Video Game: Time Crisis

— WAIT —

Admit it: whenever you play those Light Gun Games, the absurd amount of enemies that constantly chip away your health/life makes you believe The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. How are you ever supposed to stop this onslaught? Enter Time Crisis by Namco, a series of Light Gun Games for the arcades, now in its fifth iteration. Its main distinguishing feature is its use of a foot pedal: the player holds the pedal down to attack; when the pedal is released, the player hides behind a nearby wall/tree/bench/other object and is safe from attack, but can't retaliate. This means that unlike most light gun games, any attack can be dodged without harm even once it's been launched, although the reaction time you have can be punishingly low.

Each game follows a different set of characters as they gun their way through unrelated international crises. The only two constants are the "VSSE" (Vital Situation Swift Execution), a Heroes "R" Us organization, and "Wild Dog", a freelance mercenary who serves as each villain's Dragon, despite blowing himself up in increasingly impressive pyrotechnics each time.

As one might expect, time is an important part of the series. A timer is constantly running down to zero, being replenished each time players clear a "room" of enemies. In the first game, the timer was the main challenge: it had strict limits, and all lives are lost if time ran out. Later games toned it down considerably: only one life is taken, and the limits are much easier to deal with. In fact, they mostly just prevent excessive turtling and make sure the player eventually dies even if they never press the pedal.

The primary installments in the Time Crisis series are:

  • Time Crisis - Released for the arcades in 1996, it was ported one year later onto the Sony PlayStation, bundled with Namco's signature Light Gun peripheral "GunCon".

  • Time Crisis 2 - Appearing in arcades in 1997, this installment is where the game began setting up two cabinets hooked together for two-player co-operative play. Both players go through the levels at slightly different vantage points on the action and sections with more pronounced differences (one player on the ground, the another on a railing above). As an added bonus, a red reticule used by a Mook is visualized as a direct hit to players, allowing them to know exactly when they should let go of the pedal to dodge (which wasn't present in the first, another reason why the original was so strict). A port was released in 2001 for the Sony PlayStation 2, compatible with "GunCon 2".

  • Time Crisis 3 - For this release in 2002 in arcades, players have the ability to use extra weapons in the form of a machine gun, shotgun and grenade launcher, which were more powerful than the default handgun, but had limited ammunition. To refill them, players had to shoot a specific yellow Mook. This game would also be ported onto the PlayStation 2 a year later.

  • Time Crisis 4 - This title released in 2006 for arcades forces players to take part in "Multi-Screen Scenarios", where near endless Mooks come and attack from different directions (until the timer reaches zero, and provided the player survives). The game was ported onto the Sony PlayStation 3 with the rather awkward "GunCon 3" bundled a year later.

  • Time Crisis 5 - Announced for an international release in March 2015 for arcades, this installment takes cues from the dual-pedal system used by Too Spicy, allowing players to attack, displace their current position and flank enemies from different directions. Essentially, it is the inverse of the Multi-Screen Scenarios by giving players the ability to instantly change their viewpoint without losing their aim. Namco Bandai has revealed they are working on a True Mastermind Edition, which will feature twice the number of stages.

The following are considered Spin Offs to the series:

  • Crisis Zone - Released for the arcades in 1999 as a single-player only cabinet, it is basically Time Crisis except players use a machine gun and a ballistic shield as cover. It is the first game to allow players the choice between three levels to play in any order. Fans consider it a Gaiden Game to the series, thanks to the loose connections between the main installments, although neither the VSSE nor Wild Dog appear. Oddly enough, the game was Remade for the Export in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, available only in Europe and North America, retitled as Time Crisis: Crisis Zone in the latter, while there has been no console release in Japan.

  • Project Titan - A 2001 PlayStation-exclusive Gaiden Game/semi-sequel that follows the protagonist of the original. This game actually showcases the "Multi-Screen Scenario" first before the fourth installment used it.

  • Time Crisis Strike - Released in 2009 for the Apple iOS, it is an alternate take on the arcade version of Time Crisis 3.

