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Time Crisis is a first-person rail shooter and a series of video games by Namco - initially available in arcades and later released for the PlayStation consoles.



Time Crisis focuses on shooting all on-screen enemies in an area while taking cover. Successful players must proceed to the next area or level. The franchise's signature feature is the presence of a foot pedal that controls whether the player's character takes cover (and is thus invulnerable but unable to shoot) or commences attacking (which makes the player vulnerable to attack). Players are required to take cover to reload their gun. A countdown clock, recharged by clearing an area 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, only a partial amount of time was added to the clock while the timer kept on running down. The game would end if the timer reaches zero. In the two-player installments, the clock runs only when the player is fighting, with the timer resetting back to a certain amount of seconds when a portion of a battle area is cleared. Also, the player simply loses one life instead when time runs out.


Hit detection

In the first Time Crisis, enemies will fired "unannounced" direct hits, which caused problems because players did not know when they would be hit. Different-colored enemies provided accuracy levels (i.e. red soldiers were the most accurate). Project Titan attempted to address that problem using "different colored bullets," but this did not fix the "unannounced" direct hit problem. 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.


The setting of each Time Crisis revolves around a serious threat to the world. The V.S.S.E., a covert organization, must send its highly-skilled agents in to eliminate any peace and 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 installment adds a prologue with the three stages each with three screens. 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.


Each Time Crisis game features a different protagonist, each of them a field agent of VSSE and supporters:

  • Richard Miller features in Time Crisis and Time Crisis: Project Titan—he is the sole silent protagonist of the aforementioned two or three games. He also has a cameo appearance in the PS2 version of Time Crisis II
  • Keith Martin is featured in Time Crisis II and is the first playable character
  • Robert Baxter is featured in Time Crisis II as the second playable character
  • Alan Dunaway is featured in Time Crisis 3 as the first playable character
  • Wesley Lambert is featured in Time Crisis 3 as the second playable character
  • Alicia Winston, a PlayStation 2 - exclusive character to Time Crisis 3, appears as a non-playable supporter in the arcades
  • Giorgio Bruno is featured in Time Crisis 4 as the first playable character
  • Evan Bernard is featured in Time Crisis 4 as the second playable character
  • William Rush, a PlayStation 3-exclusive character to Time Crisis 4, appears as a non-playable supporter in the arcades
  • Claude McGarren serves as the sole protagonist in Crisis Zone

In addition, each Time Crisis game features a different chief antagonist:

  • Sherudo Garo, whose plot provides the central focus in Time Crisis although he is not the chief antagonist in the game.
  • Kantaris, who is the chief antagonist of Time Crisis in the extra story mode, and was in the first level of Time Crisis: Project Titan.
  • Ricardo Blanco, whose plot is the central focus in Time Crisis: Project Titan although he is not the chief antagonist in the game.
  • Ernesto Diaz—who is the chief antagonist of Time Crisis II.
  • Giorgio Zott—who is the chief antagonist of Time Crisis 3.
  • Gregory Barrows—who is the chief antagonist of Time Crisis 4, his plot is shrouded in mystery and must be discovered during in-play.
  • Derrick Lynch, the chief antagonist of Crisis Zone, wants to destroy Garland Square with a nuclear reactor, Geyser One. He is named after one of Time Crisis's creators.
  • Jared Hunter—who is the chief antagonist of the Crisis Zone side storyline, the Grassmarket District crisis. He kidnaps the S.T.F. Commander's daughter, Melissa Kessler, and plans to avenge Derrick Lynch.

Wild Dog

While the games have some contributing antagonists in addition to 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 Time Crisis games (except Crisis Zone). At the end of every battle, after the player has defeated him, he will detonate himself and appear to die. After Richard Miller shot off his left arm in Time Crisis, Wild Dog outfitted it with a large machine gun. In Time Crisis 3 and the PlayStation 3 port of Time Crisis 4, Wild Dog has a younger partner named Wild Fang.


  • A followup exclusive to the PlayStation, Time Crisis: Project Titan, came out in 2000 featuring a new multihiding system.
  • 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), interactive backgrounds, and a different storyline centering through the anti-terrorist tasks of elite STF 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.
  • 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 was hiding or attacking. A PlayStation 3 version was released in 2007 in the United States and Japan, and released a year later in other territories.
  • Time Crisis Strike was released by Namco in January 2009 for the iPhone OS.
  • Time Crisis 5 will be released on 2010.

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