Follow TV Tropes


Timed Mission

Go To

"...I ran out of time, and the unit disappeared. 'We lost contact!' went a character. BULL. FUCKING. SHIT.note  All possible threats were dead! We didn't lose contact; I was looking at them! They were right fucking there! We were close enough to communicate by waggling our eyebrows at each other! What the fuck happens when the stupid arbitrary time limit runs out, their Battle Royale collars explode? They all lose honor and disembowel themselves?! WHAT?!"
Yahtzee, Zero Punctuation, on this trope causing him much frustration in Halo Wars

Quite simply, the player is given a finite amount of time to complete a goal, with the penalty for running out of time being Game Over or the loss of one of their Video-Game Lives. This can be particularly jarring, since most gamers are used to being able to Take Their Time, and (aside from the occasional Time Bomb and/or Collapsing Lair) the reason why a given level should even need a time limit isn't always apparent.

Timed gameplay sequences generally show their countdown onscreen, allowing the player to know their Exact Time to Failure. Exactly how stingy the time limit is varies; Turn-based games will usually measure time by the number of "rounds" or "turns", and even real-time games will generally pause the clock when the player is busy accessing their menu screens (instead of playing the actual level). However, in some cases the clock is implacable and continues to tick regardless; for example, online games typically measure time by the server's clock, rather than the player's, which can add a frustration if a network communications error breaks their connection (as even time spent attempting to reconnect and re-login is counted against the mission clock). There may even be Power Ups that extend the time limit a little.


Level timers originated in arcade games which needed some kind of mechanic to discourage players from hogging the machine without putting in more coins, and spread to many Nintendo Hard console and computer games that aimed to provide arcade-style gameplay. In a few cases, having the timer run out is the only way to get a Game Over, with all the other obstacles in the game merely serving to make the player waste valuable time. Many older arcade racing games had stricter time limits where unless you were moderately good, you were destined to run out of time; newer games have bigger time limits that aren't much of a threat unless you're pathetically slow or stop playing. In a similar vein, this is why fighting games have the ubiquitous 99-second timer. It was an arcade mechanic that carried over to the home consoles despite serving no purpose there (until the rise of online play, that is), and you'll notice that wrestling, boxing, and MMA games lack any kind of timer despite falling under the same genre; they originated on home consoles.


Some games have to be completed in their entirety under a single time limit; typically in these games you can continue if you die, but the timer just keeps going. If time runs out, you might be able to keep playing to get a bad ending rather than have an immediate Game Over.

There are some games where the timer exists, but is extremely lenient (for example, a 10-minute time limit in a level that takes 2 minutes for the average player to complete) and is mostly just used for calculating end-of-level point bonuses for completing a level quickly. On the other end of the scale, a few particularly nasty games don't let you know there's a time limit — sometimes even a time limit for the entire game — until it's too late.

The Timed Mission completes the unholy gameplay trinity alongside the Luck-Based Mission and Escort Mission, and things can get very bad when any two (or all three) of these are combined. The logical inverse of this trope is the Hold the Line mission, in which the clock is on your side and your objective is to survive until the timer expires.

Timed missions may end with an Always Close moment, unaffected by the actual time left on the clock. The subversion is Take Your Time, where the game tells you that the Big Bad is coming to town or the Distressed Damsel is in imminent danger, but in actual gameplay, you can do all the sidequests and exploring you want as long as you don't do anything that advances the story. If your supporting cast is yelling at you to move things along anyway, that's Continue Your Mission, Dammit!.

For cases where an expired mission timer doesn't trigger an immediate Game Over, but instead unleashes an additional in-universe threat to hassle the player with until they do complete their mission (or die trying), see Stalked by the Bell.

Though some games still incorporate timed elements, this is more often than not the reason people prefer Wide-Open Sandbox style games. As to stay consistent with the amount of freedom a player has over the game world, they usually have very few timed missions, or none at all, and the ones that are timed are usually considered That One Level.

See also Race Against the Clock, the way a timed mission manifests in media other than Video Games.

If the mission is a Boss Battle, then you have a Time-Limit Boss.


    open/close all folders 

  • Civilization games have a set number of turns, that decreases when raising the difficulty. Once the time is hit, the game's score is finalized, although players are free to continue for additional turns without score.
    • The scenarios in V all have a turn limit, but they don't always work against you. Usually, if the turns run out, the civilization closest to the winning condition wins.
  • The game Civilization IV: Colonization uses years for turns and starts in the year 1492. You have until the year 1792 to declare independence and defeat your homeland. If you don't make it in time, your homeland wins by default.

    Action Adventure 
  • In the NES game Air Fortress, you must infiltrate each of the eight Air Fortresses and locate a large glowing orange core called the "Power Reactor". From the time you shoot out the Power Reactor, you have approximately two minutes to find the level's escape hatch, which contains your ship, and escape the Fortress before the whole place explodes. Exact Time to Failure is averted, but you can judge how much time you have left by the decreasing stability of the environment. Initially, the whole Fortress goes dark; it beginning to quake and rumble means that 30 seconds have passed, and the rumbling getting worse and the lights flickering means that only 30 seconds are left. Finally, this intensifies until the explosion occurs and you are completely engulfed in a white screen, at which point the game ends. It is helpful to locate and determine the path to the escape hatch in advance, but not every level grants you this opportunity, especially in the second loop, due to the reactor itself blocking the escape path.
  • There are two such missions in Beyond Good & Evil. The first is saving your companion Double H from an alien disease; it gives you a fairly generous time limit for how far you need to go, but can be frustrating due to his tendency to get lost. The second is escaping a base near the end of the game after its Self-Destruct Mechanism is triggered; despite its low time limit, it's quite easy.
  • All three endings in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest are determined by how much in-game time passes during your play-through. Once you become aware of this, the day-and-night cycles help to pressure you into completing the game as quickly as possible, as well as planning and timing your routes in order to buy the items you need in order to progress as soon as possible (time only passes when outdoors, and shops and townspeople can only be accessed during day-time). The status screen has a number next to the in-game time representing how many days have passed: 16 and over, 8 to 16, and within 8 each determine which of the three endings you will get.
  • The very final part of Clash at Demonhead, where you're tasked with disarming the Doomsday Bomb. You either have six tries or an indeterminate amount of time (which speeds up every time you fail to complete it) to get it right, or the bomb will explode. There are also no clues whatsoever to help you figure out which slot each of the six medallions goes in, as the sequence is randomized with each playthrough. Have fun, and Try Not to Die!
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Gives a generous 10 minutes per level, at the end of which your character unceremoniously falls over dead.
  • Grand Theft Pizza Delivery: Each pizza delivery has a time limit within which the pizza must be delivered. You're usually given as much time as it takes to get your pizza van to traverse the map. Run out of time, and the screen will Fade to Black and flicker to a Game Over screen.
  • The Harry Potter games on the PSX sum this up in two sentences: "Get to the Charms class before the timer runs out. Walk through the floating clocks to start the timer." And if you mess up? You're "late" and lose points. Never mind the huge obstacle course you have to get past that suggests the teachers want you to be late. Fortunately you don't lose points in the second game; in fact, you get a Bragging Rights Reward that just about everyone who plays this game has for going fast enough.
  • In the Labyrinth game for the Famicom, Jareth gives Sarah 13 hours to solve the Labyrinth, as in the movie, and this is represented by an in-game timer. Not only does the timer run faster than real time, it can be replenished from several sources, and enemy attacks reduce it instead of HP (which doesn't exist).
  • There are several occurrences of this in The Legend of Zelda series. Most of them are fairly reasonable storyline-wise. Some of them are minigames where the point of the exercise is to complete some task(s) in the time allotted. Other times are related to a Load-Bearing Boss.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has two examples:
      • Happens during the Adult Link Chain of Deals. Certain items in the quest will "go bad" if you take too long (such as a mushroom that rots or a frozen frog that defrosts). Trying to cheat using warp songs would ruin the item.
      • The penultimate boss fight is a Load-Bearing Boss; defeating him will cause the castle to begin collapsing, with only three few minutes for you to escape.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the entire game is a timed mission… but you have the ability to reset the clock, and time pauses while you’re in certain areas.
    • Near the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, you have to reach Vaati before a bell rings thrice and Zelda is permanently Taken for Granite. At first, you may mistake it for Take Your Time, then you lose the game and realize your mistake. Hint: use explosives in battle.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass takes another spin on the concept, with the titular hourglass measuring how long you can stay in the central dungeon before it begins to drain your life. Getting hit by most enemies drains some of your time, but there are also opportunities to get some bonus time. In addition, there are safe zones where the timer stops and you're safe from enemies.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, every battle with the Imprisoned is a Timed Mission, with the distance from the Sealed Temple serving as the timer. You can add time to the clock by knocking the Imprisoned over or nailing it with a Groosenator charge. It can take time off the clock by dashing forward, climbing along the walls and cliffs, or flying. Each of those is progressively worse, and it is just as bad as it sounds. The Imprisoned is the sealed form of Demon King Demise, and he needs to eat Hylia's soul to reclaim his true form — this, of course, will cause The End of the World as We Know It outside of a plot-dictated event. All this is important as, after the second round, you learn that Zelda sealed herself inside the temple to keep the Imprisoned bound, and since she's the reincarnation of Hylia...
  • LEGO Star Wars 2 and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga have a "super story" mode in which the player must complete all six levels of one of the films within an hour as well as collect a certain number of LEGO studs in order to gain an extra unlockable. Thankfully, the timer pauses for cutscenes. There's also the "Challenge Mode" for missions in The Complete Saga, where you must collect 10 blue minikits before time runs out, and unlike the minikits for regular levels you have to gather them all in one go while their locations are completely different. Additionally, in regular gameplay for the first game and The Complete Saga there's the "Darth Vader" level, where each area before the final fight has its own time limit to reach the next one before you die and restart from the last checkpoint.
  • The Mysterious Murasame Castle has a timer on every level, which in fitting with the Jidaigeki setting is labeled in kanji.
  • Every level in NiGHTS into Dreams… is a timed mission. Running out of time means your character drops to the ground and gets chased around by a giant egg-shaped alarm clock. Particularly annoying, as running out of time makes you lose all your points, which means you can't get a high rating on the stage, which means you have to replay the stage or be locked out of the Golden Ending.
  • In Ōkami there are two sections of Yoshpet Forest which must be completed within a certain time. There are also shorter segments (snaring a runaway log, escaping Collapsing Lairs) which must be completed in time or the player must restart. The digging minigames are also timed.
  • Primal has two different ones, neither of which has any visible clock, and both of which cause a Game Over if you blow it.
    • When you enter the Aquis realm and acquire the Undine form, the Undine queen, Aino, is raised out of the water and begins to drown. The only indication of your remaining time is her increasingly desperate cries of "Help me!" If you don't, she will eventually die. Hostage Spirit Link is fully in effect in this case: if Aino dies, so does Jen.
    • In most cases, if Jen runs out of health in human form, she gets kicked out of the spirit world and back into her comatose/dying physical body, and Scree will need to run to the nearest Rift Gate to bring her back. A gradually slowing heartbeat sound plays under your rescue attempt, and a dramatic string underscore kicks in after about two minutes. The only other indication of your remaining time is a single verbal warning from Arella about halfway through. (Note the use of the phrase "in most cases", because this isn't an option if you lose a boss fight.)
  • Sydney Hunter and the Shrines of Peril: Each screen has a time limit that costs Sydney a life once it's depleted. Of course, since each level is only one screen long, the only way you can put yourself at that risk is if you spend too much time jumping over stuff to rack up a high score.
  • The NES game Time Lord is a completely timed mission, in which the player begins the game on January 1, 2999 A.D. and must complete all the levels before January 1, 3000 A.D. If the player does not fulfill his mission in time, then he will self-destruct with the time-travel system, after which the game will end.
  • In The Tower of Druaga, each floor has a timer that runs down to zero, and more quickly if you are unfortunate enough to obtain a Potion of Death. Then you have 60 more seconds before you lose a life, during which you are Stalked by the Bell. This can be annoying, given how random the enemies and item/exit placement can be.