  • Razing Storm - Appearing in arcades in 2009, this spin-off takes cues from Crisis Zone with players using a machine gun as their standard weapon and a ballistic shield as cover, but will switch to special weapons like rocket launchers and sniper rifles as the situation warrants. Unlike Crisis Zone, this game allowed co-op though only used one cabinet rather then separate ones that offered different perspectives. Ported to the PlayStation 3 a year later and retitlted as Time Crisis: Razing Storm, it is also compatible with the PlayStation Move, as well as being bundled with an "arcade only" version of Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates.

  • Time Crisis 2nd Strike - A sequel to Time Crisis Strike, this 2010 game for iOS is an alternate version of Time Crisis 4.

Additionally, the original, 3, 4 (the one with the GunCon 3 bundle), Crisis Zone and Razing Storm have exclusive scenarios not found in the arcade versions that expands more on their respective stories, usually from an allied Non-Player Character perspective.

A Character Sheet is currently in the works. Please contribute.


Tropes for the series include:

  • Action Girl: Alicia in 3.
  • Adult Fear: The final section of Stage 3 in 4, in which unmanned fighters threaten to nuke the United States.
    Captain Rush: "If we don't stop them, the entire country will go down in flames! We CANNOT let that happen!"
    • The first game is a hostage situation involving The President's Daughter (not from the United States, but the emphasis was on "daughter" anyway).
  • All There in the Manual: For the first game, we had to read the manual to learn the backstory behind the game. The later games didn't even supply names for the most of the bosses you face (well, the ones that weren't Wild Dog or the villain of the day).
  • Always Close: The ending of 2, 3, and 4.
  • Antagonist Title: Project Titan is the name of a project of titanium robot army operated by Wild Dog.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: In Time Crisis 4, Rush will provide the players with extra ammo during sequences where they really need em during the terror byte sequences.
    • Starting with 2, the time limit resets to 40 seconds for each section rather than just adding a set amount of time. It also stops counting down whenever "WAIT" is on the screen.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: In the original, Sherudo Garo was the last remaining heir of the Garo royal family that ruled over Sercia for a millennium. After the regime was toppled by a revolution, he attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government by kidnapping the president's daughter Rachel and demands the country to be restored to a monarchy in return for her safety or he will have her killed.
  • Arm Cannon: Wild Dog continues to attach more to it, in the form of a rocket launcher, flamethrower, grappling hook and a tractor beam...
  • A-Team Firing: In installments that offer multiplayer - if only one player is playing or if the game is in solo mode, the unused player character is shown attacking and hiding just like you...but none of his shots will connect.
    • Subverted if the player dies (still in solo mode); during the continue screen, the unused player character will start popping off perfect headshots until you finish slotting your quarters in.
    • Also worth noting: if (while using two players) one player clears out all of his enemies, any enemies that only the other player can hit RETREAT (or get blasted by artillery, as in 3's Stage 1. Yes, this means that one player could embody this trope, get 0 accuracy, and STILL play through the entire game if the other player is good. In single player, however, watching the COM's screen when behind cover can let you know when it's safe to pop your head out.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Wild Dog's "tractor beam" Arm Cannon in 4; just beat him and you'll see why.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wild Dog in later installments, when there's enough polygons to spare. His apprentice, Wild Fang, has his own as well.
  • Badass Normal: Everyone. Except the Mooks.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Wild Dog starts as a quite human Guns Akimbo final boss. In the 2nd game, he's practically a cyborg with gatling gun on his arm. In the 3rd game, it became a Swiss Army Weapon, with machine gun, flamethrower, and rocket launcher. Come 4th game, he installed a grappling hook (which he used to drag your helicopter down), and a Tractor Beam.
  • Banana Republic: Caruba in Project Titan.
  • Beard of Evil: Derrick Lynch in the PS2 port.
  • Big Bad: Sherudo Garo in 1, Ernesto Diaz in 2, Giorgio Zott and Jake Hernandez in 3, Gregory Barrows in 4, Robert Baxter in 5, Derrick Lynch in Crisis Zone, and Jake Hunter in Crisis Zone's Grassmarket District.
