On Saturday, I went to Dave and Buster’s for the third time in my life. The game floor truly is a sight to behold. Sure, it’s no Galloping Ghost, but it was quite the rush to see nearly every new game from the past 5 or so years all in one place in their full, unadulterated glory. One game, however, stood out from the rest. No, it wasn’t Star Wars Battle Pod. As wicked as that was, it didn’t quite leave the impact of another Bandai Namco game I have long been waiting to play: Time Crisis 5.
Though the only Time Crisis game I’ve played is the third installment, I do get the gist of the series. (Brief side-note: I’ve always enjoyed how random my encounters with arcade games can be, like how I found TC3 at the Pinnacle bowling alley. It’s also something I love about arcades in general: You never know what you’re gonna get. You could find a game you’ve always wanted to play sitting in some random pizza place or bowling alley or mall, and that’s part of what make the experience so special.) Anyway, I feel that Time Crisis 5 delivers incredibly well as the most-current entry in the series. I didn’t get to complete the game at Dave and Buster’s, but I played enough of it to give you my impressions. So yeah, this isn’t a full review by any means, but it will give you an idea of what you’re going to play before you drop some cash into it. Also, it’s going to follow my template for reviews, because consistency.
Darn, now I’m all flustered over not getting to TC5. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to get my hands on that game.
I can’t possibly praise the gameplay enough. Just in the first mission or so, I had already felt like the game delivered two or three times more variety than most rail shooters do. There was, of course, the standard point-and-shoot stuff, but the boss battles were so much more involving and strategic than many rail shooters. There was also some (but not much) bullet time, which provided variety without trying to be a “me too” to all of the Play Mechanix games. There was also a wicked turret sequence in a helicopter, which added spray-and-pray to the mix. It really is a blast to play Time Crisis 5, no matter what sequence of the game you’re playing.
Perhaps my instant love of this game was because of the dual-pedal system. It’s such a slight addition to rail shooters as a genre, yet it makes such a big difference. (Keep in mind that I didn’t grow up with the Time Crisis series, so this was a very new experience for me.) A lot of rail shooters can be tiresome due to the lack of freedom, but Time Crisis 5 made me feel like I was doing more than interacting with footage or something. With Time Crisis, it felt so very much more like a full range of movement, and that really resonated with me. This dual-pedal system also removed some of the bogus difficulty that comes with many rail shooters. Instead of being hit by enemies and circumstances beyond your control, you can move back and forth between covers and avoid enemy attack. It also adds a layer of strategy that was much appreciated.
Another hallmark of the Time Crisis series is the eponymous “time.” That was something that I very much enjoyed, because it gave me slightly more to work for than simply score alone. Now, I can also try to complete the level as quickly as possible. After playing TC5, I finally realized just what everyone loves about this series so much. It looks like it’s time for me to try The House of the Dead and see what I think about that awesomeness!
Oh, and one more thing: There’s no onscreen reticle! I was afraid that reticles had completely taken over. Thank goodness that isn’t the case!
Dave and Buster’s had the Mastermind Edition, so the game has a whopping six stages. As far as I know, this is more stages than any other Time Crisis has had. Though I only got to play through about one-and-a-half, I do have a good gauge of how each mission is, and they are a good length. They’re short enough that you can pop in, do one mission, and leave; but they’re long enough that you get a good bang for your buck with each mission. I did read in another review by someone who had played all of the games that the missions in TC5 were shorter than the other games, but I don't know that for myself. To me, they were short, but there was enough to enjoy it.
I figure this comment also belongs in the content section, so I’ll bring it up: The cutscenes are a welcome distraction and break from the action (rhyme, people). I’m sure operators don’t always like how we as players are allowed a few more minutes off of a credit, but as a player, I loved them. And no, it’s not because they were good cutscenes. Oh goodness, no, that would a be a flat-out LIE. I loved the sequences because they were so bizarre, like a bunch of random clips from badly dubbed action films spliced together. Did the story make a bit of sense? No. Was the voice acting good? Hey, it ain’t The House of the Dead 2, but it sure ain’t cinema. The game just brought a smile to my face at each bit of cheesy nonsense.
Ah, good times...two days ago. Eh, I guess you’d have to be there to understand.
Though many of you long-time Time Crisis fans may beg to differ, I absolutely loved the dual-pedal system. While it may have sometimes made it too easy to avoid enemy fire, it was still much appreciated in my book. I felt freedom; I felt control; I felt a new level of depth beyond any rail shooter I had played before. Then again, I haven’t played 2Spicy, and that’s supposed to be the pinnacle of modern rail shooters.
If I have one complaint (but just one), it’s that the light guns didn’t have the recoil I was expecting from them. Sure, there’s force feedback, but I was pretty darn sure that there was supposed to be heavy recoil from Time Crisis guns.
The graphics are fantastic. Arcades certainly haven’t lost their hardware edge! It’s the next-gen Time Crisis that I needed. It’s got a high polygon count, the lighting effects are top-notch, the textures and resolution are clear, and the framerate is as smooth as, like, butter or something. Something really, really smooth.
The cabinet is so gosh darn cool. The red and blue color scheme really pops, and the art is all really top-notch. The two monitors are massive and need to be seen in person to fully bask in the spectacle of their HD glory. If I had one complaint, it might be that, because the screens are so big, the two players are spaced quite far apart. If you’re into multiplayer, that might make your experience less personal than you might like. Then again, it’s not really a complaint from me. It gave me space and it allowed me to fully take in my side of the cabinet.
Overall, though, I think it’s an incredibly impressive cabinet. I mean, it may not be anything particularly groundbreaking hardware-wise, but it sure does look beautiful. It’s like Namco nailed every last detail, no matter how small.
I can’t say that I caught all of the music, but I know that Time Crisis games in general have nice music, so maybe it’s a given. I decided to change this category to “sound,” because that’s more general. The sound effects like the gunshots are realistic and sound great coming from the cabinet speakers. Also, the voice acting is pretty cheesy. TC5 may have better voice acting than 90’s rail shooters, but it’s still funny to listen to, especially since the lines they’re reading are sometimes silly.
The characters wear bizarre outfits, and the voice acting is weird. However, the graphics are crisp, the cabinet makes a statement, and the gameplay is practically perfect. It may just be me, but this was a Time Crisis sequel that was worth waiting almost a decade for. If you see it, play it, because it’s a fantastic game. Now, maybe we’ll get a House of the Dead 5 that’ll suck me into that series, just like TC5 sucked me into Time Crisis.
Eh, I'll just play the original HOTD at the Rollerdome.