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|Reference added: 344|
"Time Crisis 3 and Crisis Zone are similar but also quite different."
You may have been playing Time Crisis 3, say (see entry 344), and got some Uzi ammo and ran out, and then said to yourself "gee, wouldn't it be nice if I could use a machinegun through the whole game? Well, say hello to Crisis Zone.
Here you can, it seems, use a machinegun through the entire game. In fact until you unlock one of the secret weapons, that and your trusty indestructible riot shield are all you have at your disposal against hordes of heavily armed, well organized terrorist goon squads. Fortunately, they're pretty much enough.
As mentioned, while your riot shield is up, you are invulnerable. Moreover, if someone is about to hit you, the game gives you a warning beep and paints a red circle around the miscreant--giving you a moment to raise your shield or, better yet, hit the target and knock them out of their attack preparation.
Machineguns are particularly good at that, it seems. Rows of baddies line up for you and the machinegun, played left and right across the screen, will keep them all nicely hit-stunned as their life meters drain away. You can only fire forty rounds at a time, but a quick drop behind the riot shield automatically reloads for you, and your clips are unlimited. So fire away, young firebrand!
The game rewards you for firing a lot, just as should real life. You get combo points for hitting lots of things in one go in the Mission modes, plus you always get the visceral thrill of things breaking and spattering everywhere. Windows, boxes, statues, crockery, magazines, sporting goods: anything less solid than a small house that gets in the way of your gun breaks into an exhilarating spray of debris. Couple this with the recoiling bodies of the enemies, their own stray fire, and copious amounts of gunsmoke everywhere, and you've got the recipe for small-arms destruction on an impressive scale.
There are heavier weapons too, though. Bosses include huge multi-turreted tanks, and there are helicopters with gatling cannons swooping around to pester you. Some badsters throw grenades and these can be dangerous as they don't give you the spider-sense warning that guns do--neither do knives, and getting hit by those is particularly embarrassing.
Polished graphics, symphonic music, sharp sound effects, complete support for GunCon2 and progressive scan screens, and various unlockable weapons, including dual guns (I'm told) round out yet another triumphant light gun game from Namco, who show again why they are at the forefront of this genre. After just a brief look I'm going to have to say that this appears to be their finest effort so far--as far as single-player goes, at least.