    Action Game 
  • Assault Suits Valken: Certain levels must be completed under a time limit, or else you will fail (or die, depending on the mission's subject and its outcome); no countdown is shown, but Claire will periodically communicate Jake how much time remains or how close the mission is to fail. One of these missions, upon failure, will let you continue, but with the caveat of making the game lead to a very somber ending after its completion:
    • Colony Attack: If you don't destroy the power source before it's connected to the enemy ship, Versis will be destroyed with a powerful beam and you'll have to restart.
    • Attack On Arc Nova: You have two minutes to destroy the eponymous vessel's propellers so it no longer impacts Earth and is eventually rerouted beyond the planet's orbit.
    • Twilight Pursuit: You must destroy the enemy's spacecraft before it moves beyond your reach; if that happens, the enemies boarding it will act as reinforcements for the ones you're fighting against in the space fleet.
    • Gunfire Mountains: If you do not destroy the enemy artillery in time, it will be used to destroy all of Versis and its crew, including Jake's Mission Control and Love Interest Claire, leaving him alone against the enemy faction. This is by far the outcome you must avoid the most if you wish to clear the game with the Golden Ending.
  • In Battletoads for Game Boy, the last level before the Final Boss has a 99-second time limit.
  • Bio Lab Wars: Each level must be completed within two minutes. Luckily, the levels are pretty short.
  • Blast Corps is this and an Escort Mission. You have to destroy buildings that are in the carrier's path, and while there is no visible timer, you do have to hurry it up if the carrier gets close to a structure or obstacle.
  • In Carrie's Order Up!, every time a customer sits down, you have only a limited time to fulfill their order.
  • The arcade game Elevator Action Returns (Elevator Action II in the US) has a time limit when the player takes too long to enter a red door. In that case, the screen will start flashing the word "CAUTION!", and if there is not much time left, the amount of remaining seconds will appear on the screen. When the timer reaches zero, the player will die instantly. The final stage also has a time limit that begins halfway through. The countdown starts at 180 seconds (3 minutes) and if the player does not finish that stage in time, then the terrorists will launch the missile, causing an immediate Game Over.
  • The arcade game Finest Hour has a time limit for the cooling system of the player's mecha. If the time limit runs out, the cooling system will break down, causing the mecha's heat gauge to steadily increase until the player either completes their mission, or the mecha overheats.
  • In The Firemen, every stage is on a timer, usually lasting around 10 to 15 minutes. Running out of time results in your health bar dropping to almost zero.
  • In Jet Grind Radio, every level is timed.
    • Only 1 level in Jet Set Radio Future is timed, and you have 30 minutes to complete the mission (deactivating some bombs), not too bad considering there are only around 8 or 9 bombs.
  • Two levels in The Matrix: Path of Neo: the first is a training mission to kill 5,000 enemies in about 10 minutes. The last timed level is the mission to save Morpheus where you get, again, ten minutes or it's game over.
  • Each level in Rampage has a time limit of approximately a couple minutes. If the time limit is reached, bombers will destroy the city you are in, ending the level and moving you on to the next: there is no real penalty aside from losing out on points from completely destroying a city before the bombers attack.
  • Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin puts players on a 24 hour (in-game) time limit. Players have to beat the game by then, or else New York City will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb. In the event players run out of health, they can continue, but this will deduct two hours from the remaining time limit.
  • Every level in Super Time Force has a time limit of 60 seconds to start, and you can collect items to extend it.
  • The inverse happens in Wild Guns. The timer indicates the time remaining in the level before the miniboss appears, and each enemy you kill lowers it further. A rare case where you want the timer to go down in order to proceed.
  • In X2: Wolverine's Revenge, every level is inexplicably timed, the game being made long after the era when every game had a timer as a matter of course. The interesting thing about this timer is that Wolvie regenerates health over time, which means that if you run low on health, you can either attempt to complete the level weakened or spend precious time letting yourself heal. This is pretty obviously the entire reason the timer is there, since the game would be extremely easy if you could pause to heal back to full health after every enemy. However, you have to manage your time to the degree that it becomes the entire game, which makes for a very mediocre game experience.
  • X-Men 2: Clone Wars: After you destroy the Sentinel Core, you are given 134 seconds to escape from the factory before it blows up. The timer doesn't start until you leave the Core.

