Time Crisis (series)
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|Genres||Light gun shooter
|Publishers||Namco (currently Namco Bandai Games)|
|Platforms||PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, iOS|
|Platform of origin||Arcade|
|Year of inception||1996|
|First release||Time Crisis
|Latest release||Time Crisis 5
Time Crisis is a first-person on-rails light gun shooter series of arcade video games by Namco. The first installment of the series was released in the arcades in 1996 and later ported to the PlayStation consoles.
The setting of each Time Crisis revolves around a serious threat to usually one nation. However, some games have involved a threat to either the world (as in Time Crisis II) or the protagonist (as in Time Crisis: Project Titan). The V.S.S.E. (Vital Situation, Swift-Elimination), a covert organization, must send in its highly skilled agents to eliminate any security threats. The first Time Crisis had three stages with four screens (areas where fighting occurs) each. The second and third installment has three stages, each with three screens. The fourth and fifth installments adds a prologue with the three stages each with three screens. Unlike the first to fourth installments, the current version will have an exclusive upgrade kit to double the stages from 3 to 6.  Many of the fighting areas are almost ludicrously unlikely, such as a steadily capsizing ship or a train dangling off of a damaged bridge. In the third and fourth installments, supporters from various organizations come in to assist the V.S.S.E. agents, sometimes to aid them in their mission, sometimes to protect their own reputations. Crisis Zone has a different plot. It takes place in the United Kingdom and concerns the S.T.F. (or Special Tactical Force)'s attempt to destroy the U.R.D.A., a terrorist organization. Razing Storm and Time Crisis: Razing Storm, which take place in the near-future, involve an elite task force known as S.C.A.R. (Strategic Combat and Rescue) being sent to a South America country under a bloody revolution to capture and defeat the mastermind who has orchestrated an attack on the United States together with several international military organizations, while battling terrorists and other renegade soldiers that join male protagonists.
The series could be a spiritual sequel to the Rolling Thunder trilogy, as the games took idea from the latter.
- The original first Time Crisis was released for the arcades in 1996 and for the PlayStation in 1997.
- A two-player sequel, titled Time Crisis II, featured two machines linking together, allowing players to cover each other. Each player dispatches enemies on slightly different routes, creating unique environments to defend themselves on.
- The spin-off to this game, Crisis Zone (also supervised by Takashi Sano), was also produced. While Crisis Zone had similar play mechanics as with Time Crisis, Crisis Zone featured solo play with a fully automatic machine gun (as opposed to the standard pistol, though the pistol can be used later in the remake version), interactive backgrounds, and a different storyline centering through the anti-terrorist tasks of elite S.T.F. trooper Claude McGarren (spelled "Croad MacGalain" in the arcade version). A PlayStation 2 remake of the title has been released in 2004 and is a subtitle to its full name, Time Crisis: Crisis Zone, likely to denote that the port had undergone major (if not total) cosmetic and technical changes.
- A followup exclusive to the PlayStation, Time Crisis: Project Titan, came out in 2001 featuring a new multihiding system. It serves as a side story to the first Time Crisis game.
- In 2003, Namco released a direct sequel called Time Crisis 3. It granted four different weapons available at the start (handgun, machine gun, shotgun and grenade launcher). The ammo of the latter three had to be recharged during play.
- In 2006, Time Crisis 4 was released in August and introduced a refined multihiding system (similar to the one featured in Time Crisis: Project Titan) where the player can move the gun in a certain direction to move the character's position in certain areas of the game regardless whether or not the player may hiding or attacking. A PlayStation 3 version was released in 2007 in the United States and Japan, and in 2008 in Europe and Australia. It was notable for introducing a first-person shooter mode to the series.
- Time Crisis Strike was released by Namco in January 2009 for iOS. It is actually a spin-off and an alternate version story of Time Crisis 3.