  • Bishōnen: Every protagonist in 2 and 3, one half of the player characters in 4, plus Wild Fang.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Crisis Zone named the hero Croad McGalain and one of the bosses Eddy. The Playstation2 version fixed them into Claude McGarren and Edge, respectively.
  • Bonus Level: Razing Storm passes its fourth stage (only accessible if you complete the missile sequence of Stage 3) off as a "bonus" stage.
  • Boss Banter: Some bosses will verbally harass you throughout the fight. 4's Stage 2 boss, Jack Mathers, is notable in that he's not bantering you, he's bantering Captain Rush, who smack-talks him back for betraying his country.
  • Boss-Only Level: The final battle with Robert Baxter in the fifth game is like this. Unlike the other final stages of each game, it's not split into three separate areas, it's just one long boss battle against Robert.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The machine gun in 2. In 4, two areas put you in a helicopter with either a mounted machine gun or an automatic cannon, both of which have infinite ammo.
    • In the Playstation 2 version of Time Crisis 2, you can unlock an infinite ammo pistol, meaning you never have to reload!
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: In Stage 3 of 2, Ernesto Diaz uses Christy Ryan as a shield, and this will stop any misplaced shot meant for him. Shooting her will not hurt or kill her, but you'll lose 5,000 points for doing so.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: In 3, Alicia shoots a handgun out of Zott's hand as he's about to execute her brother Daniel during a standoff between Zott and the VSSE agents. In the arcade version, this is done in a cutscene. But in the Rescue Mission mode, you actually have to shoot the gun out of his hand.
  • Boring but Practical: In games where you can switch weapons, the basic handgun is this. Sure, it has no rapid-fire or spread, but it has unlimited ammo (just release the pedal to reload) and won't risk missed shots (either through over-firing or pellets failing to hit something). This is taken a step further in 5 where the handgun is the second most damaging weapon in you arsenal.
  • Climactic Elevator Ride: Right before the final boss battle, Wild Dog takes Rachel hostage in an elevator. Richard has to take the other elevator to catch up.
  • Cliffhanger: Time Crisis 5 ends in one with the protagonists cornering Wild Dog but he manages to send in his detectable arm flying away with the briefcase before blowing himself up once more. The V.S.S.E manage to track it down, but the recovery team is wiped out by a unknown assailant wielding a sword and retrieves the briefcase. The game ends there as it was revealed Namco is working on a "True Mastermind" edition which will continue the story in it's entirety.
  • The Coats Are Off: Wild Dog does this before fighting him in every game .
  • Color-Coded Characters: Soldiers in red have precision aim and always connect with their first shot, blue/gray are fodder and orange are bonuses. Similarly, Player 1 characters wear red and Player 2 characters wear blue. By 3 and 4, shooting yellow soldiers rack up additional ammo for weapons aside from the default handgun (a single shot's enough to kill them, but the more you shoot them, the more ammo you get). Also, green soldiers have lifebars, i.e. one shot isn't enough to take them out, and enemies in camo gear throw grenades and knives.
    • In the first and second games, most bullets fired at you will be yellow tracers. However, the ones that will hit you are red with menacing swirls.
  • Combat Commentator: Beth has shades of this during Stage 2-3 of Time Crisis 4.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: You hide behind some pretty questionable items, such as park benches, vendor carts, and empty barrels. Worse yet, this allows you to hide from all damage, including high explosives and thrown grenades, since enemies aim for your head, not your location.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: One or two secret agents against entire terrorist organizations. Who would you see winning?
  • Continuing Is Painful: During the continue screen of the first game, the elapsed time keeps running. In the console version, as well as the "Rescue Mission" from 3, you start the area over. In 4, your combo meter resets, making it hard to string combos again, and if you fail a Multi-Screen section, you lose your time bonus for the area.
  • Cosmetic Award: From 2 onwards, clearing the game without using a continue and making the high scores list will put a star next to your initials.
  • Damsel in Distress: The original, Project Titan and 2. Averted in 3 with Alicia as the Action Girl and 4 with Elizabeth, who serves as Mission Control.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Despite the series' Excuse Plot, the villains thought the four entries are surprisingly smart when it comes to carrying out their plot and hindering the heroes. But of course, they still alway fail to beat the good guys, though.
