Since 1995, the Time Crisis series has been providing some of the most exciting arcade action around. Want to know how it all began? Read on to find out more...
Brush up on the history of one of the most successful light gun series of all time.
Time Crisis (1995)
Released into arcades in 1995, Time Crisis was unlike any light gun shooter game that came before it, largely thanks to its use of a brand new innovation in light gun games: the foot pedal. With the pedal released, the player took cover to conserve hit points whilst reloading their gun. Pressing down on the pedal again let you pop out of cover and unleash a volley of hot lead at anyone foolish enough to put on a ski mask and come running in your direction.
The game also created an atmosphere of frantic action thanks to the Time Crisis of the title - a countdown timer, recharged by clearing an area of enemies - that was constantly within a few seconds of zero and instant game over. You had to take risks, shoot enemies quickly and hide only when necessary if you wanted to survive, giving the game a tense, action-packed atmosphere never before seen in arcades.
The game was later ported to PS one, with the GunCon light gun controller for an experience which mimicked the light gun blasting of the arcades. As well as the arcade mode, it featured an additional multi-branched storyline exclusive to the PS one version of the game.
Time Crisis II (1998)
Hitting the arcades in 1998, Time Crisis II boosted the time Crisis action with a range of new gameplay aspects. First and foremost was the Crisis Flash - a split second flash of light that warned you of incoming bullet-based death. Fail to get to cover after spotting a Crisis Flash and you would lose a life, only this time you couldn't say you weren't warned. Each scene also had a 40-second time limit, but unlike the original Time Crisis the timer only ran down in battle, not during cutscenes, and was reset with greater regularity.
Another innovation to the series that was introduced in Time Crisis II was the two player co-operative mode that allowed two people to play simultaneously, allowing you and a friend to cover each other and introducing a tactical element to the game. Time Crisis II was also the first TC game to be ported to PlayStation 2, which included unlockable weapons, Crisis Missions, a clay pigeon mini-game called Shoot Away 2 and a remake of the arcade game Quick and Crash.
Crisis Zone (1999)
Released to arcades in 1999 and to PS2 in 2004, Crisis Zone offered up another piping hot slice of Time Crisis shooting action, this time from the perspective of an anti-terrorist trooper aiming to take down an organisation known as the U.R.D.A. Crisis Zone was notable for letting players choose to play any of the game's three initial levels in any order before heading to the final boss battle in mission four.
Time Crisis: Project Titan (2001)
The first Time Crisis game to be released exclusively for PS one, Project Titan followed the series' formula with the foot pedal cover system, Crisis Flash warnings and constantly decreasing time limit.
All new to Project Titan however, was the ability to move to multiple fixed locations, which were activated by shooting yellow arrows while the player was hiding. This gave players the freedom to choose their own path throughout the levels and is something that has been widely used by other shooters ever since.
Time Crisis 3 (2002)
All this Time Crisising was all well and good, but by the third instalment, people were starting to call out for more weapons with which to off their jumpsuited foes. Namco listened and Time Crisis 3 introduced a new weapons system that allowed the player to switch between the standard issue handgun, a fully automatic machine gun that could hold 200 rounds, a shotgun with 50 rounds for close quarters fighting, and a 5-round grenade launcher with splash damage. The game also refined the Crisis Flash system by making incoming dangers brighter and easier to spot in the heat of battle.
Time Crisis 3 was later released for PlayStation 2, together with a seperate story featuring side character Alicia Winston as a playable character. Unlike the other games in the series however, the PS2 version of Time Crisis 3 featured plot elements, features, and weapons not found in the arcade version.
Time Crisis 4 (2006)
Time Crisis 4 adds the multi-screen/multi-hiding system, introduced in Time Crisis: Project Titan, but places players on the defensive, having to shoot arrows, or move the G-Con controller to switch screens and hold off advancing hordes of enemies.
The game was released for PlayStation 3 bundled with the G-Con 3, and features an all-new first person option known as Complete Mission Mode. G-Con 3 comes equipped with two analogue sticks, and for the first time in a Time Crisis game you can now step off the rails and move around at your leisure using the sticks to move, while retaining the aiming system from the Arcade Mode. Playing as Captain William Rush, a non-playable character from the main story, the Complete Mission Mode contains 15 levels and fills in some of the backstory to the most thrilling and involving Time Crisis yet.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm (2010)
The evolution of Time Crisis on PlayStation takes a massive leap with Time Crisis: Razing Storm, and it's all thanks to the PlayStation Move motion controller. Delivering a blazing arcade style experience straight into your home, PS Move allows for expert precision when blasting away the masses of enemies. To complete the arcade shooter experience, you can also add the PlayStation Move shooting attachment to PS Move. With no batteries or leads required, it offers effortlessly unrestricted gameplay.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm features a lot of bang for your buck, packing in three games. Razing Storm, a spin-off from the main Time Crisis series featuring massively destructible environments as you blast your way through a bloody South American revolution; Time Crisis 4, the classic prequel previously available on PS3; and Deadstorm Pirates, a swashbuckling fantasy shooter for up to two players. Both Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates are compatible with G-Con 3 and PS Move.
If you just want to jump into the awesome action of Razing Storm, you'll find a fast and frantic Story Mode for up to two players, along with three multiplayer modes: Arcade, Sentry and Online Battle Mode. A maximum of four players can enjoy Sentry, while up to eight players from around the world can blitz the Online Battle Mode.
Give it a try - an unmissable demo of Time Crisis: Razing Storm is available to download from PlayStation Store right now.