- In 2009, another spinoff game, Razing Storm was released. It was re-released in October 2010 under the name Time Crisis: Razing Storm exclusively for the PS3. The PS3 version is known in Japan as Big 3 Gun Shooting and comes packaged with Deadstorm Pirates and the arcade version of Time Crisis 4. All games feature full Playstation Move support.
- Time Crisis 2nd Strike was released by Namco in September 2010 for iOS. It is the sequel of the Time Crisis spin-off and the alternate version of Time Crisis 4.
- Time Crisis 5 was announced by Namco on October 2014, for a March 2015 release on the arcades worldwide.
Time Crisis focuses on shooting all on-screen enemies when spotted in an area while taking cover. Successful players must proceed to the next area or level. The franchise's distinctive feature, a foot pedal, controls whether the player's character takes cover (leaving him invulnerable but unable to shoot) or attacks (which makes the player vulnerable). Players must take cover to reload their guns. A countdown clock, recharged by clearing an area and stage of enemies, forces the player to take risks by remaining vulnerable most of the time, shooting quickly at any enemy on sight. This time limit prevents the player from taking cover indefinitely. In Time Crisis and Project Titan, after the clearance of an area the game adds only a partial amount of time to the clock while the timer keeps running down. The game ends if the time expires. In multiplayer installments, the clock runs only when the player fights and moves, with the timer resetting back to a certain amount of seconds when a portion of a battle stage is cleared. Also, if the player only loses one life if time runs out.
In the first Time Crisis enemies fired "unannounced" direct hits, which caused problems because players did not know when they would be hit and loss damage for their lives. Different-colored enemies provided different accuracy-levels (with red soldiers the most accurate). Project Titan attempted to address that problem using "different colored bullets", but this did not fix the "unannounced" direct-hit issue. This problem was fixed in Time Crisis II; life-threatening shots are indicated with a red flash (known as a "deadly eye") which gives the player time to release the pedal. In Crisis Zone, enemies that are about to hit the player with a shot had a target icon on them, reminding the player to shoot them quickly or hide.
Each Time Crisis game features a different protagonists as playable characters (each of them a field agent of V.S.S.E.), one or more supporting characters, and a different set of chief antagonists. Spinoff games often do not involve the V.S.S.E. and instead have the player character be a soldier in a military squad team.
- Richard Miller - appears in Time Crisis, as only player 1's main lead character and Time Crisis: Project Titan as these games' only lead muted and silent one, (AKA "The One-Man Army") and promotes its powerful future captain.
- Keith Martin - appears in Time Crisis II as player 1's lead character.
- Robert Baxter - Keith's ally and player 2's character in a linked or solo game. He makes his return in Time Crisis 5 and serves as a supporter.
- Alan Dunaway - appears in Time Crisis 3 as player 1's lead character.
- Wesley Lambert - Alan's ally and player 2's character in a linked or solo game.
- Alicia Winston - appears in Time Crisis 3 as an exclusive playable character only in the PS2 game version. She is only a supporting character in the arcade version.
- Giorgio Bruno - appears in Time Crisis 4, as player 1's lead character and he makes a comeback in Time Crisis 2nd Strike, guided by V.S.S.E. supporter Sarah Martin.
- Evan Bernard - Giorgio's ally and player 2's character in a linked or solo game.
- 2 Unnamed V.S.S.E. trainees - often referred as the Mystery Characters are featured in Time Crisis 3 and 4 as for the Crisis Mission modes in the consoles version of both games. Their names are confirmed to be John Martin and Rick Abdul.
- William Rush - appears in Time Crisis 4 as an exclusive playable character for the PS3 game version. As with Alicia, Rush is NPC in the arcade, before falling into a trap or diverting an enemies' attention. In either case, points are deducted for shooting him, aided by Elizabeth "Beth" Conway.
- Claude McGarren - appears in Crisis Zone from the peace-keeping battalion combat, Special Tactical Force (S.T.F.) and is the only playable character.