    • In 1, after Miller killed Sherudo Garo, the entire plan by the antagonists to overthrow the republic and restore the monarchy in Sercia was basically over (as he was the last survivor of the royal family). Instead of simply surrendering after the death of his employer, Wild Dog was smart enough to pull a Xanatos Speed Chess by grabbing Rachel and making a run for the helicopter.
    • In 2, Neodyne Industries was able to detect the intelligence leak of the Starline Network's real purpose literally within seconds after Christy made a phone call to the VSSE. When the heroes attempted to intercept the train carrying the satellite's components, Diaz simply has the cargo airlifted away by helicopter while trapping the heroes on the train. Finally, half way though the boss fight with Wild Dog, Diaz shows up carrying a rocket launcher with the backup of his entire security team to join the fight once it is obvious that you are too much for him to handle alone, completely averting the Mook Chivalry trope.
    • In 3, considering that the VSSE agents' mission was to neutralize the tactical missiles installed on Astigos Island, the Zagorian army was able to do a surprisingly effective job at delaying the heroes until the missiles are ready for launch by having them pinned down in pointless firefights that have nothing to do with missiles. When the heroes attempted to take a shortcut by hitchhiking on a supply train, the Zagorians responded by blowing up the railway bridge, forcing the heroes to travel the rest of the way on foot (once again, successfully delaying the heroes until the missiles are ready). Finally, when General Giorgio Zott was confronted by the heroes, he didn't start his Evil Gloating until after he set the missiles to launch, and made sure that the launch sequence cannot be aborted conventionally even in the event of his defeat. Not to mention that when designing the shutters in his military base, Zott actually followed Evil Overlord List rule #96, and he was almost successful at stopping the heroes because of that!
    • In 4, Gregory Barrows is unusually Genre Savvy for a Light Gun Game villain. He not only allows his Faceless Goons to use their secret weapon from the VERY beginning of the game and outruns the heroes in a race to get more of said weapon, he actually manages to hide his true plans until the last level (while usually they're given away on the game's "insert coin" trailer). On a minor note, the stealth fighters he stole and sent to destroy all major cities in the United States with nuclear missiles are controlled by a separate informatic system, so they can't be hacked by usual computers to be stopped, thus using the Evil Overlord List rule #50.
      • Alas, he's still a victim of Genre Blindness: a nuclear missile-launching computer system that could be completely shut down by pressing a single button. That didn't even require a login or password or any other type of validation. Chain's only as strong as the weakest link, bub!
    • A rare example in for the mooks as well: In the Playstation 2-exclusive rescue missions for 3 in which you play as Alicia, during the sniper sections the enemy actually employs proper counter-sniper tactics by sending in their own sharpshooters to hunt you down in teams. They are even smart enough to re-position themselves after firing each shot so that you can't easily track them down, and one of them actually attempts to take you out by sniping a red barrel that Alicia was standing dangerously close to during a cutscene. Then, in the level at the air force base in 4, Captain Rush and the National Guard requests fire support. As soon as you show up, the enemy immediately focuses all their firepower on you instead of the helpless National Guard soldiers. Considering they all work for the above examples, this isn't too surprising.
  • Dead Hat Shot: The first boss of 2, upon crashing his boat, leaves behind his bowler hat and his suitcase floating on the surface of the water.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In 2 and 3, your only penalty for continuing is not having a star next to your name on the initials screen. 4 does this too, but also with the aforementioned subversion.
  • Demoted to Extra: Robert Baxter returns in 5, but he's now a supporting character in the style of Alicia Winston in the third game and Captain Rush in the fourth game than a playable one.
  • Die Hard on an X: The original is Die Hard in a castle. Crisis Zone is Die Hard in an urban complex and a city.
  • Disney Villain Death: Ernesto Diaz in the 2nd game, and Randy Garrett in the 3rd one {And in the same level where you fight him, you also send various Mooks falling to their deaths as well}. Also Robert Baxter in the fifth game, when you send him falling to his death in a quick-time event.
  • Dodge the Bullet: With enough skill and practice, a good player can take cover from bullets marked with the Crisis Sight and dodge them.
