Time Crisis has been around for quite some time now on both the Playstation consoles and arcade machines. It has always tasked you with shooting a number of enemies with either the G-Con gun or controller and really has never strayed from that other than adding a few options. In the transition to home consoles, they have never really offered the best value for money and with the new one, Crisis Zone, this trend is continuing. The developers have tried to add some value and extended play time to the game but unless you're a fan of gaining high scores, it's probably not going to please you at the full price.
The storyline behind Crisis Zone is fairly cliche. Terrorists have taken over a new, fictional district called Garland square and you and your team mates are sent in to take em' all out and save the world, or rather Garland Square again. That's it for the story, there is no plot progression whatsoever which reinforces the notion that this is a complete arcade port. To rub salt into the wound, some of the introduction sequences are taken directly from the gameplay as well so they somewhat become spoilers to the brief storyline featured throughout.
As with all of the previous Time Crisis games the aim really boils down to blowing the crap out of various enemies the game throws towards you. You do this with either the G-Con Lightgun or using a controller. Obviously using the Gun is much more accurate but for multiplayer games the controller will work just fine. For those who have two G-Con guns you can now duel wield them in single player action which is a nice, but very expensive addition to the series. Another new addition is the riot shield the game gives for cover. Rather than ducking behind boxes now, you have the defence of a shield, which is also time used for reloading. To stop you from just taking your time like a turtle with the shield, each section must be completed within fifty five seconds. If not you lose one segment of health.
The enemies themselves are bland and boring as well with the same really thrown at you over and over again except for a few tougher characters and of course the bosses who are military vehicles such as Helicopters and a Tank. The way the game plays out does have some interesting, if brief moments. Hanging out of a shaft shooting people is a highlight of the game but really the game is extremely repetitive. To criticise the game too harshly for this would be unfair though because most people who do buy the game, know exactly what they are getting and that is an almost direct arcade port of a shooting game.
Namco have tried to add some value and extra length to the game for home users by adding some additional missions. The missions on offer restrict you to a particular gun for the whole three mission sequences and offer a challenge but does not add a great deal to the game. Making the game even easier, if it detects that you are being defeated regularly it will give you more maximum credits and health so it is as if the game wants you to finish at least one of the three missions no matter what.
The visuals of the game are very typical of the Time Crisis series and seem not to have been improved at all since the arcade game. With that said the game does maintain its framerate well and the action is thick and fast which is exactly what the series has been all about. The sound effects are fairly stock standard and the minimal voice acting is fairly well done.
Crisis Zone at its core is not a bad game but the structure of the game does not lend itself to a lengthy playtime. Perhaps if Sony had decided to market this at a lower than full retail price it could be more recommended. It's not a bad game overall but players need to know exactly what they're getting before buying it, and that is an almost direct arcade port that will last a maximum of two or three hours first time through.