Think of a light gun and one of the first associated things that pops into your mind will be either SEGA’s House of the Dead
, Namco Bandai’s Time Crisis
or the Guncon peripheral. At Tokyo Games Show this year, two out of three wasn’t bad, as Time Crisis 4
was showcased on the PlayStation 3 complete with the first appearance of the Guncon 3.
has always been a fast-paced action game at heart, with stages broken up into several action sequences where your aim is to shoot all the enemies on screen as fast as you can. The original game was purely focused on time attack, but recent games, including this fourth iteration (originally released in arcades), have had an emphasis on racking up a decent score.
The demo at TGS only let me play through the first stage, but already I can tell it’s pretty much a perfect port of the arcade game, with crisp graphics and a pumping soundtrack against the yells of ‘Action!’ in the background. I was taken through a corporate complex taking out armed guards left, right and centre – being sure to take cover whenever I was about to get shot myself – and fought an onslaught of strange bugs.
Playing this game was more a showcase of the new Guncon 3 controller than the game itself, which has been played in arcades around the country for a good while now. There have been a few adjustments to this light gun – in addition to the usual face buttons and trigger, an analogue stick has been placed on the back of the peripheral which can be easily controlled by your thumb.
There is also a second analogue stick on an extended piece of plastic latched onto the left hand side of the Guncon 3. Most likely Namco Bandai has built this with free-roaming shooting games in mind. The extra buttons and sticks don’t do anything in Time Crisis 4
, but no doubt we will see a new light gun game that will take full advantage of this.
As a debut game though, it’s pretty solid and the gun does a decent enough job. Coming out of hiding to shoot your foes is done with a button on the side of the peripheral, while another button switches your weapon to one of several different upgrades. You can earn new guns from enemies you defeat, with them ranging from shotguns to SMGs and even grenade launchers. Many enemies will require a particular type of weapon to defeat them easily – the strange bugs we encountered towards the end of the stage were quickly vaporised when we used the machine gun.
All in all, Time Crisis 4
looks to be a decent port of an already great arcade game. We’re not sure what kind of extras the PlayStation 3 version will come packed with, as many would have spilled their spare change into the coin-op to complete the main story mode already. If the game comes with enough extra features then it may well be worth your cash when it is released later this year.