Time Crisis and the light gun - in the last 15 years there has been nothing more awesome. Not the dance mat, steering wheel or vibrating controller – nothing has come close to standing in the middle of your living room, hitting the red re-load button, while mowing down untold faceless (but undoubtedly evil) henchmen. Now Namco brings us Time Crisis: Razing Storm, so if your trigger finger has been itching, it’s time to dust off the gun and start blasting.
Supporting the most recent version of the light gun, the Guncon 3, as well as the Move controller, Time Crisis: Razing Storm brings together three different games. There is the total blast that’s Time Crisis 4. Also the retro, very easy and over way too quickly Deadstorm Pirates. While lastly, and definitely least, is the awkward and unplayable Razing Storm.
Time Crisis 4 is your classic Time Crisis. You play as either agent Giorgio Bruno or agent Evan Bernard, on the hunt for the insect-like weapon named Terror Bite. The story takes you through city streets and military bases, fighting battalions of soldiers, hoards of programmed bugs with grenades and shotguns, as well as helicopters. As with all Time Crisis games, this one suffers when you try to play it with the normal controller, however the Move controller works very well. While initially feeling unnatural, especially if you’re used to the gun, you soon get acquainted to using the trigger to fire, the move button on top to reload, and both trigger and button together to switch weapons.
While Time Crisis is familiar, Deadstorm Pirates is a very strange game. You, as you’ve probably guessed, are a pirate. You also have a partner and a pair of magical golden guns. That’s right, pirates and fully automatic hand-muskets with unlimited ammo (and we all thought that Pirates of the Caribbean was a bit fast and loose with the 17th century). Like Pirates of the Caribbean, you are fighting ships full of skeletal pirates. Why? Well it doesn’t really matter, because with your gun (especially if you hit the multi-shot power-up) the skeletons don’t last very long at all. But then, neither do the hooded skeletons flying around on broomsticks - or even the giant Kraken.
Deadstorm Pirates is pure arcade fun. There are sections where you fire the ship’s cannon at other ships, and sections where you steer various boats, twirling either the Move controller or the analog stick in the direction you want to go. If you die you get a generous amount of retries and if you run out of retries you get supplied with more the next time you start the level. It’s goofy, stupid, pretty short, very simple, and enjoyable. The game probably shouldn’t be as much fun as it is because it looks at least ten years old. But maybe it only feels fun in comparison with Razing Storm - because Razing Storm is awful.
In Razing Storm you play as Alpha One in the middle of a South American revolution. Your mission is to capture the revolutionary leader who organised an attack on the US. As we know, when this happens the US is allowed to roll into the country and blow the living crap out of everyone and everything. So that is what you get to do. Set in the near future there are a number of hi-tech machines to deal with, but generally you and your squad get to kill everyone and blow up everything.
Or so you might think. Because, the game is simply unplayable. This is especially true if you’re stupid enough to try to play Razing Storm’s story mode with the Move controller. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it impossible to use the controller to move, look around and target enemies. While trying to do all three of these things at once usually ends with you banging your head repeatedly against a concrete wall while getting shot in the back of the head by some Castro wannabe.
Even with the normal controller, movement in Razing Storm is impossibly sluggish and targeting is flighty and pretty random. To help the game has a cover system where walking to a green marker and pointing the controller up will initiate cover. Complete crap. All you do is stand there waving the controller around while getting shot to pieces. At least, you would - if your squad or the enemy had any semblance of AI. Most wave at each other as they get shot or simply hide behind crates while shooting blindly into the air. You can see that Namco is trying to modernise the games by taking the ‘rail’ out of their rail shooter. It just doesn’t work. You have a trigger to fire and a button to reload – Namco, that’s where it should stop.
Also trying to bring the rail shooter into the modern age, Razing Storm has included a multiplayer online mode. Again, it should be avoided it at all costs. Twitchy targeting, graphical glitches, impossibly sluggish controls and lag is just not a good combination. If I could have gotten my gun to work, the first person I would have shot would’ve been myself - just to get the hell out of there.
So Razing Storm is not so good. While Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates are old rail shooters that deliver enough fun to bring back all those old good light gun memories. It all just needs to stay on the rails.