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, third and fifth installments have three stages, each with three screens. The fourth installment 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 (True Mastermind, as mentioned below) 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 original first Time Crisis was released for the arcades in 1996 and ported for the PlayStation in 1997. It was the first game to support the GunCon light gun peripheral.
- A two-player sequel, titled Time Crisis II, featured two machines linked together, allowing players to cover each other. Each player dispatches enemies on slightly different routes, creating unique environments to defend themselves on. It was released for the arcades 1998 in and for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. It was the first game to support the GunCon 2 light gun peripheral.
- 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 follow-up, Time Crisis: Project Titan, came out in 2001 exclusively for the PlayStation, featuring a new multi-hiding system. It serves as a side story to the first Time Crisis game.
- In 2003, Namco released a direct sequel called Time Crisis 3 for the arcades and PlayStation 2. 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. The home version featured a new side story in which you can use a sniper rifle during certain scenes.
- In 2006, Time Crisis 4 was released and introduced a refined multi-hiding 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, exclusively bundled with the GunCon 3 light gun peripheral. 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. This 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 and GunCon 3 support.
- A cellphone spin-off game, Time Crisis Elite, was developed by Electronic Arts and published by Namco in 2009.
- 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. It is no longer available for purchase as of March 30, 2015. 
- Time Crisis 5 was released by Namco on March 2015 exclusively for the arcades. A True Mastermind edition/upgrade of the game is slated for sometime in 2015, which will include three new levels. A home console version is yet to be announced.
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 by dodging from enemies' attacks but unable to shoot) or attacks (which makes the player vulnerable). In Time Crisis 5, the pedal has been redesigned to divide into two pedals, one in the left and one in the right. Players must take cover to reload their guns (in the first and second installments) or in the third up to the current installments, to change 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 reaches zero. In multiplayer installments (starting with Time Crisis II), 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(s) 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 and Time Crisis: Project Titan as the only solo agent (AKA "The One-Man Army") of the franchise.
- 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 serves as an NPC supporter in the first release of Time Crisis 5.
- 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 NPC supporter in the arcades. She is playable via Rescue Mission in the PS2 edition.
- Giorgio Bruno - appears in Time Crisis 4, as player 1's lead character and as the sole protagonist 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 NPC supporter in the arcades, aided by Elizabeth "Beth" Conway. He is playable via Full Mission in the PS3 edition.
- Claude McGarren - appears in Crisis Zone as the sole protagonist from the special peace-keeping team, Special Tactical Force (S.T.F.).
- 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.
- Catherine Ricci: Serves as a dispatcher for Robert Baxter, Luke O'Neil, and Marc Godart in the first release of Time Crisis 5.
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, Time Crisis: Strike and Time Crisis: 2nd Strike, and serves as a key antagonist in the first release of Time Crisis 5.
- 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)
- Gregory Barrows - appears in Time Crisis 4 as the main antagonist of the game.
- 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.