Time Crisis 4 (Arcade) Review

July 10, 2017

Hello, and welcome to my first review in ages! I came across Time Crisis 4 when my family visited Craig’s Cruisers near Silver Lake in Michigan. They had a lot of redemption there, but also a lot of great videogames. The video selection included: Terminator Salvation, Big Buck Safari, Dirty Drivin’, The Fast and the Furious: DRIFT, Deadstorm Pirates, Super Alpine Racer, and of course Time Crisis 4.

            Beyond completing Time Crisis 4, I also tried a few other games. I gave Dirty Drivin’ a whirl, and it was pretty awesome.  I also played Deadstorm Pirates, which was a lot better than I expected it to be. (I woulda killed for Dark Escape 4D action that day, though.) My most fun non-Time Crisis experience, however, was Super Alpine Racer. The controls in that game are REALLY fun and unique, and the huge vertically-positioned monitor makes it that much cooler. I’m highly considering picking that up for my future arcade. (If I ever start making money, that is. All the fast food restaurants in town want you to be 18 and apply online these days, heh heh. That’s what college is for—making real money once I'm out of school!)

            Disregarding that overly long parenthetical statement, I believe it’s time to get on with the review!

 

Time Crisis 4

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Release Date: 2005

 

Gameplay

Being more properly acquainted with the Time Crisis series now, I can honestly say that the gameplay in Time Crisis 4 is just as good—for the most part—as any other Time Crisis game. I mean, they’re just darn good games! The single pedal system, present for the majority of the series, is just as great as it always is. While I may have thoroughly enjoyed the dual pedal update, the original single pedal mechanic was always just fine. Heck, some might even consider it better!

            However, Time Crisis 4 didn’t just stick with the tried and true innovations of a single pedal and weapon selection. Nope, Namco had to add a new mechanic—the multi-screen battle system! And while I really, really want to say that this was a great addition to the series, I don’t think I can. Multi-screen battles may add a slightly greater feeling of freedom and control within the rail shooter genre, but they also just…don't quite work. I often felt that the onscreen indicators didn’t make it clear enough which side enemies were coming from, and flicking the light gun to the left or right wasn’t always as responsive as I would have desired. Keep in mind, though, that maybe I was just terrible at multi-screen battles. After all, I only beat two segments, the other ones being a bit too difficult for me, I suppose.

            Multi-screen battles, while interesting, seem to have not been the innovation the Time Crisis series was looking for. In my opinion, the best additions have been multiplayer (Time Crisis 2), weapon selection (Time Crisis 3), and the dual pedal system (Time Crisis 5). Perhaps I only need to get used to multi-screen battles, is all. I’m sure that once I beat TC4 again someday, they’ll be no problem. However, for now, they were just okay. And for any of you readers out there who don’t like the sound of multi-screen battles, I have good news: They don’t occur very frequently, and you aren’t forced to complete them 100 percent. If you can’t beat a multi-screen segment, you’ll just be penalized one health unit.

            But even if you don’t think TC4’s new mechanic is your thing, don’t shy away from this game. Just like any Time Crisis game, Time Crisis 4 is just darn good fun. Plus, simple things like indicating how many “lives” a boss has left was quite helpful. (For instance, the health bar might have a “x7” above it, indicating how many more you’ve got to get through.) Also, whether, you enjoy it or not, Time Crisis 4 was heavier on swarm enemies. You know the ones—flying bug enemies. While I found this a bit odd, the plot did facilitate it, and it’s a lot less bogus than in most rail shooters. Time Crisis 4 arms you with the shotgun, which will defend you from swarms, no problem.

            That also conveniently bridges us to another helpful addition exclusive to this installment. Now, there’s this little indicator that says “BEST WEAPON!” or something like that when you choose the gun that the game deems most suited for the situation. That definitely helped, especially with those darn swarms.

            Addressing the difficulty, I’d consider this game just as fair as any other Time Crisis game. Since you have the pedal to adequately avoid attacks, getting hit just means you aren’t at your best. I can personally attest that, since this was my first time playing TC4, I was not at my best. Sure, I beat it with $5.25 (set at $0.50 to start, $0.25 to continue), but that’s still 19 continues. Still, I wouldn’t rate the difficulty as being unfair or anything. It’s all skill-based in this game, and that’s a darn good thing.

            So how would I rate gameplay? As a rail shooter in general, I’d rate it very highly. As a Time Crisis game, I’d rate it a bit lower, but I still 100 percent recommend playing this game. Do it!

 

Content

With Time Crisis, the length of your game very much depends on how well or how poorly you’re playing. In my personal experience, though, you get a lot of content. I beat the game in 41 minutes, and I think that’s a pretty good chunk of time. And with three stages and two slightly different paths to take (Player 1’s side or Player 2’s side) it’s definitely fairly content rich. Plus, you get a lot of fun cutscenes. The break from the action is much appreciated.

 

Controls

Just like any good light gun game, the pointing and shooting works just fine. Also, the recoil is just fine. It turns out that TC5 actually did have less recoil for reliability and cost reasons. The only real control issue that I have with TC4 is turning the gun to the left or right for multi-screen battles. I touched on this in the Gameplay section, but I feel the need to bring it up again. For whatever reason, I just don’t think it totally worked; perhaps it wasn’t as responsive as I would have liked. However, don’t let this scare you off. I wasn’t playing quite as well as I could have that day, and the rest of the game is incredible and plays really well.

 

Graphics

Graphically, I’d say that Time Crisis 4 is pretty okay for 2005. Polygon-count is a bit low, but it isn't terrible. The only thing that might hamper the graphical presentation is the standard definition monitor, but I don’t mind. The game looks good, and that’s about all that I can say. Since it’s 12 years old, it’s a little bit more difficult to endlessly praise it like I did with Time Crisis 5, heh heh.

 

Cabinet

 

The cabinet is essentially the same thing as Time Crisis 3 before it. However, that’s not really a bad thing, because Time Crisis 4 makes a number of improvements to this initial design that I highly appreciate. For one, the cabinet adopts a white, red, and blue color scheme as opposed to the slightly less appealing yellow and black that TC3 went for. Also, the TC4 cabinet adds a lot more cabinet art, and it all looks really slick. Even the monitor, while still a CRT, is a more modern update, and the light guns are also updated. Overall, the cabinet looks really, really nice, and it’s a great precursor to the awesomeness that was to come—the Time Crisis 5 cabinet. And of course, if you play on the deluxe version, it’s probably even cooler.

 

Sound

The bass-boosted speakers or whatever they use in this game are much appreciated. However, while the voice clips are easy to hear in an arcade setting, the music is not quite as easily picked up. Luckily for me, though, you can find the entire Time Crisis 4 soundtrack online, along with the other pre-TC5 games. And let me tell you, the Time Crisis series has some darn good music—especially the last four tracks. The final boss theme, the first and second ending themes, and the name entry screen music are all fantastic musical finales. I would try to explain how incredibly they all sound in succession, but I believe it would be more telling to embed the four tracks.

That’s some real quality music right there.

 

Consensus

You see, when I played Time Crisis 5, I was not properly equipped with the tools to review that game. I misjudged the series as a whole in many ways—like praising Time Crisis 5 for its “cheesiness,” a characteristic much more closely associated with The House of the Dead series. However, those mistakes have been properly rectified in this review, I believe.

            On a more game-related note, Time Crisis 4 is good. I know that seems overly simple, but it’s true. It’s by no means the best game in the series, but I still highly recommend it, just because Time Crisis is awesome. So yeah, go play this game.

            Have a nice day or whatever.

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