    Adventure Game 
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Stop the Rock! has two different modes: "Join Nye Labs" (Story Mode) plays this straight, since you have only 5 days to save the world from a killer asteroid; "Hang Out" (Sandbox Mode), however, averts it, since there's no time limit, allowing you to explore Nye Labs and experiment with its various devices all you want.
  • In Conquests of Camelot, in the ending sequence, if you don't find the Holy Grail in time, you'll die from the rat bite's poison.
  • Gold Rush!! has several time limits, but none are actually game-ending. After the game begins, you have 15 minutes until the announcement of gold being discovered in California, at which point most of your travel options are taken away and things cost dramatically more, while the value of your house (selling it is your main source of income) drops like a rock. On the Cape Horn route, if you don't figure out a way to get an alternate source of food in time, you'll be too weak to do anything and die soon after. On the Overland route, on several screens, you have to figure out how to overcome the obstacles you're presented with before they do you in. And finally, when you make it to California, one task requires you to gain entrance to a hotel room that doesn't exist by getting access to someone else's room. If you spend too much time figuring out the secret passage after tricking him out of the room, he'll come back, assume you're a thief, and send you to the gallows for a game over.
  • The Journeyman Project
    • In general, the game gives you about twenty minutes to fix the problems in each time zone you go to, before the Pegasus device that sent you there won't have enough energy to take you back to the present. One level has an antagonistic robot that shoots you, forcing you to waste energy with a shield to block the shot, reducing the amount of time you have to complete the stage. The sequels avert this trope, since time travel technology improved.
    • One area has Agent 5 getting shot with a poison dart as soon as he enters, and you only have a certain number of moves to develop the vaccine before it kills you.
    • A few areas on Mars, including a maze, are completely without oxygen, but you're given an oxygen mask with ten minutes of air to make it through all of them. The same area also features a luck-based color match puzzle that you have only a few minutes to complete before a core overloads.
  • In King's Quest III, you have to defeat Mannanan and leave Llewdor in a certain timeframe, otherwise you either get killed by the wizard or the ship leaves and you get stuck.
    • King's Quest IV is essentially a timed mission too, but in Real Time and thus extremely lenient. You can check the clock in the haunted mansion. A couple of Time Skips make an exception to the above Real Time, though: Night will automatically fall, if it hasn't already, when you get the amulet that protects you from the undead. And daybreak will automatically come when you assassinate Lolotte. You only have a few hours after that to get back to Genesta before she dies.
    • King's Quest V makes the desert a timed mission: after a certain number of screens, Graham will die of thirst. Getting a drink of water from an oasis or some other source adds "time" to this clock.
  • Leisure Suit Larry:
    • Half of Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards is, covertly, a timed mission: If Larry does not lose his virginity by sunrise (several hours of game time), he will put a gun to his head and commit suicide. However, the player can circumvent the time limit, by having Larry hiring the prostitute who is available from the beginning of the game. As Larry questions the validity of losing his virginity to a prostitute afterwards, the game resumes, but the time limit is now removed.
    • The cruise ship in Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) is a partial timed mission, without warning... after a certain amount of time, returning to your cabin on the ship will kill you. Of course, you can stand outside the cabin cursing your fate as long as you like, but if you've failed to get everything done on time, you just can't progress.
  • Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus: In the final real gameplay segment, you have 20 turns to figure out how to explode Ch'awwwk's evil weapon with your bomb. If you fail, the weapon goes off, enslaving all the birds on Earth and letting the Xavians win.
  • Every stage in McPixel consists of trying to locate and defuse a bomb.
  • In Police Quest 2, you have about two minutes to figure out how to disarm a bomb before it's game over.
  • Although the first game in the series doesn't have a time limit, the rest of the Quest for Glory games do. In the second game, you're actually subject to the whims of the timer: you ultimately need to get across the desert on a caravan, but the next one won't show up until day 21, and you have to contend with several elementals in the meantime, each of which have their own time limitnote , and in the final section of the game, you have a specific but hidden amount of time to stop the Big Bad before he summons Iblis. The third game also has events explicitly happen based on how much time has passed, and if you aren't in the right place at the right time, things will happen without you (resulting in a game over). The fourth game forces you into two time limits: the first is to get a special item for Baba Yaga, and if you fail, you die. The second requires you to find several items within three nights, or you'll die. The fifth game has several time limits: if you fail to complete certain challenges in time, someone else will, and you'll be one step farther from taking the throne of Silmaria.
  • The entire game of The Space Bar is a Timed Mission in the form of a turn limit, where each action taken advances the clock by so much time. The overall game has to be solved before the criminal Alias is chasing leaves on the last shuttlecraft off the system. Also, several of the alien memories you play through have timed areas within them. Finally, at one point Alias gets hit with a poisoned dart, and you only have so much time to find an antidote.
  • The Space Quest series has several timed missions:
    • In the original, you have to escape the Arcadia and later the Sarien ship before the self-destruct sequence completely destroys it.
    • In Space Quest 2, after taking care of the Big Bad and stopping his plans, you have about five minutes to escape the station before it burns up in the atmosphere of Labion. That time limit is even more pressing if you were kissed by the alien, as you need to finish before its baby bursts through your chest.
    • In the third game, after destroying the stealth field generator on Ortega, you have to escape before the explosion sets off a catastrophic series of eruptions that you can't possibly survive. The timer is not shown (but very generous).
    • In the fourth game, if you take too long to confront and defeat the Big Bad after setting up a system format, he wins.
    • In the fifth game, you have to destroy the Eureka before the sludge monster breaks free.
  • Each level of Trick or Treat Beat has a time limit they need to beat by getting all the candy and coins in the level.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • In Dragon's Crown, pursuing a stage's "B" path leads to a boss fight that has a soft time limit in one for or another. While running out of time doesn't result in defeat, defeating the boss within the time limit is the only way to get the talismans needed to fight the Final Boss.
  • A common challenge type in Grabbed by the Ghoulies whereupon the player must clear the level of all or a particular type of enemy in a set time in order to not summon the Grim Reaper who can One-Hit Kill.
  • Every level of MadWorld has a thirty-minute time limit. If you don't get to the boss before time's up, you lose. This is far more than enough time, so the only reason you'd ever run short is to see how the announcers will mock you for dawdling.
  • In The Peace Keepers (Rushing Beat Shura in Japan), when you enter the plane's cockpit near the end of the Alan Bradley Airport stage, a time bomb on board is set at 15 seconds and you must destroy the plane's controls before then. If you do not destroy the controls before the timer runs out, the bomb will explode and cause the plane to crash, forcing you to go through the streets instead of the plane's destination. The "boat" stage (The Crazy Horse) is also a timed mission in which you must destroy the white Orbot within a 60-second time limit. If you do not destroy the Orbot in time, then the ship will sink and you will be taken to Ozymandias Island instead of Sukiyaki Lane.
  • Splatterhouse 3 has a rather... unique version of a timer. Each of the stages (especially the first four) require you to reach the end and defeat the boss before time runs out. If the clock does run out, however, it's not a game over; instead, one of your family gets killed, and you get a worse ending.
  • In the first two Streets of Rage games, you had to clear the current area of all enemies before you can move on, where the clock would reset. While the timer was very slow, running out of time killed your character and resulted in a loss of a life.
    • This is taken a bit further in Streets of Rage 3, where one stage features a countdown which, when it reaches zero, releases poison gas into a building. Failure to save the General/Chief in time results in the player being taken down the bad ending path. Also, on the good ending path, you have to destroy Robot Y before bombs scattered throughout town detonate. They detonate whether or not you beat him in time.
    • Taken up even further in the Streets of Rage Remake. Sure, running out of time in one of the final levels leads to a bad ending, but your life now depends on whether or not you make it in time! To make matters worse, everything is still trying to kill you, the elevator jams and requires a key card (hidden in one of 20+ boxes in one room), and worst of all, Shiva, now more after your life than ever, waits for you at the front doors, more than happy to try to kill you, even if it costs him his own life. It doesn't help that the cutscene that's triggered upon greeting him takes an eternity and time is running out. Good luck fighting him on one of the upper difficulties!
      • There's also an issue in the Remake as of version 5.2 where you don't get time refills at the end of the Streets of Rage 2 Stage 7 elevator that were in the original game. This means that you have to get through the last 3 waves, featuring several difficult enemies such as kickboxers, as well as the difficult boss fight, all within 4 minutes. Assuming you don't die beforehand from the sheer damage, which refills the timer.
  • All of Time Commando's missions. There's a bar filling up that will cause game over if it does so. Fortunately, there are places where you can feed "chips" to temporarily reduce the bar's progress.
  • Urban Reign has several missions that have to be completed within a timed limit, otherwise it's mission failure. The usual justification for these are that you're supposed to deal with someone before their friends (or the police) show up.
  • Each stage of Vigilante has a timer counting down from 99, and if it runs out, you lose a life. The timer runs slower than actual seconds, though.

    Card Game 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour, Gozaburo Kaiba's boss fight is set in a self-destructing military base that will explode after turn 20, so you must defeat him before then. This includes his turns, so you must technically defeat him in 10 turns.

