Time Crisis. Namco (1997) PlayStation

time crisis cover

I don’t remember many people having the console version of Time Crisis, instead me and my mates would play it at the arcades. But since arcade games were hard, and I was shit, I never got past the first level in the arcades when playing Time Crisis 1.

The game

Well, it’s an on-rails-shooter. This means, you stand and shoot at things on screen against a clock. Time Crisis was novel for the time as you got a pedal which makes you duck off screen to reload, this makes you invulnerable, but would mean your time would tick away.

timecrisis1

Shoot things before they shoot you…

Enemies are pretty simple and they’re colour coded to signify their ability. Blue are the standard fodder, red will actually aim and shoot at you, and then you get various different colours to signify if they throw grenades, knives etc. Later levels you do get combos, but it is pretty easy to tell what each enemy will do and the priority order.

Always shoot the dicks in red first.

Always shoot the dicks in red first.

Graphics

Time Crisis actually looks pretty good. The levels are well thought out, and the character models are fairly detailed for the era.

Even at this range, Mr Blue won't hit you for a while.

Even at this range, Mr Blue won’t hit you for a while.

Gameplay

Now, I might be terrible at the game (I am), but there only seems to be one path for the entire game. In House of the Dead 2, you could go a variety of paths. In Time Crisis it is linear.

The “Special” mission does have branching paths, however, I have no idea how to trigger them. I have no idea why, or how, but sometimes I go to the shop for the second level rather than up to the offices.

Modes

As mentioned, there are two modes:

1) is arcade mode, this follows the standard arcade story. You get 3 levels, each split into 3 parts, with a final (4th stage) boss level. This takes pros 15 minutes or less to complete (record is 12:50ish). It takes me 25-30.

2) is “Special” mode. This is a PlayStation exclusive and has a different story. In which you storm a hotel.

Story

To be honest, the story is pretty generic. Terrorists have kidnapped the presidents daughter. They are holding her in a castle, and you Richard Miller, the “one man army” and member of V.S.S.E (Vital Situation, Swift Elimination International Intelligence Agency) must get her back. The terrorist will release her if “The government hand over ‘secret military details'”.

The One Man Army himself...

The One Man Army himself…

They really didn’t spent much time on the details on this story.

Problems

It isn’t very fun. It really isn’t. The fighting is tedious. It feels a little unfair that the enemy can string combo hits against you that will take all your life. On the 2nd level boss you can be daisychained 3/4 times within the space of 2 seconds resulting in instadeath. It is pretty annoying.

You can be unlucky enough to wipe on one spot. Some enemies also instahit you, so unless you know the game and the enemy order, you’re gonna take some cheap hits. This was common of arcade games of the era, but for a home release, I would have expected a fix to this. This is thankfully fixed in Time Crisis II.

Also, you can’t shoot through scenary. I accept this if it is a brick wall, but when you’re shooting a leaf, it doesn’t hit what is on the otherside. It is unintuitive, and can lead to cheap hits.

At least this presidents daughter isn't as annoying as Ashley.

At least this presidents daughter isn’t as annoying as Ashley (RE4).

Overall

Time Crisis is a solid enough on rails shooter, it is just let down by the conventions of the genre. The reload pedal is a nice addition, but Time Crisis ultimately offers very little. Give it a whirl, but don’t expect too much.

Pros: Reload pedal

Cons: Everyone looks like what the Japanese think all white westerners look like. Shallow, and ultimetly feels a little hollow.

68%

 

 

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