. The first thing is that the crosshair is controlled solely by the analog stick and or D-pad depending on preference, which at first glance sounds like a problem, but in fact it is a huge positive. The sensitivity on the movement is absolutely perfect and there were never any occasions where I lost the crosshair or didn’t know where I was shooting.

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The second minor change, which I am a huge fan of was the fact that instead of the game just stayed at 3 continues and expecting the player to complete it with the arcade preset continues, as the player makes progress through the game, more continues are unlocked. What this means is there is a sense of progression through the game and the game rewards the player for making some progress. The reason why I am such a huge fan of this is because I felt like I was actually getting somewhere and the game was actually giving me credit for the effort that I was putting in. Rather than the game punishing the player for not necessarily getting to the end of a stage, it unlocks more continues, so that I could get that bit farther. However, it doesn’t unlock more continues in such a way that the game feels like it is holding the hand of the player, but more the game giving the feeling that it wants to be completed. If the game had not of done this, then I would not have completed the game whatsoever because I would have gotten stuck. If the player completes the game, then the winning unlock is the bonus prequel scenario and unlimited continues on the main scenario. This alongside the fact that the game will keep track of how quick the player beats the game, really gives replayability in a way that makes the game more fun.

The controls in this game are sublime and are really responsive, which for an arcade game using a D-Pad really surprised me. I thought that maybe the game’s controls would not be as good as the arcade because of the fluidness of the arcade light gun controls, but the D-Pad and analog controls work fantastic. There is never a situation where I felt like the controls are a hinderance, but of course if I had the light gun which game with the special edition, then I would be able to compare them.

Time Crisis 3-3.jpgThe graphics in the game are what really made the game stand out quite a lot because I have played the arcade version of Time Crisis 3 and if someone had put a screenshot from the arcade alongside one from the PS2 version, I would not be able to tell the difference. The textures on the walls, floors and the sky are immensely detailed with most of the small details from the arcade version in this version. The colours are bright and vibrant, but not so much that it feels like a glare on the screen and the HUD looks extremely clear. I was not expecting the graphics to look exactly the same as the arcade version, but somehow Namco was able to achieve this. The enemy sprites and weapon sprites look absolutely fantastic and there was not any instance that I ran into that the detailing on these sprites looked out of place. The animations of the enemies are fantastic and there is no glitchiness with the sprites looking undefined that could have happened with the conversion, but this game is a perfect example of how to convert a game from the arcade and still make the game playable on a controller.

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The game is extremely fun because whenever the player wipes out an opponent, the game gives the player a great feeling of power and also control. The game is quite difficult, but the continue system I mentioned earlier means that as the player goes through the game from the beginning over and over, the player has the opportunity to learn the game and where the enemies come from. This is a huge positive because rather than the player not being able to progress through the game due to one difficult section, the game is really fair with how the continues are unlocked. The only issue I have is that the game does not have that much replayability and the game can be completed in about an hour. Then again, it is a conversion of an arcade game and this type of game tend to not have long campaigns.

Music

The soundtrack of Time Crisis 3 is absolutely fantastic and is a fusion of classical orchestral music and some electronic techno elements. The orchestral elements is composed using a live orchestra, which gives the soundtrack almost a filmic feel. The soundtrack is based around one core theme, but each stage has it’s own version of the theme with some tempo changes, as well as some thematic changes. Normally, soundtracks that are centred around one theme normally would not go well with me because it would give me the feeling that the music was throwaway, however Time Crisis 3 gives each theme a fresh lick of paint to the point where the theme feels new rather than reused. The music also fits the theme of each stage, which makes each stage feel more memorable.

Conclusion

Time Crisis 3 is a fantastic game that perfectly recreates the arcade experience at home, with the controls and graphics making the game one of the best arcade conversions I have ever played. The music is fantastic and the small changes that were made between the arcade and PS2 versions making the PS2 version the superior version. The game is really enjoyable and accessible for players of all skill levels and the way the game unlocks the continues allows new players to learn the mechanics. I definitely think that this is a great game to play on the PS2 and the game still stands up fantastically well.

10/10

Copyright ©2017 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use

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