    Driving Game 
  • Most of the missions from 007 Racing are timed, and will lead to an instantaneous Game Over if James Bond fails to complete an objective the timer reaches zero. It begins as early as the second mission, with Bond racing against a timer trying to collect twelve detonators scattered around Manhattan to prevent a terrorist attack.
  • Carmageddon and its sequel have a countdown, but pedestrians and collisions yield so much time that you are likely to finish the game with 30-40 minutes on any setting other than "hard", and because your car is indestructible in the first game and almost indestructible in the sequel, you cannot lose unless you deliberately go AFK.
    • On "hard" mode, the final events start you off with five seconds left on the clock and no pedestrians anywhere nearby. Your only option is to choose a grid position in front of the weakest opponent, throw your car in reverse, and hope you do enough damage to get a time bonus so you can even get off the starting grid before you lose.
    • The third game in the series, TDR 2000, cracked down on the timer to the point where you get less time in easy mode than you used to get in hard mode in the earlier games. A common complaint about the game is that there is simply no time to explore because if you stray off the beaten path, you quickly run out of time.
  • Chase HQ and most of its sequels and follow-ups gives players sixty seconds to catch up to a target criminal, then an additional sixty seconds to wreck their car and go for the arrest. Special Criminal Investigation also has a final stage that gives players only thirty seconds to reach the end and rescue the mayor's daughter before the building she is held captive in is destroyed by a bomb: running out of time results in an automatic Game Over and a bad ending.
  • Crashday has the Race Point-to-Point gamemode, where players must pass through all the checkpoints and reach the ending line before time ends.
  • SEGA's NASCAR Arcade throws out the traditional checkpoint-based timer in favor of one based on moving up positions. During the game, you have a "target position"; reaching it will extend the timer and move the target position up a few ranks. Therefore, to keep the timer going long enough that you cross the finish line, you have to be very competitive and continously advance positions, and actually finishing the race will often see the player in the top five. If you make a single crash before the final lap, particularly one that knocks you all the way back to last place, just give up and get off the machine.
  • Night Driver: You have 100 seconds, with a potential 100 more seconds in bonus time. Drive as far as you can.
  • Quarantine has this for any time you pick up a passenger. Annoyingly, the majority of such missions have a frustratingly short time limit, no matter how far your location is from the actual destination, and to make matters worse, the maps have a rather confusing layout which can daunt players. The arrow shown in your bottom right screen somewhat rectifies this, however.
  • Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA has two types of timers you can use. One is the traditional arcade timer, where crossing checkpoints extends it. The other instead just gives you a big time limit that cannot be extended.
  • Wangan Midnight:
    • In the original games, the Life Meter-based battles also have a time limit. When the timer runs out, whoever is in front wins, regardless of life remaining.
    • In Maximum Tune, the time limit is quite lenient and is only really an issue if you idle for a significant period of time. However, 10 Outrun mode does have a timer as a major gameplay element and if you can't pass each of your 10 opponents fast enough (easier said than done at the highest levels), you will fail the level.
  • Wipeout 3 has a checkpoint timer, but it is both generous and optional. There is no benefit to turning it on and you might get a game over because of it.

    Fighting Game 
  • Most fighting games feature a time limit for each round. When time runs out, the player who has the most health is declared winner. Winning a round before the time limit typically confers bonus points based on how much time is still left.
  • NeoGeo Battle Coliseum's Arcade Mode handles this differently than in most fighting games. Your team has five minutes in game time to defeat as many foes as possible, and that time limit carries over to your next set of fights (though you can increase the time limit once with a mid-game bonus). Once that time limit expires, you fight a Big Bad SNK Boss: there's 4 different ones, and the more opponents you defeat, the harder the boss that challenges you at the end.
  • The arcade mode of Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge has a time limit, and the ending of any given character can only be seen if the game is completed within the limit. While the game doesn't end immediately upon reaching the time limit, going over will cause the game to end with a bad ending just before fighting the final boss.
  • In Super Smash Bros.:
    • In the original game, the way to unlock Captain Falcon is by beating Classic Mode in under 20 minutes, which is appropriate given that he's from a racing game.
    • Break The Targets, Board The Platforms, and Race To The Finish are all timed missions.
    • Melee adds Event matches with time limits of either kind: Notably, Seconds, Anyone? gives you only 7 seconds to defeat Capt. Falcon, and Yoshi's Egg has you defend Yoshi and the egg for a period of time.
    • The 3- and 15-Minute Melee modes require you to stay on the stage for those periods of time while Fighting Wire Frames attack.
    • In Home-Run Contest, you have 10 seconds to inflict as much damage on the Sandbag as possible before you pick up the Homerun Bat and smash it off into the horizon. Target Blast operates the same way, only here you have to inflict damage to a bomb to launch it further and make it destroy as many targets and blocks as possible.
    • One of the bosses in The Subspace Emissary, Meta Ridley, is a Time-Limit Boss (two minutes). When it's refought in The Great Maze, the limit is removed.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Batman Doom: The level "Gas Trap" is set in a hospital where you have a few minutes to find the button that turns off emitters of poison gas. If you don't make it in time, the gas will be released and you will rapidly choke to death.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company has a fairly annoying one during the last mission. US armor is advancing through a small village, and you have to destroy two bridges near said village (don't ask). The problem is that the village is swarming with enemies, and both bridges are being guarded by TANKS. And if you die, you have to start over.
  • Borderlands 2 includes some timed side-missions, in which you must carry it out in a limited amount of time. When the time expires, you fail the mission and would have to start all over again.
  • Call of Duty:
    • 2 has several of the second variation of these missions, where the player and his squad must hold out against relentless Nazi attacks until reinforcements arrive. However, in the British "Brigade Box" mission, the end of the timer does not actually bring about reinforcements, but the arrival of a German Tiger heavy tank that has been harassing the squad since the previous mission, which the player must then assault and destroy single-handedly.
    • The original game has the "Dulag IIIA" mission — you have exactly ten minutes to rescue Major Ingram from the eponymous prison camp before the Germans lock it down.
    • Modern Warfare has a bit of a subversion from previous Call of Duty games: the second-to-last mission in the game requires an assault against an enemy who is attempting to Hold the Line. Failure to reach the mission objective before the timer runs out results in the US' Eastern Seaboard being nuked and World War III.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Most missions are either entirely free of any timers barring the increasingly large swarms of Glyphids, or are closer to a Hold the Line timer when it pops up. Once the Drop Pod arrives, or is reactivated during a Salvage Mission, however, the rest of the mission becomes this. As Mission Control makes clear, the drop pod will leave with or without you, so if you don't arrive within the alloted time limit you will be left behind on the planet, where the wildlife (which is very agitated by the drop pod's presence) can eat you. Depending on the mission, this goes from simply getting in after spending most of the time repairing it in a Salvage Mission, to having to rush through the entire cavern with massive Glyphid hordes bearing down on you the entire time in a Mining Expedition or Egg Hunt.
  • After the intro sequence of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, protagonist Adam is called back to assist with a hostage situation. While there's no explicit timer displayed, if you take too long to get to the mission site, the hostages will be dead, and people will chew you out about it.
  • Halo:
    • The final escape in the last level of Halo: Combat Evolved.
    • Additionally, though there is no timer for the final level of Halo 3, the environment of the unfinished Halo ring will tumble and collapse after a set period of time, forcing the Master Chief and the Arbiter to keep driving forward without stopping.
  • Left 4 Dead 2:
    • The game subverts this at first, with the final mission of Parish telling you to get across the bridge in 10 minutes or the helicopter will leave without you. No matter how long you wait, the helicopter will not take off without you inside (though with all the zombies trying to kill you, you really can't afford to wait). It then plays it straight with the achievement Bridge over Treble Slaughter, which requires you to get across the bridge in 3 minutes (basically running for your dear life and don't stop AT ALL).
    • The Finale of Dead Center has a hidden timer, where after a certain amount of waves have gone by (rotating between a Tank Wave and a Horde Wave) the game will trigger the final wave consisting of non-stop tanks AND hordes at the same time. Of course, the only way to actually see this is if you deliberately hold out until the time runs out, as the level gives you ample time to complete your objectives.
  • Medal of Honor Underground has "Wacky Taxi mode" where all missions get timers.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: Father Aville will die if you don't bring Dr. Amersfield within half an hour. On a larger scale, once the in-game clock reaches midnight, more monsters spawn and they all get stronger. After that, your family members start dying one by one unless you reach them in time.
  • Pathways into Darkness revolves around placing and detonating a nuclear device in the lair of an Eldritch Abomination beneath a Mayan Temple of Doom before it awakens in five in-game days.
  • The last Siberia level in Soldier of Fortune has a missile launch countdown that Mullins must stop.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, two stages are timed missions with no on-screen clock, with the player only having a computer voice out the ship's increasingly dire status until the player completes the objectives or the ship explodes.
    The first timed mission involves assaulting and downloading information from the bridge of a ship that the player has already set to blow itself up. Even if you do everything as fast as possible, thankfully the timer stops in the ending cutscene, or the mission would be impossible. One of your squadmates lampshades it, saying that they should finish the mission before they destroy the ship next time. It's even possible to complete said objective after the timer has expired, but you do have to cut it fine.
    The second timed mission involves fighting your way to the turret controls of a ship to turn on automated turret fire, after which the stage becomes a hold the line scenario while the player or his squad members turn on the guns.
  • Also, on the hardest MISSION difficulty setting, the original System Shock is one big timed mission. You only have seven hours to complete the game. During that time, you had to disable the mining laser to prevent SHODAN from using the station as a Kill Sat, destroy the transmitter to prevent her from uploading herself into Earth's networks, jettison the hydroponics grove with mutants into deep space, and reach the command center before she detaches it from the self-destructing station. Funnily enough, you can Take Your Time with the last objective and complete it after the relevant cutscene.
  • All maps on Team Fortress 2 have both a round timer (at which point either a Stalemate is declared, the game goes into Sudden Death mode, or a winner is declared based on which side has a higher score) and a map timer (at which point it switches to the next map in rotation), but the BLU team specifically loses on Payload and Attack/Defend-style Control Point maps if they cannot achieve their objectives before time runs out. However, for each leg of the mission they complete, more time is put on the clock, and if they're in the middle of a fight for the objective when time runs out, Overtime gives them one last chance to push for that goal.
  • The final mission in The World Is Not Enough involves escaping a sinking submarine. Ironically, it's not because of the water rising, but because a nuclear meltdown is about to take place. There's also the mission where Bond must defuse a bomb on which the timer gets shorter the higher the difficulty you are playing on, all the while saving every hostage along the way (which also increase in number the higher the difficulty).

