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The logo utilized in the original Time Crisis
|Genres||Light gun shooter
First person shooter
Bandai Namco Entertainment
|Platforms||Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, iOS|
|Platform of origin||Arcade|
|Year of inception||1995|
|First release||Time Crisis
|Latest release||Time Crisis 5: True Mastermind
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 1995 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 (Time Crisis II) or the protagonist (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 areas (location where the game starts) each. The second and third installments have three stages, each with three areas. The fourth installment adds a prologue for a total of 4 stages each with three areas (with the exception of the prologue, which has only one area). The fifth installment has an exclusive upgrade kit version of (True Mastermind edition, which is the full version of the game) to double the stages from 3 to 6, with 3 areas that was interconnected with each other, thus there would be no breaks/loadings after clearing an area (with the exception of the final stage, which only has one area)
Many of the fighting areas are almost ludicrously unlikely, such as a steadily capsizing ship or a train dangling off of a damaged bridge (as in Time Crisis 3). 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 first Time Crisis was released for arcades in 1995 and ported to 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, was released 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 arcades and the 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 the enemy. 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 a spin-off of Time Crisis 3, with a different story.
- In 2009, another spin-off game, Razing Storm, was released. It was re-released in October 2010 with the title 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 spin-off mobile 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 in March 2015 exclusively for arcades. The game uses Epic Games's Unreal Engine, as opposed to all Time Crisis games before it. Unlike its predecessors, the game uses two pedals. Namco later announced a True Mastermind edition (真の黒幕編 Shin no kokumakuhen) of the game which was released near the end of August 2015, and includes the second half of the game, consisting of three new stages, for a total of 6 stages, the largest in the series. It is currently the only main entry of the series which hasn't received any home console port.
Time Crisis focuses on shooting all on-screen enemies in an area within a specific time limit to continue on to the next area and complete the level. The franchise's distinctive feature is its cover system: the player steps on a foot pedal to have the player character emerge from cover and attack enemies, and releases the pedal to get behind cover, protecting the character from enemy attacks but leaving them unable to shoot. In Time Crisis 5, the pedal has been redesigned as two pedals, one in the left and one in the right, to give the player 2 positions from which to emerge from cover and catch enemies unaware. The player must take cover to reload their standard gun. Time Crisis 3 introduced new weapons: a machine gun, shotgun, and grenade launcher, that have limited ammunition but can be replenished by killing certain enemies. To switch weapons in Time Crisis 3 and 4, the player must press the trigger while behind cover; in Time Crisis 5, a separate button located on the left and right of the gun controller allows the player to switch weapons at any point.
The countdown clock prevents the player from remaining behind cover for too long and imposes a time limit to clear the stage of enemies. The player must manage their time in and out of cover to attack enemies on sight, while avoiding being hit by direct shots. In Time Crisis and Project Titan, after the clearance of an area the game adds only a partial amount of time to the overall clock while the timer keeps running down and the game ends if the time reaches zero. In multiplayer installments (starting with Time Crisis II), the clock resets after the player clears their immediate area of enemies, and will only deduct 1 life point if it reaches zero. Time Crisis 5 introduces new scenario-specific timed sequences apart from the standard countdown clock where the player must act within a specific timeframe: dodge moments (the player must press the indicated left or right pedal to avoid a hit from incoming debris), a sniper level (killing enemies from concealed positions), and slow-motion target sequences (shooting bullseyes painted on a target before they turn red).
In the first Time Crisis enemies fired "unannounced" direct hits, which caused problems because players didn't 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. Since then, this mechanism of hit detection would be used in later main installments. In Crisis Zone, enemies that are about to hit the player with a shot had a target icon on them, reminding the player to stun them quickly or hide. Physical objects such as punches, kicks, and blades will not be announced so players would need to shoot or hide quickly. In Razing Storm, enemies which about to attack the player will marked with a crosshair, with four arrows constantly closing into the center. Letting the arrows hit the center resulted in losing a life. Throwing weapons, such as grenade and rockets are indicated with a yellow triangle, and these attacks can be deflected by shooting them.
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 any V.S.S.E. and instead have the playable 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 known as ("The One-Man Army") of both games, also the character from ShiftyLook's online dating sim game Namco High.
- Keith Martin - appears in Time Crisis II as player 1's lead character. He returns in True Mastermind Edition of Time Crisis 5 as both a boss in the fourth stage, initially mistaken as a traitor who sells VSSE intel to enemy organizations, and an NPC supporter for the final two stages in the game, who proves his innocence through his bona fide collaboration with VSSE's internal auditor.
- Robert Baxter - Keith's ally and player 2's character in a linked or solo game. He returns in Time Crisis 5 as an NPC supporter for the first 4 stages in the game in reality, but was exposed as the game's true main hidden antagonist in Time Crisis 5's True Mastermind Edition, due to Keith's bona fide collaboration with the internal auditor. He also serves as the game's final boss, piloting a giant robot.
- 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 home-console edition.
- Giorgio Bruno - appears in Time Crisis 4, as player 1's lead character and as the sole protagonist in Time Crisis 2nd Strike.
- 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 home consoles version of both games themselves.
- Captain William Rush - appears in Time Crisis 4 as an NPC supporter in the arcades. 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, as player 1's lead character who possess superhuman speed.
