Time Crisis II review
A solid arcade port with lots of variety

The good:

Arcade-perfect gameplay. Lots of console-exclusive gameplay modes and bonus retro games. Light gun compatible. Enhanced graphics compared to the arcade version.

The bad:

Quirky multiplayer setup. Low difficulty level.


The first of the series to be released on PS2, Time Crisis 2 is a direct port of Namco's popular light-gun shooter. In the game, you play a VSSE agent charged with preventing the launch of a nuclear satellite disguised as a communications network.

The graphcis are solid and enhanced compared to the arcade original. The characters and environments are the same but backgrounds and character models have been cleaned up to greatly reduce the rough edges of the original polygon-based models. The frame rate stays very smooth with almost on unintentional slowdown. Sounds are about the same as in the arcades, although some of the character voices do sound a little different compared to the arcades. There's a high amount of spoken dialogue among the characters but not much variety in terms of what they say. The music is decent but gets a little repetitive after a while. Controls vary greatly depending on how you choose to play: With a regular PS2 controller the setup is rather cumbersome and difficult to work with at first, and takes some time to get used to. If you use a light gun controller (Both Namco's GunCon and GunCon 2 work with the game) the controls are virtually perfect as long as you remember to calibrate the gun properly. Gameplay is arcade-perfect first-person shooting that feels more like an interactive movie: At certain points when you can't shoot you're told to wait as you move around, then it tells you director-style when you can retake control of your character. While you're strictly limited to your handgun as your weapon outside of briefly getting a machine gun, there's a decent amount of interaction with other objects to add realism as well as occasionally something you can shoot to blow up. Well-detailed cutscenes help keep the game flowing at a good pace, and the home version adds some short movie clips that were not in the arcades. Multiplayer allows 2 players to play together but the setup is rather cumbersome-you can link 2 PS2s and 2 TVs together for the true arcade experience but it's not as easy as it sounds. 2 players can also share one TV set but the playing field then becomes too small to share effectively, especially if you're both using light guns. The difficulty level is adjustable and while this is the easiest of the Time Crisis games, anyone who's played the arcade version will find this one to actually be a little too easy. The unlockable bonus content includes special challenge missions, new play modes, and retro Namco games such as a clay shooting game, an arcade quick-shot game, and special training missions that can also be played for fun.

While it's probably the worst of all the Time Crisis games on PS2, it's still a great arcade port and the wealth of hidden bonus games and options help to add replay value. It's worth picking up if you can find it but be sure to get a light gun as well for the best possible experience.

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