    Hack and Slash 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Mission 5, where you are given three minutes to reach a specific door before the Melancholy Soul expires.
    • Mission 23, where you must escape from Mallet Island before the collapse of the Demon World destroys it.
  • Devil May Cry 2:
    • After defeating Furiataurus, Dante has to escape before the factory explodes.
    • In Mission 15 of Dante's disc, you are given 2 minutes to defeat all enemies before you can progress. Lucia has an equivalent of this in her eleventh mission, although she has 3 minutes instead.
  • Devil May Cry 4: Halfway through Mission 12, the Order of the Sword HQ is about to collapse as The Savior is no longer there. A countdown begins as the player has to make their way outside of the building.
  • There are two notable Timed Missions in Drakengard. The first involves you running through a fortress full of enemy soldiers attempting to rescue the Distressed Damsel before the Big Bad kills her (She's always dead by the time you show up, but not beating the level in time nets you a Non-Standard Game Over). The second is the final boss fight.
  • The Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series have timers on every stage. They tend to be on the scale of twenty to sixty minutes, which makes time the least likely defeat condition in most games.
    • Certain stages do have shorter time limits that might actually cause problems, usually when the in-story scenario is under time pressure, and the games often have the decency to make a point of warning you about the time limit.
    • Many of the "Commander Escapes" type objectives tend to be timed missions in disguise. The enemy commander will usually reach his escape point in a fixed amount of time, though other objectives will give the player chances to slow down, stall, or even prevent his escape entirely (or in other words, mess with the hidden "timer").
    • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 has a timed mission that requires you to defeat 1000 enemies in a set amount of time. Depending on your choice of mobile suit, this can be either a cakewalk or a total nightmare.
    • Most of the time, letting the time limit expire resulted in a loss. However, in Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, one of the conditions for winning a defensive battle against an invading kingdom is by letting the time limit expire.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • Countdown to Doom mentions in the backstory that you have 400 turns before your crashed spaceship will be corroded by the planet's atmosphere, rendering it incapable of takeoff.
  • Don't Shit Your Pants: The game gives you 40 seconds to make it to the bathroom.
  • In The Family Legacy, you have from 8 PM Friday until 8 PM Sunday to locate the MacAdam Claymore, with every command taking three minutes of game time.
  • SOON: After getting the bomb, there are a limited number of time jumps before the robots manage to follow and catch up with Atlas through the temporal distortion. If they do, Atlas will activate the Self-Destruct Mechanism of the time machine, effectively committing suicide to prevent the technology from falling into the robots' hands.
  • Zegrothenus gives you 300 turns to invent a new potion so the title character can keep his wizard's license.
  • The Z-Machine Matter gives you two hours to solve the mystery, with every command taking two minutes of game time.

    Light Gun Game 
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James, or better known as Time Crisis... in the Wild West! Players assume the role of Jesse and must clear every area of mooks within a certain time limit, or lose a life.
  • In Invasion: The Abductors, you have the option in the final stage to activate the self-destruct sequence on the mothership. Doing so gives you 30 seconds to activate the last airlock switch and disengage the cargo pod, but you're rewarded with the best ending, assuming you get out in time.
  • In Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge, the first form of Giga-Desp is timed. Once the music changes and he starts charging energy, you have to destroy him within 10-15 seconds, or else he'll launch an unblockable super attack that kills you instantly.
  • The aptly named Time Crisis series is essentially one gigantic timed game. All of its incarnations are usually broken up into a series of brief intervals where the player(s) have 40 seconds for the most part to eliminate all of the enemies onscreen. Failure to do so will result in the player(s) losing a health point.
    • The original Time Crisis brings you to the continue screen if time ran out, instead of just taking a life. On top of that, it has stricter time limits and the timer increases by a certain amount of seconds every time you clear a section (instead of resetting to 40, 60, or what have you), so if you're slow on one section, you'll have to work faster in the next or risk running out of time, a risk that almost never happens in later titles. The final straw is that the timer keeps running in cutscenes when the player is running from one area to the next. It gets ludicrous near the end where 30 seconds is added to the timer — then the player waits for 15 seconds for an elevator to take him to the villain.
  • Operation Wolf 3 has the "Final Scene" where players must shoot down a nuclear missile within 99 seconds. Failure to do so results in a "BAD END".

    Maze Game 
  • Pac-Man:
    • In Pac-Man Championship Edition, each stage gives you 5 or 10 minutes to score as many points as you can.
    • Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has more of these 5- and 10-minute trials, but now has Time Trials where the time limit is your best time on the course (for example, if your best time is 35 seconds, you have 35 seconds to clear before the game throws a stage failure at you).
    • Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 once again has those score-based timed challenges, but also has Adventure mode, where each stage require you to complete a specified number of sections within a time limit that is dependent on the difficulty level you picked for the stage. Boss stages have a timer on each section that resets after clearing one, and your goal is to clear enough sections to eat the power pellet at the end (ideally with as many extra lives in tow as possible).

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • 88 Heroes takes this trope a step further than most. Not only do you only have 88 seconds to beat each level, but you must beat all 88 levels in 88 minutes or else Dr. H8 will blow up the earth.
  • In Antarctic Adventure, each stage is a race against a time limit. If the timer runs out, it's Game Over. However, there is no way for the penguin to die, making the timer the penguin's only real adversary.
  • There are some stages in The Battle Cats that have a huge swarm of Demonic Spiders hiding in the base that only come out if you don’t destroy the base fast enough with the time limit varying from stage to stage from 15 minutes down to even 45 seconds.
  • Bubble Trouble is a subversion. The rounds are timed, and you get a time bonus upon completing the level. You can still complete the level after time runs out, but the enemies will start moving faster, and you won't get the bonus.
  • Grand Piano Keys: You have 20 seconds to perform as much of the song as you can and earn the most tickets.
  • The PSP game Half-Minute Hero. Every single level must be completed in 30 seconds (unless you turn back the clock) or it's game over. The final level requires you to beat the game in 300 seconds (5 minutes) with no option to rewind time.
  • HQ gives the player 10 seconds to answer each question, both to keep the live game moving along and to prevent players from cheating by Googling the answer.
    • And then there's the bonus level 3-Second Hero.
  • The goal of This Is Why You're Fat (in 60 Seconds) is shooting as many turkeys as possible within 60 seconds.
  • Tutankham had a timer counting down on each level, as if the constantly spawning enemies and the inability to shoot vertically didn't make the game hard enough.
  • The WarioWare series of games consist almost entirely of this trope and Hold the Line. The key factor here is that each timed mission is only about four seconds long...and speeds up.

