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Time Crisis II


by Gavin Frankle

The original Time Crisis provided the genre with a much-needed breath of fresh air with its innovative use of the "ducking" mechanic. By pressing a pedal attached to the arcade unit, players could force their onscreen personas to take cover behind an object in the environment, allowing them to reload their weapon while avoiding enemy gunfire at the same time. Time Crisis 2 took this concept to the next level by allowing two players to play through the arcade title cooperatively, with two completely different perspectives of the action.

Namco has fortunately preserved this aspect in the PlayStation 2 version, and players can partake in the cooperative action in one of two ways: using the iLink cable to connect two systems together for play on two separate television screens, or using the split-screen mode on one television. Even as a solo outing, Time Crisis 2 is still highly enjoyable. Though it can be beaten in under an hour, the game's story mode can be played through multiple times thanks to some clever level design.

While the enemies always appear in the same locations, players will still have a blast (pun intended) attempting to best their own high scores and playing on higher difficulty settings. Additional gameplay options and modes can be unlocked by finishing the game multiple times, and additional credits (continues) are granted with each successive play through until you're awarded infinite credits for future attempts.

Namco has made a valiant attempt to increase the longevity of the title by including a number of periphery modes, including two classic arcade titles called Quick & Crash and Shoot Away 2. The latter is a virtual incarnation of skeet shooting, requiring you to achieve as high a score as possible by completing a number of rounds, each of which gives you two bullets and two targets to hit. Believe it or not, it's actually a lot more challenging than it sounds.

A training mode and a hidden mode called Crisis Mission round out the collection of extra games. Crisis Mission provides a series of objective-based challenges for the player to complete, and proves to be a nice distraction, although a short-lived one. The same can be said for the other modes as well; they're all little more than a distraction from the main Arcade Mode of play.

Those with a penchant for John Woo-style gunfights will appreciate the option for one player to play through the game using two guns. And let's face it, who wouldn't want to do that? Much improved over its arcade sibling, the PlayStation 2 incarnation is a good -- if not stunning -- looking title. Character models are sufficiently detailed, while the world is populated with crisp textures throughout. Time Crisis 2 ranks as one of the better light gun games released to the home market.

Graphics graphics rating

Nice texture work and solid models. A step up from the arcade version.

Sound sound rating

Serves as enjoyable accompaniment to the onscreen action. Voice acting is laughable.

Enjoyment enjoyment rating

As good as the genre has seen for many years, but the single-player game could be longer.

Replay Value replay rating

You'll likely play it every few weeks or months, but at less than an hour per play-through, there's not a lot to keep you occupied.

Documentation documentation rating

Standard stuff. The various facets of the title are covered well enough. A color manual would have been nice.