'Time Crisis: Razing Storm'

At its core, "Time Crisis: Razing Storm" is nothing more than a collection of arcade rail-shooters ported over to the PS3 to take advantage of the light gun capabilities of the Playstation Move. The disc contains "Time Crisis: Razing Storm" (the titular game), "Time Crisis 4" and "Deadstorm Pirates" (which has nothing to do with "Time Crisis").

"Time Crisis 4" and "Deadstorm Pirates" are nothing more than ports of their arcade versions, though they're actually decent game despite not being worth the cost of the collection. Unfortunately, they are rather short games designed to throw enough damage at you so you'd have to continuously pump money into their machines in to keep playing. I would have enjoyed them more had the developers decided to lose the credit system for continuing, because, unlike the machines these games were designed for, my PS3 lacks a slot where I can insert quarters. That being said, I would still gladly play either of them if it meant I didn't have to even touch the steaming pile of crap that is "Time Crisis: Razing Storm."

Game developers have learned a lot over the years about what goes into making a great console shooter. Shooters on the Wii started off somewhat pathetically with games like "Red Steel," but then grew and improved until we had some great titles like "Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles." So I was quite surprised to find that apparently the developers behind "Time Crisis: Razing Storm" had completely ignored all of the lessons of the past four years and instead opted to produce a product of the same superb quality usually only seen in Chinese baby food.

"Time Crisis: Razing Storm" is broken up into four types of gameplay.

Arcade mode is little more than a bland rail-shooter, while in Sentry mode players take the role of an immobile prison guard tasked with shooting escaping convicts during a prison riot. It's difficult to express just how much I hated Sentry mode, but it probably had something to do with how your shots only seemed to matter if you got a headshot and how it took way too long to switch to the rifle's scope and back. While little more than ways to waste time (if "FarmVille's" not your thing), these two gameplay types aren't too bad when compared to Story mode and Online Battle mode.

Story mode is actually a FPS version of "Razing Storm" designed specifically for the Playstation Move. By using the Navigation Controller (the Move's version of the Wii nunchuck), players navigate a twisting urban setting amid constant firefights. It's not a new game concept (especially for a motion controlled game like this one), but "Time Crisis: Razing Storm" stands out as being one of the worst examples of this genre in recent history. The control scheme is poorly designed and your character responds with about as much grace as a dog with tape stuck to its paws.

The game world is navigated by having the screen follow the movement of the crosshairs while the Navigation Controller's thumbstick controls the characters movement within the game. "Metroid Prime 3" used this same system, but it had a fluidity of movement and ease of control that "Time Crisis: Razing Storm"can only dream of.

Ducking behind cover (a game mechanic on which all "Time Crisis" games rely) is no longer handled by holding down a special button as in every other "Time Crisis" game. Instead, players must move to specially marked areas and then duck by pointing the Move controller up. If you're really lucky, the game will register this accurately and make you take cover. Otherwise, the screen will follow the crosshairs and your character will end up staring straight up at the sky while enemies continue to shoot you.

Not that you'll have to worry about the enemies in this game. In rail-shooters, suicidal enemies run head first into your line of fire or jump out at you because you're stuck there and that's the only way you're going to find them. In "Time Crisis: Razing Storm," the enemy AI continues in that tradition with enemies either standing in one spot and shooting you, standing in one spot and shooting at a wall, or charging wildly at you so they can beat you to death with their guns. After playing this game for a little while, I actually had the urge to go back and play "Red Steel" to get the foul taste of this game out of my mouth.

"But what about Online Battle mode?" I hear some of you asking. Well, it was the most miserable and unpleasant multiplayer experience I've endured in the last 10 years. The online multiplayer game is based entirely on the combat system from "Time Crisis: Razing Storm." If you can imagine how utterly unpleasant a deathmatch is when no one playing actually knows how to properly move their avatars around the map, and even when they know how the combat mechanics are so simplistic and bland that they make "Quake" look good in comparison (not the new one, the 1996 one), then you've probably got a good idea about what it's like to play a much better multiplayer game then this one.

If you're a die hard "Time Crisis" fan, I recommend renting this one before you decide to actually buy it. For everyone else, I wouldn't even pick this game up if it were in a $5 bargain bin. Anyone who gives you a copy of "Time Crisis: Razing Storm" as a gift doesn't actually care about you.

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Video Games: 'Time Crisis: Razing Storm'

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services