  • City of Heroes has its share of Timed Missions — however, to be fair, it usually places them in enclosed zones or interior spaces to limit how much running about the hero or heroes have to do. It gets aggravating, though, when completing a mission immediately triggers a timed mission without the player being warned (even more annoying when the timed follow-up mission involves defeating a foe that cannot be defeated without a large team). Fortunately, the Devs have been removing or modifying these in City of Heroes and such mission combos are almost non-existent in City of Villains. In any case, the timer is usually two or three times the length needed (provided you start straight away).
    • There is, however, one timed mission for high level characters that you are supposed to fail: you only have a few minutes to get to the mission, fight through the minions, and win the fight with the boss at the end. However, in certain power combinations, it actually is winnable: a Blaster with superspeed or flight and a cloaking device (or some other similar combination of speed and powers) can speed-stealth past the minions and, if they are lucky searching the base, get to the final room in time to fight the boss and his guards, barely. Winning or losing the mission doesn't matter to the story arc in either case.
    • The high level COV contact Efficiency Expert Pither gives out a notable set of timed missions. To earn a badge (Efficiency Expert) from him you must complete all his missions in less than 15 minutes each, featuring large, sprawling maps full of mobs. A Stalker with team teleport is a very useful asset. Perhaps the most annoying facet of the COH Timed missions is that most missions tell you that you must hurry to save a life or stop a demon summoning, but there's no hurry at all. Timed missions don't phrase the mission with any more or less urgency, but you can actually fail them.
  • Every single Mission in EVE Online is this. They even have 2 separate timers. First, after a certain amount of time, you just lose a bit of extra payment, which isn't that bad. Then, 1 week after accepting the mission, it expires and you can get a new one.
    • Expeditions also qualify, in that you only get 24 hours to get to the Deadspace site where the Expedition takes place.
  • Final Fantasy XI has quite a few timed missions, but the worst example is in the expansion Wing of The Goddess, where a category of quests have you try and list crafting recipes under a time limit. At first it's just stressful, but harder versions of the quest have the amount of time being extremely short, where you can still fail the quest... even if you know the recipes.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, every instance (including dungeons, trials, and raids) has a time limit. These time limits are very generous, however: usually ninety minutes, giving players leeway to complete objectives. For many boss fights, there is also a soft time limit in which players have to defeat the boss (and in many cases, prevent a boss from charging certain attacks or defeating a boss's underlings): going over this time limit typically results in a Total Party Kill, forcing players to start the fight over from the beginning.
  • Guild Wars makes liberal use of this trope, though it (mostly) limits the timed aspect to bonuses: if all you want to do is get through the mission, you are free to take as long as you require; if you want all the rewards, however, you must complete it in under X minutes. "X" naturally ranges from extremely generous to Nintendo Hard.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has several timed missions, and one subversion. You are given 30 minutes to kill boars in the area, but there are no boars there. The task seems impossible until you consider the Exact Words of the quest, and then you realise all you have to do to win is let the timer run out.
  • Mabinogi has quite a few... They are usually quite generous with the clock, though.
  • Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds:
    • Many of the boss fights are timed and will count as an automatic loss if the time runs out, regardless of how much damage you had done or how much health you had left.
    • Familiar Arena battles have a one minute and thirty second time limit, applied against whichever player initiates the battle. If the timer runs out, it's an automatic loss for them, even if they were ahead. Since Familiar Adventure battles operate on the exact same system, the same thing applies. This most commonly comes up in battles where both players are using one or more healing familiars.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • While timed quests are rare, they do exist. Some of them are Escort Missions, no less. However, most of the timers are rather generous, especially since teleportation is usually fair game. Mind you, even the most generously-timed quests can be all but impossible to finish if they require you to go deep into a capital city and your computer isn't exactly new or your connection is bad. Putting timed quests in Orgrimmar is just cruel.
    • There is also something called the Boss Enrage Timer. Essentially, in most raid boss battles, you have an invisible (though visible through the use of add-ons) timer in which the boss must be defeated in before it becomes Enraged. At this point in time, the damage of said boss will be multiplied immensely, usually resulting in a one-hit kill to anyone still alive. Typically, the timers are generous enough to where they're not an issue, and only exist to make sure a fight does not go on forever or won by a small number of players that just happen to continue to live through various means. However, the Trope is also played straight, as sometimes they're purposefully short, resulting in the players needing to cause as much damage as possible in the short amount of time (referred to as a DPS race encounter). Unlike most Timed Missions, the boss is still killable after the timer ends and he becomes Enraged, it's just very unlikely. If it enrages at an extremely low amount of health, however, the players may be able to finish it off before everyone is finally killed off.
      • Some bosses make the timer an Exact Time to Failure; if you fail to make the timer, the boss kills you outright.
      • Other bosses use a "soft enrage timer"; instead of a single timer which jacks up the boss in a huge leap, the soft enrage is a repeating short timer which increases the boss's power a little bit each time, until the boss grows too powerful for the group to handle. This shifts the urgency from the DPS to the Tanks and Healers, as a hard timer requires the DPS to burn the boss before the enrage, but with a soft enrage, the time the DPS has to kill the boss is dependent on how good the Tanks can soak the damage, and how good the Healers can recover it.
    • A few dungeons have timers, but not of the game-over variety. It's just that there are hostages held by the last boss, and getting there in time to come to the rescue gives you a bonus. Heroic scenarios always have one for a bonus objective.
    • Some of the Darkmoon Faire games use a different kind of timer: You can play for a set amount of time for each token, but you don't lose any points if you run out of time.

  • A common mode in many solid-state Pinball games is the "hurry up"; this typically features a bonus that rapidly counts down, and the player must make a specific shot to collect the value shown.
  • In general, almost every single pinball since the 90s incorporates the use of timed "modes", where the player must complete a small objective within a time limit for a large number of points and/or progression toward a larger goal.
  • Avengers: Infinity Quest has a "master timer" for every timed mode, which the Time Gem can increase.
  • In Data East's Back to the Future, the DeLorean Million round gives players 12 seconds where every ramp shot earns 1 million points.
  • Likewise the 1985 Bally Midway pin Beat the Clock is based around this concept. Time can be added by hitting targets, and the timer can be stopped by hitting the red S-T-O-P standups near the top of the playfield (though it will be restarted if one of two rollovers is triggered).
  • Used extensively in Crystal Caliburn, most notably in the Quest for the Holy Grail: the player must send one Knight to Glass Island, get the Grail, then return it to Camelot Castle before time runs out.
  • Also done in Capcom Pinball's Flipper Football, which gives each player 180 seconds to score as many goals as they can against the opposing team.
  • Many of the House challenges and Wizard Modes in Game of Thrones must be completed within a time limit.
  • The Gilligan's Island pinball gives the player 50 seconds to deliver the Lava Seltzer and stop Kona the Volcano God from erupting. Doing so rewards a lopsided 50 million points, and another 50 million for each subsequent shot made before time runs out.
  • Various events and Battle Pyramid Rounds in Gottlieb's Gladiators have a short timer to complete them.
  • In addition to game modes with time limits, Indianapolis 500 has Pit Stop Multiball, where the first ball is locked, then the player must shoot the second one into the lock to exit the Pit. Faster exit times enables more shots for the Multiball Jackpot, and the game keeps track of who exits the pit the quickest.
  • Before Safe Cracker, there was Gottlieb's James Bond 007, which gave the player 50 seconds to play. Players had to make key shots to add more time; unfortunately, novices were frustrated by the mechanic, and pros could easily milk the game for ridiculously long sessions.
  • In the Wizard Mode of Loony Labyrinth, the player must rescue nine Human Sacrifices, then shoot three balls into the Minotaur's Chamber to slay him before the moon wanes. Failing to do so requires the player to rescue the victims once again.
  • Most modes in The Lost World: Jurassic Park are this, and when the clock dips below ten seconds a shot adding more time is lit.
    • The same description applies to Monopoly.
  • NBA Fastbreak:
    • The player is given 20 seconds and unlimited balls to finish the Wizard Mode upon activating it.
    • The optional Competitive Multiplayer modenote  structures a game into 30-second quarters. At the end of each quarter, the ball automatically drains; at half-time, a bonus round allows the players to use the backglass flipper to score extra points for a brief period.
  • Operation: Thunder is notorious for this; later missions must be completed before the player runs out of fuel, which causes the flippers to go dead and the current ball to drain.
  • Plants vs. Zombies Pinball does this with the various Challenge Levels, requiring you to destroy a number of zombies in a limited amount of time.
  • Pokémon Pinball: Catch 'em All and Evolution modes have two-minute timers, bonus rounds have one minute, and Map Change has 30 seconds.
  • Pro Pinball: Timeshock! uses this for several of the Explorations as well as the sub-Wizard Mode, "Timeshock Frenzy".
  • Safe Cracker is made on this concept; instead of a finite amount of balls, the game has a finite amount of time instead, and running out of time started "Sudden Death". In Sudden Death, you could lose the ball — and thus, the game as a whole.
  • The non-villain modes in Spider-Man (Stern) require hitting a set of shots in 40 seconds or less.
  • In Sega Pinball's Starship Troopers, the player has a limited amount of time to capture the Brain Bug after clearing out a planet.
  • If set to "Hard" mode, Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World gives a player 30 seconds to clear each world. Failing to do so will cause the flippers to stop working and drain the ball.
  • All of the high-scoring shots in Taxi work on this principle.
  • In Gottlieb's Victory, each checkpoint starts with a countdown bonus of 100,000 points times the checkpoint number, which is collected when the player shoots it. The timer starts at 800,000 points after the first race, and some sequences allow players to collect nearly the full amount with good aim.
  • All the TV Modes in World Cup Soccer.

