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Time Crisis
Review By: Siou Choy
Developer:   Namco
Publisher:   Namco
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Shooter
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:   01-15-01

Namco, creator of the best (and closest thing to "official") of all light guns for the Playstation, has gone out of its way to put said device to use by packaging it with one of the best (and most popular) shooter games available on any system to date, the venerable Time Crisis.

Most people are probably familiar with the game from the arcade, and Namco obviously kept that foremost in mind in creating the home version. Unlike the usual shoddy arcade to console transfer, Namco seems to have put a lot of effort into quality control on Time Crisis, and as a result, did an excellent job in porting it over to the Playstation. Even better, as an extra incentive to transfer those arcade dollars into home console sales, Namco added a Special Mode not found in the arcades, created solely for the Playstation version. In this brief but enjoyable variation, our gun-happy hero must infiltrate a hotel that is a cover for a gunrunning operation. Naturally, the main thrust of the game (and the reason you're buying it in the first place) is the standard Arcade Mode. Here, as in the arcade, you may choose between two styles of gameplay: Story Mode or Time Attack mode. Story Mode, the one most arcade dwellers are familiar with, consists of three stages, with four levels to each stage. Time Attack Mode is similar to Story Mode, with the simple difference that you are now competing against the clock in an attempt to complete the level as fast as possible. Unlike Story Mode, the Time Attack Mode offers a choice of which stage you'd like to compete in.

Regardless of which of the three modes you choose, you take the role of somewhat generic, if gratefully denim n' leather toting government spy Richard Miller. Your mission: to save Rachel MacPherson, kidnapped daughter of the President of the (to quote Woody Allen) "nonexistent but very real sounding" Republic of Sercia. In the course of your pursuit, not only do you have to take on the usual cadre of disposable henchmen, ninjas, helicopters, and assassin bosses, but you are, first and foremost, in a race against time, as implied by the game's title. Every move you make is colored by the ticking of the clock, seconds racing away from you during every gunbattle, and worse, throughout many of the scene-bridging animations (during which the player has no control over Miller's on-screen movements). Time Crisis is unique among all competing light gun games in one other respect: the ability to duck behind objects and hide from gunfire. This is marred somewhat by the lack of a foot pedal (as in the arcade), and the odd placement of the button for this function on the Namco light gun (you are forced to cradle the gun barrel in your right hand, and reach under to press the button on the opposing side); nonetheless, the added function adds both realism and a touch of strategy to the game not found in similarly plotted "British army style" first person shooter games, where you just shoot away until either you or your opponent drops (hey, there's a reason we won the war, you know). One other rather irritating difference between the arcade and PS versions is found when you have to continue, either due to loss of life or failing to beat the level inside of the time limit. Rather than picking up where you left off, as you would in the arcade, the PS version forces the angry gamer to start all over again at the beginning of the level, resulting in far too many unnecessary repeat performances (and we're not talking about a full reset here, this happens at every single "continue?" prompt).

Despite a recent resurgence in the popularity of first person shooters, with a plethora of Quake, Doom, and Duke Nukem knockoffs making their mark in sales and shelf space (Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, etc. etc.), a true shooter game like Time Crisis stands proud and tall above the crowd. While there's nothing wrong with a button-mashing "gun game", nothing beats the feel and intimate control of a pistol in your hand that the light gun game offers, and in the relatively small world of light gun games, few stand taller than the original.


Excellent arcade port (probably the best arcade game on the PS). Extra stages and levels not available in the arcade.


Those annoying guys in red. They always seem to pop out of nowhere and somehow "magically" hit you, regardless of whether or not the visuals show you as having ducked in time! The lack of a foot pedal (and the awkwardness of the light gun's "duck" function setup). The imprecision of the reload function (i.e., restarting at the beginning of the level, rather than where you left off). The countdown continuing throughout certain non-player directed cinemas.


Time Crisis is an excellent translation from the arcade. The Guncon that comes with the game is one of the best looking and most accurate light guns on the market. Despite a few bugs, some surprisingly enjoyable extra stages and bonuses serve to make it a highly recommended purchase.

Overall Score: 8.0
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