- Marc Godart - appears in Time Crisis 5, Luke's ally and player 2's lead character in a linked or solo game who possess superhuman speed like Luke does.
- Rachel Macpherson: The president's daughter and hostage in Time Crisis, was rescued by Richard Miller.
- Christy Ryan: An agent who discovers Ernesto Diaz's plot and is the hostage in Time Crisis II, but murdered by Robert Baxter in Time Crisis 5. Keith sweet-talked Luke and Marc claiming that he was in love with Christy years after Time Crisis II, but proved to have worked with and for her in a bona fide internal audit.
- 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.
- Lieutenant Elizabeth "Beth" Conway: An informant who serves as an assistant and informant of William Rush in Time Crisis 4
- Sarah Martin: An VSSE agent who assists Giorgio Bruno in Time Crisis: 2nd Strike
- VSSE Grunts: a group of young soldiers from Time Crisis 2nd Strike who supports Giorgio Bruno and secured against terrorist's remaining plots.
- Catherine "Cathy" Ricci: A VSSE agent who serves as the air support for Luke O'Neil and Marc Godart in Time Crisis 5. She was also loyal to Robert Baxter in their mission to retrieve the silver briefcase in Wild Dog's possession, but turned out Robert revealed himself as a real traitor after facing and defeating Keith Martin that she switches loyalties to Keith, while still serving Luke and Marc.
- Wild Dog - 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 – and was 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 (often self-induced) and appear to die, only to return in the next game. Wild Dog lost his left arm in an explosion following his defeat at the hands of Richard Miller. 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. In Time Crisis 5, Wild Dog has a new robotic arm with an in-built tractor beam device. The character is inspired by Mad Dog, Philip Kwok's difficult to kill gunfighter from the film Hard Boiled. Wild Dog was the main antagonist in Time Crisis: Project Titan, Time Crisis: Strike and Time Crisis: 2nd Strike, and serves as an antagonist in the first 3 stages of Time Crisis 5. He serves as the boss in the first three stages, piloting a giant spider-shaped tank in the first, a missile carrier in the second, and a transport vehicle in the third; attacking the pursuing agents with gunfire and stationary objects.
- Wild Fang - The younger partner (and apprentice) of Wild Dog, who appears in Time Crisis 3, the PS3 port of Time Crisis 4, and the True Mastermind Edition of Time Crisis 5. Although armed, Wild Fang relies much more heavily on physical combat than his mentor. In his first appearance in Time Crisis 3, Fang fires at his opponents with a handgun, but attacks mainly with martial arts attacks such as flying kicks and close-quarters kicks, while also kicking stationary objects at his opponents. In Time Crisis 4, Fang attacks in a similar fashion, but now comes equipped with an in-built tractor beam device to draw stationary objects towards him to use both as shields and as projectile weapons. In Time Crisis 5, Fang attacks with a series of rifle shots, missiles, and flying kicks, while also attacking with giant energy spheres formed by an energy generator on his back.
- Sherudo Garo - appears in Time Crisis as the main antagonist in this game. The last surviving member of the Garo royal family, he conspires to take back Sercia and rule it over as a dictator. 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 however betrayed and mortally wounded 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 the game. The CEO of NeoDyne Industries, he planned to launch a nuclear satellite into space and sell it to the highest bidder.
- Giorgio Zott - appears in Time Crisis 3 as the main antagonist in the game. A general of the Zagorian Federation, he attempted to use tactical ballistic missiles to take control of the nation of Lukano.
- Jake Hernandez - Zott's minion and spy, seen only in the side storyline Rescue Mission. He betrayed the Lukano Liberation Force to Zott, leading to their capture, all due to his greedy lust for money.
- Gregory Barrows - appears in Time Crisis 4 as the main antagonist of the game. Leader of the US Army's Biological Weapons Special Operations Unit (also known as the Hamlin Battalion), Barrows stole biological weapons called Terror Bites in order to hijack nuclear-armed UCAVs in order to get revenge for the government's poor treatment of his unit.
- Robert Baxter - A former VSSE agent who was revealed as the True Mastermind in Time Crisis 5's True Mastermind Edition that killed Christy Ryan. He sabotaged a mission 3 years ago that damaged Keith's reputation as a VSSE agent. He first assists the agents Luke and Marc in the first 4 stages to retrieve Christy's briefcase from Wild Dog, then fights Keith for the briefcase. After Keith shows Luke and Marc the briefcase's decrypted contents, revealing Robert as the traitor, he admits the truth as he attempts to kill them for the next 2 stages and dispatches soldiers given a drug that negates pain and fear, resulting in zombie-like supersoldiers. As the final boss, he dons an robotic armored exoskeleton as part of his ultimate plan to drop a large amount of the drug on New York (his full motivations for wanting to do this and why he betrayed his comrades are not revealed).
- Derrick Lynch - A mysterious terrorist who leads a rogue terrorist group (U.R.D.A.) who serves as Time Crisis: Crisis Zone's chief antagonist. He takes over Garland Square without hostages or demands, revealed to be up to no good at the game's end. Lynch is named after one of Time Crisis II's creators.
- 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". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (76): 217. November 1995.
- "time crisis arcade video game, namco, ltd. (1995)". Arcade-history.com. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-06-13.