- Strategic Combat and Rescue (S.C.A.R.), an elite peace force and protecting terroristic squad keeping group featured in Razing Storm and Time Crisis: Razing Storm. The player characters are only known as "Alpha 1 & 2".
- Luke O'Neil - appears in Time Crisis 5, a player 1's lead character.
- Marc Godart - appears in Time Crisis 5, Luke's ally and player 2's character in a linked or solo game.
- Rachel Macpherson: The president's daughter and hostage in Time Crisis.
- Christy Ryan: An agent who discovers Ernesto Diaz's plot and is the hostage in Time Crisis II.
- Xavier Serrano: The president of Caruba and victim in an assassination attempt in Time Crisis: Project Titan. Reveals captive alive as a hostage, He hands Richard Miller a computer full of files on Project Titan, clears Miller's name, and orders him to get rid of both Project Titan and Wild Dog himself.
- VSSE Grunts: a group of young soldiers from Time Crisis 2nd Strike who supports Giorgio Bruno and secured against terrorist's remaining plots.
While the games have some contributing unplayable or non-playable characters and serves as primary or secondary antagonists in addition to/for the aforementioned chief antagonists, all Time Crisis antagonists have employed and/or conspired with a mercenary named Wild Dog – the only character to appear in all of the main Time Crisis video games series. At the end of every battle, after the player has defeated him, he will be caught within an explosion which is often self-induced and appear to die. After Richard Miller defeated him, he dropped his detonator for the castle which was triggered by falling on its button when it was dropped. One of the bombs planted in the castle exploded and caught Wild Dog in the explosion. Wild Dog lost his left arm in the explosion. In Time Crisis: Project Titan and Time Crisis 2, Wild Dog outfitted it with a Gatling gun arm (the "gun arm"), which would later receive flamethrower upgrade, a rocket launcher in Time Crisis 3, and a grappling hook and a tractor beam in Time Crisis 4. The character is inspired by Mad Dog, Philip Kwok's difficult to kill gunfighter from the film Hard Boiled. Wild Dog has other allies, including a younger partner (and apprentice) named Wild Fang (who appears in Time Crisis 3 and the PS3 port of Time Crisis 4). Wild Dog was the main antagonist in Time Crisis: Project Titan.
- Sherudo Garo - appears in Time Crisis as the main villain in this game. Unlike most games, he is found, fought, and killed in the second stage instead of the third and final stage.
- Kantaris - Leader of the arms dealing organization of the same name. Appears as the suspect in the Time Crisis special mode, and in the first level of Time Crisis: Project Titan. The only female antagonist in the series.
- Ricardo Blanco - The master of disguise who disguised himself as Richard Miller and shot Xavier Serrano, the president of Caruba, in order to frame Miller for Serrano's assassination, but betrayed by Wild Dog.
- Zeus Bertrand - appears in Time Crisis: Project Titan, as a henchman of Kantaris, and the boss of the first stage.
- Ernesto Diaz - appears in Time Crisis II as the main antagonist of this game.
- Giorgio Zott - appears in Time Crisis 3 as the main antagonist in this game
- Jake Hernandez - Zott's minion and spy in side storyline. (Seen only in Rescue Mission)
- Marcus Black, Mathers Bros. (Frank and Jack) and Gregory Barrows - appears in Time Crisis 4 and creators of Terror Bites.
- Derrick Lynch - is named after one of Time Crisis's creators in Time Crisis: Crisis Zone, (U.R.D.A.) leader who tries to destroy London with the Garland Square's nuclear reactor, Geyser One.
- Jared Hunter - Lynch's minion in Time Crisis: Crisis Zone side storyline and Grassmarket District crisis. He kidnaps the S.T.F. Commander's daughter, Melissa Kessler and plans to avenge Lynch.
- Paulo Guerra - appears in Razing Storm as a madman whose plot is revealed in the PS3 version.
- "time crisis arcade video game, namco, ltd. (1995)". Arcade-history.com. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-06-13.