previews\ Sep 2, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Time Crisis 3 - PS2 - Preview

It began innocently enough - two young men fishing when patrol boats converge and uniformed, armored guards demand to know what they are doing there. After all, the guards are part of an invasion force that is a little anxious about "unauthorized" people in the area.

Without an answer, the two men run into the boats cabin. Naturally the guards give chase, only to be confronted with a timer sitting innocently on the floor. Two Seadoos launch as the ship explodes, charging the beach of the tiny island.

Hmm, seems the word innocent was misplaced. These two young men are anything but innocent fishermen. In fact they are agents sent to halt missile installations put in place by the invading force.

Namco’s Time Crisis 3, slated for a late October release on the PlayStation2 console system, is an arcade-style first-person shooter that has non-stop action. If you are looking for non-stop shooter action, in a target-rich environment, then this may be the game you are looking for.

Namco provided a preview of this game for to take a look, so it was time to strap on the guns and hit the beach.

The story takes place in the Mediterranean on a tiny island once-beautiful territory called Astigos Island. Astigos Island was part of the nation of Lukano, but was seeking independence. That was until the Zagorias Federation stormed the island en masse and overran this peaceful island. VSSE has learned that the Zagorian forces are installing missile bases that pose a threat not only to Lukano proper but other nations in the Mediterranean.

Enter Wesley Lambert and Adam Dunaway, two top agents who will team up with and combat other principle players en route to stopping this threat.

The game itself allows for one- or two-player action, and follows the story through several stages, each involving the cast of characters. You begin with Wesley and Adam trying to secure a landing on the beach. We are not just talking about cursory resistance or a light welcoming committee. Tracer bullets fly overhead, and the skies are even filled with paratroopers dropping in to say hello.

You have four weapons to choose from, handgun, shotgun, machine gun and grenade. The targeting is very touchy and you can use either the D-pad or left thumbstick to control the targeting icon. However, while the targeting is touchy, you do not have to hit a kill zone on targets to disable them. A leg shot, or shoulder will do just fine.

The game appears to incorporate a form of the rag-doll effect. Hit a body part, and the target reacts to that specific blow ... for the most part. The game also features a sniper mode.

Terrain elements may interfere with targeting, but as the player is moved through the scenario, all you basically have to do is aim and shoot. As you clear one area, you are automatically moved to the next. The controls were easy to grasp, switching off weapons or reloading was a snap, and all that initially remained was point and shoot.

The musical score features that upbeat, grand musical feel associated with spy movies, and a whole lot of gun sounds, explosions and the grunts of targets getting tagged. The narration is reminiscent of that big-voiced over-the-top "B" movie style that is totally applicable here.

Graphically, this game is very well done. The three-dimensional targets, and the terrifically rendered environments all add to the intensity of the game. The special effects look exceptional.

While Time Crisis 3 has a script that may remind people of any number of spy films (Ok, spy tends to lend itself to covert operations and this is anything but covert), and a very linear path through the game, this is about as intensive an FPS as you will likely see. There is seemingly no end to the targets, or their continued attempts to end your mission. This game requires quick reflexes and the ability to overcome that ‘wow!’ feeling and concentrate on eliminating everything between you and the end of the stage, or level. What fun!

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