    Platform Game 
  • Atlantis no Nazo had a time limit on every level. In some levels, the time limit only allowed seconds to spare with perfect play. Getting the clock powerup would slow the timer down.
  • Each stage in Athena has a time limit, which can be extended by picking up hourglasses.
  • Atmosfear: You only have 60 minutes (actually fewer as time goes faster than shown) to complete a stage, otherwise you get kicked out.
  • In the first Blinx, all missions have a ten minute time limit; if time runs out, you get an instant game over.
  • The original Bomb Jack averted this, but Mighty Bomb Jack had a timer counting down slowly from 60 on each level. A powerup can increase the timer, but trying to push it past 99 would deliver the greedy player to a torture chamber.
  • Most of the earlier Castlevania games had level timers. The more exploration-oriented Vampire Killer and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest were exceptions to this rule (though for the latter, time plays a different role; see the Action Adventure section).
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2, only one of these stages is a Timed Mission, in which Chip and Dale are trapped in what appears to be a "giant refrigerator". The player has 3 minutes to get all the way through this stage and reach the exit before they are frozen solid.
  • In de Blob, you have a time limit on each level. It is explained that the time limit is in place because if you don't get the mission done soon enough, the enemy will learn about your presence there and mobilize. This makes sense... until the last level, where you fight the leader of the Inkies. OF COURSE they know you're there! The time limit is nonsensical!
  • Inverted in Default Dan, where the timer starts at zero and counts up.
  • The video game adaptation of Dennis the Menace gives you 999 seconds to complete a level. Fail and you lose all your lives. The catch is that the timer doesn't reset if you lose a life, so you'll have to start the level from the beginning while the timer is still ticking.
  • Donkey Kong Country
    • A variation from the original Donkey Kong Country. "Tanked Up Trouble", a late-game Underground Level, requires you to consistently jump into fuel cans to keep a Temporary Platform riding on a path that winds throughout the stage. If for whatever reason you're on some scaffolding by the time your platform drops off the track, your character will act as if you've just lost a bonus stage and you'll get booted back to the world map, minus one life. You can turn this moderately frustrating situation into something amusing as well as justifying the lost life by playing as Diddy and positioning him next to the edge of the platform: as his "bonus game lost" animation consists of him throwing his cap to the ground and stomping on it, he ends up throwing it down the Bottomless Pit below and jumping after it.
    • The second half of Screech's Sprint in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, which kills you instantly if you don't make it to the end before Screech.
    • Hideout Helm in Donkey Kong 64 is a Timed Mission. It's also a case where the amount of time you have is affected by how many blueprints you've collected throughout the game. The formula is a 10-minute base, and another minute for each blueprint piece you collected. 40 blueprint pieces means you can have up to 50 minutes. Justified in-universe as the guy you bring them to needs more info to better sabotage the giant laser cannon. Tt's also a case of Time Keeps On Ticking, because the clock does run while you read the description of the game.
    • In Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, all bonus rooms are timed: They must be cleared before the timer elapsed to get the room's collectible puzzle piece.
  • Ginger Beyond The Crystal: Some levels contain segments where Ginger has to complete a certain task within a time limit, such as in "Pet Sematary Hill", where Ginger has to move four frog statues back into their proper place.
  • A Hat in Time: Chapter 2-4, Train Rush, takes place on the Conductor's train, where the Conductor has rigged a bomb to explode in two minutes to create an interesting movie. Hat Kid has to make it to the front of the train before the bomb explodes, picking up time pickups and dodging obstacles along the way.
    • Reprised in Chapter 2's finale, where the boss straps the Conductor's bomb to Hat Kid and one has 80 seconds to defeat that phase of the boss so the loser can defuse the bomb.
    • The Death Wish mode introduces "Rift Collapse" levels, which consist of the previous Time Rift levels, now with time limits and the Rift Pons placed in different locations. What particularly makes this jarring and much harder than the base game is that you're encouraged to scavenge these locations for the scrapbook parts and just have fun in these odd otherwordly locations... and then suddenly you find yourself with a three-minute timer to just barely scrape through the mission, forcing you to replay these previously peaceful missions with a sarcastic timer and a lives counter.
  • Iji in the Ultimortal difficulty mode. The timer stops for boss fights, but not for the "sub-boss" fight against Assassin Asha in sector X.
  • In Impossible Mission, you have only eight hours to complete the game. Despite the main character respawning upon death, each death penalizes you by a few minutes. You loiter, you lose.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Oddly enough, the NES version had level timers and the Arcade Game didn't.
  • Some missions in the platformer I-Ninja also qualify. One notorious example is having to outrun a fuse before it reaches the goal (and detonates it). Other missions are traditional timed missions.
  • Many in Jak and Daxter. Many of those are also Nintendo Hard.
  • The Jungle Book: all levels have a 6 minute time limit from the start (which can be expanded when you find hour glasses). Running out of time results in instant death, costing you a life.
  • "Revenge of Meta Knight" in Kirby Super Star is this.
  • Lep's World: Each of the levels has a time limit that you need to beat them within. You get more time in later levels.
  • The first half of Cyber Peacock's stage in Mega Man X4 is divided into three brief timed segments that will give you a B, A, or S rank based on how quick you complete them. Get a B and you're forced to redo the segment, get an A and you're allowed to pass, and get an S and you're rewarded with a Heart Container, Sub Tank, and the Helmet Upgrade respectively. When you reach Peacock he explains that he was hired to test your abilities, implying the timer was part of his tests.
  • Most of Mega Man X5 is a race against time to prevent the destruction of Earth by means of Colony Drop. The timer starts at 16 hours to impact, during which time you must collect parts to repair a Wave-Motion Gun in the hopes of shooting the colony down, or failing that, parts for a space shuttle for a last-ditch Suicide Mission. Beginning a stage consumes one hour. As time passes, the Maverick bosses get stronger, and Sigma Viruses appear more often. If you fail to destroy the colony in time, it will crash into the Earth, and while the game will continue from that point forward, you will be locked into the bad ending's route.
  • When the final boss of Mega Man X8 calls out the name of his special attack, "Paradise Lost", the players have less than 30 seconds to finish him off.
  • Mega Man Zero had timed Boss Battles, as well.
  • Every Metroid game (except Metroid II: Return of Samus and its remake Metroid: Samus Returns) uses this trope at least once, and the vast majority of them are triggered by a Load-Bearing Boss.
    • Super Metroid, which provides the page image, has two, which serve as Bookends to the game. One of them occurs after a fight with Ridley at the start of the game, and the other occurs at the end of the game after the fight with Mother Brain.
    • In Metroid Prime, a timed mission after the defeat of the first boss (Parasite Queen) is standard fare, but the expected timed mission after the final boss turns out to just be a Cutscene.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters has the record of most timed escape sequences, with a total of eight (once per Octolith retrieved) plus one during a debris leak in Vesper Defense Outpost.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes gives you 8 minutes to escape Dark Aether after defeating the Load-Bearing Boss, but 99% of this time is spent fighting the Final Boss.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has four of these, with no actual clock onscreen; Take Your Time is averted in all instances.
      • The first one is a Free-Fall Fight with Meta Ridley, to which you have around 3 minutes (18000 meters, 100 meters per second) to kill him or die by slamming into the planet's mantle.
      • The second timer comes after the Ridley fight where you have 4 minutes to activate the defense cannon or the Leviathan strikes the planet. The timer here isn't displayed, but is announced on the loudspeakers on every minute.
      • The next timer comes after assembling the Theronian bomb needed to destroy a shield below the clouds of the planet, where Samus has 5 minutes to fix the release mechanism for the escape pod or die riding the bomb on impact.
      • The final timed mission is the entire finale on Phaaze. Samus has to vent all of her Energy Tanks to avoid being totally corrupted on the planet, so she has a limited amount of time to find and beat the Final Boss before the phazon corrupts her. How much time she gets depends on how many Energy Tanks the player has collected up to this point, with damage taking time off the clock and Anti-Phazon pickups putting it back on.
    • Metroid Fusion has three total:
      • The first when the X-Parasites decide to take Samus out with them by disabling the reactor's coolant system to trigger the auto-destruct explosives and annihilate the station. You get 6 minutes to fix the coolant system.
      • The second one, though brief, happens in the restricted area when the metroids escape their captivity. You get 60 seconds to flee before it detaches into space, which is tricker than it sounds.
      • In the finale, you get 3 minutes to flee the station, take out an Omega Metroid, and board your ship.
    • Metroid Dread has the traditional post-FinalBoss escape sequence with three minutes to run back through the game's last area with your 11th-Hour Superpower Metroid Suit and Hyper Beam to make it back to your ship.
  • In Miner 2049er, every station has to be completed within a time limit. If the "Miner Timer" runs out, Bounty Bob dies instantly. The Excuse Plot barely manages to Hand Wave this by referring to the presence of radiation in the mine.
  • N: Your ninja can only live for a certain amount of time. For him to survive longer, he must find gold, which inexplicably extends his survival time.
