North American Dreamcast cover art
Time Stalkers, also known as Climax Landers (クライマックス ランダーズ?) in Japan, is a Dreamcast role-playing video game featuring appearances of worlds (and playable characters) from several of Climax Entertainment's earlier games in crossover fashion. The player initially takes the role of Sword, a character caught in a world made of many worlds. As he goes along, similar heroes show up for the player to control. The player may do things such as enter dungeons, take special assignments, and upgrade/buy/sell items.
Time Stalkers is a typical Roguelike. The game also borrows elements from Dragon Quest V because players can capture enemies and build a party of monsters. Players can carry up to 8 monsters, but are only allowed to have two with them during battles.
- Sword acts as the primary character of Time Stalkers (although any character carrying the hero's crest takes on the main role). Sword comes from a world that is never explained in detail. Aside from a brief intro cinema, not much is known of Sword's background. The few details that are given are never explained, such as Sword being referred to as "cursed". Sword's story starts as he pursues a heavily armored enemy into a clock tower. Inside he finds a book which strikes him with a bright flash of light. The layout of the clock tower changes, and Sword walks into a world no longer his own. Sword is almost aloof to the world around him, rarely acknowledging those around him. Through the course of the game he works to find his way back to his own world. Despite his otherwise "spaced out" attitude, Sword is quick to anger, which often leads to reckless actions on his part. Sword remains distant even to other members of his party, but oddly has a fondness for dogs.
- A humanoid lion beastman, Rao is a soldier from a world embroiled in a never-ending war. Rao became trapped inside a dimension known as the "Phantom Zone", where he and the other members of his troop were forced to endlessly battle against powerful monsters. He managed to find his way out but was the only survivor of the ordeal, an event that left him bitter and sullen. After Sword assists Rao with the matter of the Phantom Zone, he allies himself with Sword. Rao is very well-mannered towards all the members of the team, but holds Sword in the highest regard, and acts as somewhat of a mentor to Lady.
- The main character of Landstalker, Nigel is the third playable character to show up. While exploring a ruin with his companion Friday, they find a book and the ground begins to shake. Nigel and Friday attempt to flee from the ruin, only to set off a number of traps and end up separated from one another. Upon arriving in the ring world, Nigel begs Sword to find Friday. Eventually the two are reunited. Nigel is an elf, and despite his appearance (he looks to be in his early twenties at most) is actually quite old, which hinders him in dealing with desirable females. He is much more amiable than Sword and is more than willing to assist. He shares a bond with Pyra, as she too is an elf, and from the same world, albeit different time lines. According to Nigel he seeks adventure, not treasure of any kind.
- One of the main characters of the game Shining in the Darkness, Pyra is an elf and claims to be "looking for truth." An experienced sorceress, Pyra is friendly and kindhearted but quick to anger, and emotionally unstable. Pyra forms somewhat of a friendship with Nigel, although she is distressed when Nigel explains in his time her kingdom has fallen. She doesn't get along well with Lady, and the two tend to stay away from one another unless necessary. Pyra commands the greatest magic power of any of the playable characters.
- The main character from the game Lady Stalker: Challenge from the Past (never released outside Japan), Lady is straightforward to the point of rude. Lady comes from a city full of gangsters in a world seemingly not very different from Earth. She uses unarmed martial arts (usually aided by add-ons such as spurs) and whips to smack down any opponent. Lady joins the team more out of boredom then anything else, and doesn't get along well with Pyra. During the course of the game Lady can be seen offering to teach the Yamada's daughter kick boxing. More often than not, though, she can be found stomping the small gang from her world into submission. Lady also has a rivalry with Rao, considering him to be the only person in the ring world to match and even surpass her own fighting ability. Roa regularly offers her advice, which she gladly accepts, showing the amount of respect she has for him. Lady tends to be hard on Sword more than other members of the party.
- Marion is a living doll, created by a puppetmaster encountered in one of the dungeons. Like the other dolls, Marion is made for combat, probably to act as a bodyguard for her creator. Marion is a hidden character. To recruit her, the player must find her doll form while searching her dungeon. This is based on luck, so the player may have to complete the dungeon several times before finding her. After finding her in doll form, the player must then give the doll to Mr. Noiman (the authority on magical weapons and items in the ring world). He figures out how to activate her. Upon awakening, Marion is devoid of emotion of any kind, but finds humans interesting enough to accompany Sword and the others. As she spends more time with them, she begins to take on her own sense of personality and emotion, although she often doesn't understand it herself. Marion enjoys taking walks, talking with Sword and hearing his stories, and exploring her newfound sense of self. She can often be found talking to Krystal (a broken android who Marion helps repair). Marion notices things from a very juvenile point of view, something the other characters seem fond of.
Other major characters
- A being of seemingly limitless power, able to rip the fabrics of time, space, and dimension. Occasionally Master shows up to instruct Sword and his companions on their next course of action, which Sword finds endlessly irritating.
- A small flying creature that is a friend of Nigel's. She is discovered after Nigel is unlocked and he asks Sword to free her from a dungeon.
- Mr. Noiman
- A funny rabbit who lives up on the hill. Mr. Noiman can buy and sell legendary items, which are special items throughout the story with high power such as weapons and armor.
- Dr. Anna
- She is capable of reviving your fallen monster allies in battle. She is located at the cathedral below Fire Mountain.
Time Stalkers was met with mixed to negative reviews. Pete Bartholow of GameSpot gave the game a negative review, criticizing its "traditional" story, randomized dungeon layouts, ugly graphics, and most particularly the resetting of experience points at the beginning of each dungeon. He concluded by advising gamers to instead get the "vastly superior" Evolution: The World of Sacred Device (the Dreamcast's only other RPG at that time), and gave Time Stalkers an overall score of 5.2. IGN gave the game a 6.5, and praised the unique overworld and the monster capture mechanic. However, like GameSpot, they took issue with the resetting of experience points, and also complained of the game's concise dialogue and short length.
The following characters of other Climax games also appear:
- Friday, from Landstalker.
- Cox, from Lady Stalker. Cox joins your monsters group after finishing the game with Lady.
- Hiro and Milo, the other two playable characters from Shining in the Darkness, appear in Pyra's ending. In the English version their names are mistranslated as Dave and Dennis.
- Jogurt, the Yogurt, from Shining Force, when you equip the Yogurt Ring on any character.