  • The Dragon: Wild Dog. He's actually the secondary Big Bad.
    • In turn, Wild Fang is this to Wild Dog and Robert Baxter in the fifth game.
  • Dragon Their Feet: In the first game.
  • Dual Boss: Wild Dog and Big Bad Ernesto Diaz fight you together in the final level of 2. You fight Wild Dog and his apprentice Wild Fang in 3.
    • There's also two robot mini-boss in Project Titan.
  • Dual Wield: It's possible on 2 through 4, but due to how the arcade cabinets are designed, it's very hard to do.
    • However, the Playstation 2 version of Time Crisis 2 has a Dual Gun mode, which is a one player mode where you can wield two guns.
    • The Playstation 2 version of Time Crisis: Crisis Zone also has this feature, although you are required to complete 55% of the game (that includes the extra modes) to unlock it.
  • Dull Surprise: Beth from the fourth game probably recorded all her voice clips seperately...
    Beth: [in a completely calm voice According to these analysis results, [the terrorists'] military strength is equivalent to one company of the US military. [in a worried, surprised voice] That... that's impossible!
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Unlike its sequels, the original Time Crisis is single-player only with a Heroic Mime protagonist and doesn't have two protagonists with a dual screen, Wild Dog is the Final Boss and the Big Bad is the second-to-last boss, there's no warning when the enemies' bullets will hit you, the timer doesn't reset to 40 seconds during gameplay transitions, the timer will keep counting down even during action sequences, and this is the only game in the series where you will lose all of your lives if you run out of time. As for playing for score: There's no score at all, you're ranked strictly on time; in fact, there's even a Timed Mode where you can time-attack any of the three stages with infinite lives, a feature not seen in any game since.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In Time Crisis: Project Titan, you are prevented from finishing the remaining 1/4th of the game if you play on easy.
  • Evil Laugh: Many of the villains such as Sherudo Garo from 1, Giogrio Zott from 3, and Gregory Barrows from 4, but Wild Dog does this the most.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There's a crisis, see, and you need to stop it in time...
  • Excuse Plot: The plots are there mainly to give the player an excuse to shoot stuff. The first focused on a pro-monarchist terrorist group, the second was about a mad scientist trying to nuke the world via a series of satellites disguised as peaceful communication satellites, the third was an invasion of a peaceful Mediterranean country by its fascist neighbor, and the forth was about anti-US insurgents. None of these has any real bearing on the gameplay.
  • Fan Vid: Combining it with memetic juggernaut Touhou.
  • Faux Action Girl: Zigzagged with Christy Ryan in 2. On one hand, she basically completed the entire first half of the mission for you (infiltration, espionage, sabotage, etc.) and she even taunts the villains who try to torture her. On the other hand, she's vulnerable to the Standard Female Grab Area.
  • The Federation: Averted: the Zagorias Federation in 3 is a militaristic fascist dictatorship that invaded Astigos Island in an attempt to take over its neighboring state of Lukano.
  • Five-Man Band: In 4:
  • Flung Clothing: Alicia in her console scenario for 3. She changes from a bikini top and shorts into… her uniform… somehow…
    • Wild Dog with his overcoat, as well as Wild Fang.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The supposed antagonists of 4, W.O.L.F., or Western Order Liberation Front.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: In Crisis Zone, Lynch wants to destroy London just to show how evil he is.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere / Lone Wolf Boss: Arguably, Wild Dog in later games. He has no connection to the Zagorians in 3 or the Hamlin Battalion in 4; he's just there to give the VSSE a hard time.
  • Greaser Delinquents: Richard Miller, the protagonist of the first game, has this as his aesthetic, right down to the haircut and leather jacket.
  • Guns Akimbo: Wild Dog again, and there's nothing like Guns Akimbo where one of the guns is an Arm Cannon.
    • President Evil Giorgio Zott, the final boss of 3, dual-wields a pair of rocket launchers in his final phase.
    • Possible for the player in home versions, usually as an unlockable.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The VSSE.
  • Hand Cannon: Make, model and calibre never come up, but given it's possible to cherry tap anything to death with them (ranging from gigantic VTOL craft to an old WWII artillery bunker) they must be something pretty impressive.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The VSSE, with different agents in each game:
    • 1/Project Titan: Richard Miller
