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Time Crisis 3

I remember this last summer, a friend of mine and I ventured off to Maine on vacation. It was a fun trip with lots of little memories here and there, but one memory that sticks with me was the amount of time we spent in the arcades on Old Orchard Beach playing Time Crisis 3. The last shooting game weíd played was the disastrous Terminator: The Arcade Game, and after that Time Crisis 3 seemed like a gift from God. We never did beat the game, but the thirst for more was enough to get me to buy the home version.

Time Crisis 3 is a very over-the-top light gun game. These types of games never really have the best storylines, and most of the time youíll find yourself skipping the cutscenes. The basic storyline of the game has you playing as Alan or Wesley, depending on where you plug your gun in. Alan and Wesley are members of VSSE International Intelligence Agency dispatched to Lukano, an island in the Mediterranean that has been taken over by General Giorgio Zott and his army. Itís later discovered through local resistance that Zott has gathered tactical missiles and plans on using them. Itís up to you to stop them!

The interesting thing about Time Crisis 3 is that you control characters that are expected to stop an army that was able to successfully take over an entire country. But Alan and Wesley are no small-time bad guy hunters. These guys are trained professionals, so there can be no other expectations for our two heroes. Time Crisis 3 plays like a rail-shooter, in that you have no actual control of where your character goes, you just control the shots he takes and whether or not heís hidden. The game will manually move your character to a specific point in the level and then you will be told that you have control again.

You always start out crouched behind an object. This gives you some time to familiarize yourself with the environment and the enemies in it. But the game wouldnít be called ìTime Crisisî if there wasnít a crisis for time, so youíre only given forty seconds per sequence to eliminate all the enemies that stand in your way. And there are lots of enemies in your way. Henchmen are in high demand in General Zottís army because as you go through the game youíll kill hundreds and hundreds of them very quickly and with no hesitation. If you arenít quick and you do hesitate, you will die.

There are about a half-dozen different enemies to face, excluding bosses. That may not seem like very many, but Time Crisis 3 is a short game. I was able to clear the game my first time in probably an hour of actual gameplay. I probably played for close to three hours (to get through it once) with all my retries however. Time Crisis 3 is the type of game that rewards players who keep at it with loads of unlockable features. Unlimited ammo and an alternate mission are the main perks of continuous play.

The different types of enemies make for some interesting gameplay. Time Crisis 3 implements (for the first time in the series outside of controlled sequences in Time Crisis 2) more than one weapon. There are four actually this time around: the handgun, machine gun, shotgun, and a grenade launcher (a sniper rifle is used in the bonus mission). For most of the game itís best to rely on the handgun, but there are circumstances where youíll need the other weapons. For example, one of the enemies is a ninja with claws that is incredibly fast. With just the handgun theyíre next to impossible to kill, but they go down pretty quick after getting some shotgun shells to the face.

The fun isnít limited to single player alone. Multiplayer is a big draw of the game. My friends and I love to play the game together, and itís much better together because during single player your partner is mentally lacking and does almost nothing but stand there. You play through the game co-op from different angles shooting into the same area. Enemies will go to attack you, so you arenít just acting as backup. But I definitely suggest the guns if youíre going to be playing multiplayer, because controlling with the standard controller is pretty annoying. After a while youíll get used to it, but itís just not the same feeling.

Time Crisis 3 looks especially good too. All of the enemies look good with quick and realistic animations. Each enemy is a different color to signify what itís good at, and theyíre clearly defined, so thereís never any question of who to take out first. As for the environments, theyíre great too, with just the right amount of stuff in them to blow up with various results. In the first area when facing a group of enemies, you can blow up a pile of nearby barrels and destroy all of them at once, or you can choose to just kill the enemies themselves. If you do blow up the barrels though, the surrounding rock structure collapses. That really excited me for some reason or another. The audioís not too bad either. A generic rock soundtrack carries you through the game and while the characters voiceovers certainly leave much to be desired, they get the job done.

While not the longest game, Time Crisis 3 truly is a worthy investment. Itís easily one of the most original titles in the gameís genre, and with such great multiplayer and a solid single player mode, thereís a little something for everyone to enjoy in Time Crisis 3. Just make sure you spend the extra dollars to get yourself the GunCon2.

10 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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