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The logo utilized in the original Time Crisis
|Genre(s)||Light gun shooter|
Bandai Namco Entertainment
|Platform(s)||Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, iOS|
|Platform(s) 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 dangerous situations, 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.
- 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 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 the player 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, 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, 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 for arcades. The game uses Epic Games' 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 six stages, the largest in the series.
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 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 did not know when they would be hit and take damage. 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 "crisis flash") 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.
- "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.