    • 2: Keith Martin and Robert Baxter
    • 3: Alan Dunaway and Wesley Lambert
    • 4: Giorgio Bruno and Evan Bernard
    • 5: Luke O'Neil and Marc Godart
      • Furthermore, the STF (Special Task Force) and player character Claude McGarren in Crisis Zone, and SCAR members Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 in Razing Storm.
  • Heroic Mime: Richard Miller, the completely silent protagonist of the first game. Later titles give protagonists voices, but only during cutscenes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The second stage boss in 2 is killed when he gets knocked backwards while firing a minigun, and ends up destroying the helicopter he was flying in with it.
  • Hold the Line: Some Multi-Screen segments in 4 require you to protect a barricade until reinforcements arrive. Enemy response is noticeably more aggressive in these sections.
  • Hostage Spirit Link: Variant: you just lose points. 3's "Rescue Mission", on the other hand...
  • Human Ladder: Goes a bit crazy in 4 where the National Guard and Rush go into this mode so that the Giorgio and Evan can climb them up to stop the Big Bad's nuclear strike.
  • Humongous Mecha: In 5, Robert Baxter summons one and later pilots it in the final battle.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Every enemy in each installment have this. In the sequels, however, when they actually do shoot you, it's marked with a red flash.
  • Implacable Man: Wild Dog must have taken at least a million bullets to all parts of his body AND survived FOUR self-destructs, three of them his own doing. And yet, he's always back for more...
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: The heroes of 3 and 4's badass jackets.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Marcus Black.
    Rush: An anti-tank rifle, one-handed?! Who is this guy?
  • Improbable Weapon User: A boss in 2 uses an ICBM as a battering ram.
    • The stage 2 boss of 4 continuously wrestles Captain William Rush, who he sometimes throws at you.
  • Irony: The series is about time-sensitive crises, but II through 4's scoring systems require you to slow down in order to chain enemies for points.
  • Jetpack: In Crisis Zone, U.R.D.A.'s air division consists of soldiers equipped with body armor and jetpacks. Hunter is also wearing one when you fight him in the hotel.
  • Joker Immunity/Not Quite Dead: Wild Dog. Alan and Wesley even lampshade it in the third game:
    Wesley: Wild Dog?!
    Alan: Don't you ever die?!
  • Kaizo Trap: Since the time in the original and Project Titan keep running even between action frames, it's possible for the clock to run out after you take down a helicopter or another mechanical boss as its "death" animation plays. Fortunately this isn't an issue with human bosses: for them, the clock stops once you make the killing shot.
  • Karma Houdini: Kantaris in the Special Mode of the original Time Crisis, should Miller fail to defeat her before she makes her escape.
    • Played straight in the spinoff Project Titan, as she escapes after Miller rescues Abacus from her boat in the beginning.
  • Kill Sat: The crisis needing to be averted in 2... which the Big Bad uses as his weapon in the final battle, equipped with lasers and a gatling.
    • In Razing Storm, your allies have one, and it's used to destroy the Big Bad and finish off the boss of Stage 3.
  • Knife Nut: Sherudo Garo from the first game.
    • There are various knife-throwing mooks as well.
    • Jake in the Rescue Mission portion of 3.
  • La Résistance: The Lukano Liberation Army in 3.
  • Large Ham: Jack Mathers, the Stage 2 boss of 4.
  • Leitmotif: Wild Dog, General Diaz in 2, and the Terror Bites in 4.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The first game. It's hard to tell when shots can hit you or not from the blue mooks (the red ones are a given as are bazooka men and thrown grenades or knives. As well as environmental damage.) Making dodging a guessing game, plus the timer will continue running after beating tougher opponents.
  • MacGuffin: The Kill Sat in the second game, the Terror Bites in the fourth game, and a briefcase containing top secret information about the VSSE in the fifth game.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: In 5, Robert Baxter uses a robot that fires a barrage of missiles at you in the final battle.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Scary Black Man and Wild Dog in the second game, and then every boss in the third and fourth games. Bosses in the fourth game even have seven or eight stacked life bars, each one taking an upwards of thirty bullets to chew through.
  • Mission Control: Elizabeth Conway in 4.
  • More Dakka: The helicopter scenes in 4. Very, very much so.
