Two out of three isn't half bad.
Let me lay out the scenario for you. You're in an arcade (a dying breed of attraction, I know, but work with me here). You're standing before two machines: Time Crisis 4, a cover-based rail-shooter; and Deadstorm Pirates, a virtual carbon-copy of the more popular House of the Dead rail-shooter. You have $1.00, just enough to play one game. Which do you play?
[image1]Before answering, let's change the scenario. You now own both arcade games, which turns the above nightmare scenario into something of a fantasy. Your answer should now be "I'll play both games, whenever the hell I want, until I am a shade of the human being I once was because I haven't seen the sun in days oh god I'm dying but I can't stop playing because I no longer have to waste my entire paycheck trying to beat that one level you know which level I'm talking about the one with the stupid nanobugs…"
Excuse me. If it hasn't already become painfully clear, I am a huge fan of most on-rails arcade shooters, where you control nothing more than the shower of bullets. I can admit, with no small amount of shame, to wasting hundreds of quarters on these games. Which is why I want to give Time Crisis: Razing Storm an 'A+', a 100%, a super-kudos. I want to, I really do! It includes two awesome, epic games that mimic the arcade shooter experience perfectly – the health bar, the horrifying story, the addictive pick-up-and-play mechanics that are most certainly the key to draining your wallet.
It's just… the third game, the titular game that's the problem. Describing, reliving its horror, is comparable to slowly sipping unleaded gasoline. When juxtaposed against the other two games, it feels as though someone pissed in a Red Bull and handed it to me. If all there was a way to drink around the piss…
There is no singular flaw that spells failure for Razing Storm. Each unfortunate aspect works in tandem with the other, dancing in a curious form of art that seems to spell "screw you" on the winds of a flatulant elephant. The plot proceeds past "laughable", sprints through the land of "so bad, it's good", and sits firmly in "land where we take ourselves super serious despite the undeniable fact that we are sitting in crap".
[image2]The sounds are repetitive and horrifyingly overbearing, such that you cannot take five steps without your AI teammates screeching cliché dialogue or without hearing the terrifying noise of shoddily recorded gunfire. The visuals are overdone and super "awesome-ized", to the point that the environment looks to be composed of plastic, bubble wrap, and cooking spray. And the controls are so out of sync with the game.- Attempting to move in a straight line will often leave your character jumping wildly around like he's tripping on LSD.
So I'm not going to talk about Razing Storm. It's not a game worth buying, and it's not a game worth reviewing. To call it a game in the first place seems anathema to the very definition of a game. But Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates are worth talking about.
These two games are, as described earlier, taken straight from an arcade machine. They are not meant to be played for their articulate and well-thought-out story, or even their epic graphics or wonderful sound effects. In fact, the only thing that truly sets these two apart from Razing Storm are their excellent controls and simple but fun gameplay mechanics. And that is, quite frankly, enough to turn a "crappy" game into an "awesome" game.
In Time Crisis 4, you play some sort of secret agent with wild hair. Does it really matter who you are? You use one button to move into cover (and subsequently reload), and one button to fire. When you pop out of cover, you shoot things. When things start shooting you, you move into cover.
[image3]In Deadstorm Pirates, you play as a pirate, I guess. It operates in the same manner as Time Crisis 4, but simpler; you never have to reload, and you use a single button to fire. You play through a cheesy story killing zombie pirates and giant snakes.
The difficulty curve of each game is such that, if you can beat the game without using any "continues", you must be some sort of god – and yet, the mechanics are so incredibly simple, it seems to be stylized for the sheer joy of playing for the sake of playing. There seems to be an exponential level of euphoria related to the number of players, too. Run through the game on your own, and that's a pretty good afternoon totally worth wasting, but get your friend in on the action for some couch-zombie-killin'? Best. Day. Evar.
If you decide to by Time Crisis: Razing Storm, you will do so for the sole benefit of owning Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates, two excellent arcade titles structured around the concept of "fun for the sake of fun". And quite frankly, that alone is easily worth $40-$50.