    • Not that it prevents other bosses in the series indulging in their own: the second boss in 2 uses a machine gun turret, a gatling gun and an ICBM as a battering ram, while Ernesto fights using a Kill Sat. 3 has the first boss use a VTOL's armaments, a machine gun, a gatling gun, and in the Rescue Mission, a rocket launcher. Giorgio Zott switches from an assault rifle and sword combo to TWIN ROCKET LAUNCHERS. They really want you dead.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first mostly, where you can't tell what shot's going to hurt (aside from enemies), bullets that "graze" you as you go into cover can still count as lethal,note  the timer constantly goes down no matter what's going on, the timer only increases (by a variable amount) when you clear out an action point or hit certain enemies (and even then, only up to 60 seconds), and you lose all your lives if the timer runs out.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Captain Rush receives one from Jack Mathers in Time Crisis 4.
  • Nuke 'em: The last stage of 4 has you averting a plan to nuke every major American city.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Wild Dog does not follow logic in the first game; he can roll off to the right, and instantly appear on the left, or vice versa, or simply spawn behind an obscuring patch of flames.
  • One-Man Army: The original and Project Titan specifically describes Richard as this. Of course, subverted when the sequels become a two man army albeit with a "solo" option as well (Said option still shows an onscreen AI partner but they tend not to be that useful.)
  • One Riot, One Ranger: The whole point of VSSE is to send in one or two guys with pistols to solve international crises.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Averted in Project Titan. Abacus' real name is Marisa Soleil, and her real name was presented in the intro, too.
  • Out of the Inferno: The protagonists of 3 do this when the base they were fighting in collapses.
  • Parental Bonus: In Stage 2 Area 3 of 4, Elizabeth calls out the boss' moves, one of which she calls "F...!"
  • Patriotic Fervor: Captain Rush, who is quite pissed to learn that the terrorists he's dealing with are fellow Americans.
    Captain Rush: Where is your patriotism?!
    Jack Mathers: What good is patriotism?
  • Pitiful Worms: Wild Dog in 4 says this to the VSSE.
    Wild Dog: Annoying bunch of little flies...
  • Plot Armor: Claude's extremely resilient riot shield.
  • The President's Daughter: Rachel in the first game.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Starting in 2, the final mission of the home versions of each game's extra mission mode pit you against previous protagonists. While 2 plays it straight by pitting you against Richard Miller, 3 and 4 do it a little differently, instead pitting you against the agents you played as in the main story.
  • Prince Charmless: Sherudo Garo is this in spades.
  • Recurring Riff: Wild Dog has a distinct riff that appears in every game and is played when fighting against him.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Some objects, usually crates or barrels, can be blown up to kill enemies within its blast radius. From 2 onwards, this is accompanied by a point bonus. Also, shooting an inanimate, destructible object counts toward your hit combo.
    • In certain rooms of Time Crisis, on special mode, you can go to a different area when time isn't the major factor.
    • Crisis Zone on special mode rewards you further by giving you access to a special weapon for a limited time, as well as a new area to test that weapon out in.
  • Ruritania: Sercia in 1 and Lukano in 3.
  • Scoring Points: The original had a high score table sorted by time. From 2 onwards, the game uses a points system that focuses far more on combos and accuracy than time.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Time Crisis 2 onwards are generally easier to get into, mostly thanks to the timer always starting at 40 seconds after changing action points and resetting whenever you lose a life (including when the timer hits 0, which no longer is an instant game over).
  • Sequel Escalation: Every time Wild Dog comes back, he does so with increasingly crazy weapons: an Arm Cannon in 2, a combination flamethrower and rocket launcher in 3, and a Tractor Beam in 4.
  • Sequel Hook: 5 ends with Wild Dog launching the briefcase out of VSSE's hands before blowing himself up a fifth time and later being discovered by a mysterious man with a katana retrieving the case and saying, "How about that! Wild Dog is good for something after all." This is followed by a message announcing a True Mastermind Edition, which will feature three more stages.
  • Shout-Out: A lab late in the first game has teleporters identical to the ones in The Fly.
  • Smart Bomb: Grenades in 3 and 4. When playing for score, they're absolutely useless in 3 because they nullify the accuracy streak bonus, but in 4 they can connect combos to maintain the combo bonus.
  • Spiritual Successor: Two of them: first Crisis Zone, then that in turn had its own spiritual sequel Razing Storm.
  • Stripperiffic: Alicia's civilian outfit, which consists of an open shirt, a bikini top, and a miniskirt.
  • Storming the Castle: The entirety of the first game.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Steadily escalating with each incarnation.
  • Take Cover: Just step off the pedal. Also one of the earliest examples in the Light Gun Game genre.
  • Take Your Time: Inverted: one of the big experiments of Time Crisis was to put continual chronological pressure on the player throughout the entire game, directly contradicting that trope.
    • However, 4 has two segments that play this trope straight: a sniping segment in Stage 1 Area 2 where you must shoot a truck before it enters a tunnel (which never appears), and the final boss battle, where you must defeat the Big Bad before nuclear missile-armed stealth bombers reach their targets (it's Always Close).
  • Taking You with Me: Wild Dog.
    • Jake in Rescue Mission. He threatens to detonate the warhead he was escaping with before Alicia shoots it out of his hands...and ultimately takes him out with the same bullet.
  • Telephone Polearm: Done with an ICBM, no less.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Wild Dog. Every game always has someone asking how he survived his suicide bombs.
    • And Wild Fang.
  • Throwing Your Knife Always Works: Unlike bullets, knives will always take a life off if you don't dodge. Factor in speed, and a mook with a knife is literally more dangerous than one with a rocket launcher.
    • This is only true based on the difficulty: on easy difficulty, rockets and knives can miss if there isn't a red flash when launched, just like any other attack. It's still more likely to hit than an enemy firing a machine gun at you though, and what arcade machine is going to be set to easy?
    • In the original game, however, hitting the enemy who throws them before they can hit you means that they will always register as a miss. It's also possible, albeit only by absurdly good marksmanship or sheer dumb luck, to shoot them out of the air.
  • Timed Mission: Duh... Though the time limit is only a major problem in the first game. From 2 onwards, it'll usually only run out if you're really slacking off.
  • Traintop Battle: In 2 and 3
  • T-Word Euphemism: In 4 (arcade version), there's a sequence where you continually (more or less) shoot at a boss while he's wrestling with an ally. As usual, you are being debriefed on the situation by Mission Control via intercom (this is basically narration of the game script, which is also displayed at the bottom of the screen). For whatever reason, she decides to name the wrestling moves used by the boss. After a few ordinary examples, the script comes up "F—-!" at the bottom of the screen - and she actually yells out, "Eff!" The Japanese version (which had Japanese dialogue for all characters) took it a half-step farther, having Conway go "F U!"
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Kantaris does this if you take too long to defeat her or if you don't do enough damage to her car or aircraft in the Special Mode of the original Time Crisis. She ends up playing this straight in the spinoff Project Titan after you rescue the VSSE agent Abacus.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ricardo Blanco in Project Titan. He was betrayed and killed by Wild Dog, after getting defeated by Richard Miller. He revealed that the president of Caruba was still alive, and the dead one was just a clone.
  • Western Terrorists: In 4, the terrorists that you're fighting are not W.O.L.F., but rather disgruntled members of a unit from the U.S. military, the Bio-Weapon Special Ops Unit, or the Hamlin Battalion. Also, the U.R.D.A. from Crisis Zone. Robert Baxter is revealed to be this in the fifth game.
  • Wham Shot: The end of Stage 1 of 4 shows the dog tag of the defeated Marcus Black, who is revealed to be a U.S. military officer...and so are the rest of the terrorists that Rush, Giorgio, and Evan have been fighting. Needless to say, Rush is pissed off.
  • Why Won't You Die?: All but said in 3.
    Wesley: Wild Dog?!
    Alan: Don't you ever die?!
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In 4, Rush and the second boss engage in some close-quarters grappling. Beth even calls out some of the moves the boss uses.
  • You Monster!: Keith calls Robert this in the fifth game when the latter's robot goes One-Winged Angel.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In the first game, you actually fight the Big Bad in Stage 2, and fight Wild Dog in Stage 3. It's not The Man Behind the Man, though; Wild Dog just decides to continue the plan on his own.
    • Razing Storm's Stage 3. "Okay, all mooks sniped off, Kill Sat fires and kills the Big Bad, 'Mission Complete!' appears...wait, isn't this the first section of Stage 3?" And then, assuming you stop a wave of cluster missiles from wiping you out at the end of the stage, you have one more whole stage to go.