  • New Super Marisa Land's time limits seem reasonable, at first... until you notice that the "seconds" tick down twice as fast as they really should. Thus, a stage that gives you a time of 150, is actually giving you under a minute and a half to complete it. Have fun!
  • Occurs in The Nightmare Before Christmas video game Prequel The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King when Jack has to deliver an exploding mushroom from the Small Witch to the Tall Witch in 600 seconds, which is especially made aggravating because he has to get past the Noise Gnats without getting seen and has to defeat a boss right before he makes it to the Tall Witch.
  • Nosferatu Lilinor: The levels must be completed within 120 seconds.
  • Every level in Pause Ahead is a timed mission, with power-ups to increase the time limit. However, the unique ability to keep moving at your current velocity while pausing the game quickly renders the time limit fairly harmless once you get good enough, to which the game responds by eventually giving you levels with one-second time limits.
  • The entire Prince of Persia is a timed mission, giving you one hour to get to the top of the castle before the princess dies of poison (This is increased to two hours in the SNES version, since it has more levels). You have an infinite number of lives, but get sent back to the beginning of the level when you die. An indicator at the bottom of the screen shows the time remaining at regular intervals, and at every death. Interestingly, the clock stops when you defeat the final boss, even though you still have to walk a bit from there to Save the Princess. The same happens when you are dead (although staying AFK for too long will cause the game to restart from the title screen — indicated by the blinking "PRESS A BUTTON TO CONTINUE" prompt). In a unique twist, you can keep going even after the timer hits 0:00, but when you beat the final boss you enter a room with the princess's corpse in it since you didn't make it in time.
    • Likewise, the sequel Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, though the game timer doesn't start until after the first several levels.
  • Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? has an eight minute time limit on each level, and a three minute limit on boss fights. Fortunately, the timer resets every time you lose a life. Which is often.
  • The Compton's Cookoff level of Psychonauts 2 requires Razputin to prepare three dishes of increasing complexity, each under an increasingly tight time limit. What happens if you don't make it in time? Nothing. Not only is there no penalty, all the Mystery Box prizes are automatically unlocked upon revisiting the level. The time limit's real purpose is just to cause needless anxiety, since you're in the head of someone with a severe anxiety disorder.
  • With few exceptions, each stage in Purple has a time limit, running out of which kills you.
  • In The Quest Of Ki, each level has to be completed within a time limit, which depending on the level can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 180 seconds (with one exception). Like The Tower of Druaga, powerups can give you more time or make the timer run out more quickly.
  • Every level was timed in The Smurfs for SNES and Genesis, but it was only a real threat in a single level: The thorny vines outside Gargamel's manor house.
  • In Solomon's Key, each level must be completed on a time limit labeled "Bonus" or "Life" in the NES version. The hourglass powerups here reset the timer to a certain value, which may actually mean less time to finish the level.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic Mania enforce a ten-minute time limit on all of the stages.
    • SegaSonic the Hedgehog has a twenty-second timer in the last level when Eggman initiates his base's Self-Destruct Mechanism. Failing to escape in time results in an automatic game over.
    • Sonic Adventure:
      • Tails' stages have him racing against Sonic and, in the last level, Eggman. He has a limited amount of time to get to the goal before they do, though Sonic's AI may get him stuck. The "timer" is a meter at the bottom of the screen that shows the progress of Sonic/Eggman. The A-Rank version of his stages make Sonic and Eggman go faster.
      • All of Gamma's levels and his Final Boss have a 3 minute timer. The timer can be increased by destroying enemies, with the amount granted being larger if more enemies are destroyed at once. The A-Rank versions of his stages shorten the timer.
      • The A-Rank versions of the Sonic, Knuckles, and Amy stages add a timer on top of the normal objective. The exact time given varies between stages and characters, with Knuckles getting the shortest amount of time (1-2 minutes).
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • One section near the end of Metal Harbor has Sonic come to a gigantic missile set to launch in fifteen seconds. If Sonic does not grab onto one of the two handles on the missile within the time limit, the missile will fly away, leaving him behind and costing him a life.
      • The levels White Jungle, Green Forest, and Security Hall are all timed, though this is Justified since the island the levels take place on has been planted with time bombs.
      • Tails and Rouge's respective driving stages, Route 101 and Route 280 each start off with a 60-second time limit. Passing the checkpoints adds more time to the limit.
      • The Final Boss battles against Shadow in the Hero Story and Sonic in the Dark Story have a hidden 10-minute timer due to it taking place just before the Eclipse Cannon is fired. If you fail to win before time's up, the battlefield will start collapsing and you'll fall into the void of space.
      • The True Final Boss of the Final Story requires you to beat it in 5 minutes, as you're trying to stop it from crashing the ARK into Earth.
      • The optional 4th Act of most stages adds a timer on top of the normal objective, similar to the A-Rank stages from Sonic Adventure. If the level already has a timer, it'll be shortened when doing the 4th Act.
    • Sonic Heroes:
      • The 2nd mission of every Team Sonic level and certain Team Chaotix levels are this. (This can, and does, reach Nintendo Hard levels. Rail Canyon comes to mind.)
    • Shadow the Hedgehog:
      • Three of the stages — Central City, Cosmic Fall, and The Last Way — have time limits (8 minutes, 15 minutes, and 10 minutes, respectively). All 3 are justified (lots of bombs primed to go off, the ARK falling apart, and Black Doom's nerve gas spreading across the Earth, respectively).
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):
      • Sonic and Shadow both have to get through Radical Train within a certain amount of time, lest Eggman's train crash into a wall of bombs or escape, respectively. Silver can take his time, since he's following Sonic, not Eggman.
      • Dawdle too much in End Of The World, and, well, the stage's name will happen. Basically, the stage is steadily filling up with time rifts, and when they grow too numerous, space-time collapses. However, you can make them go away temporarily by hitting certain switches.
  • SOS has a time limit of one hour in real time. Sustaining injuries reduces your remaining time by five minutes, and failure to complete the game within the time limit means going down with the ship.
  • As you return from dropping off a Krazoa Spirit in Star Fox Adventures, the sole female Thorntail in the game can be heard making noise. Turns out some evil creatures are stealing her eggs. Ensues a Hold the Line mission where you have to keep them from exiting with any of the eggs for 100 seconds. Inexplicably, when their time runs out, any creature with an egg drops it and flees.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The timer counts down in every single level of the original Super Mario Bros., and some of its sequels. When it reaches 100, it sounds the classic warning, and the music speeds up. When it reaches zero, Mario dies for no explained reason. Early Installment Weirdness makes the timer tick much faster in the original game and in The Lost Levels, compared to the later Mario games.
    • The timer is particularly present in "Funky", the last Brutal Bonus Level in Super Mario World. This very long stage gives only three minutes and 20 seconds (timer 200) to complete it. Fortunately, you could get power-ups to extend the timer, making it quite possible to finish the level with more time than you started with.
    • Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. 2 have another kind of timed mission, in the boss fights against Reznor (fortress boss): The floor progressively disappears, exposing a Lava Pit. Mario can escape the lava if he rides the Reznor wheel.
    • New Super Luigi U only gives you 100 seconds for every level.
    • To get some of the shines in Super Mario Sunshine, you have to push a red button and grab 8 red coins before a time limit expires. You inexplicably die if time runs out.
    • Super Mario Galaxy
      • The Speedy Comets give you 4 to 6 minutes to complete them.
      • Some of the purple coin missions are timed, and in those, time is very, very precious.
    • The Speed Run prankster comets re-appear in Super Mario Galaxy 2. On the one hand, the game does make it so that as soon as you complete the required objective (collect all the Purple Coins/Silver Stars, defeat a boss, etc.), the timer will stop (obviously doesn't apply if the star is out in the open and you just have to reach it in time). On the other hand, you get much less time on the clock, so speed does matter. In some of these runs, you get an absurdly short amount of time (like 20 seconds) and you have to extend the time by collecting stopwatches as you go.
    • Since both Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World are played in the style of the 2D games, a time limit is added to all levels. Some levels start with only 100 seconds, and are meant for fast-paced gameplay.
    • Taken to sadistic extremes in various ROM Hacks. With only scant amounts of time allotted for certain levels, players get forced into careless or hasty moves.
      • Super Mario TKO, a hack of SMW, has a level that is easy but for the timer. If Mario hits all those multi-coin blocks, he will not reach the goal in time. The level is too long, or the timer is too short.
      • Running Cave in Something Else. Luigi has to run to the end of the level, but the Charging' Chucks and the tiny time limit will make it difficult.
    • "What, does a bomb go off or something?" "No, you just-a die."
    • A possible explanation, as provided by Brawl in the Family.
  • The final boss in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is a timed mission. If you take too long to defeat him, the floor will cease to exist.
  • Levels in Suzy Cube generally give you 399 seconds to complete them.
  • 10 Second Run. As the title implies, you have to beat each level within 10 seconds.
  • Toy Story:
    • In the second level, "Red Alert", Woody has 150 seconds (two and a half minutes) to get the other toys back to their places before Andy returns to his bedroom.
    • In the eleventh level, "Really Inside the Claw Machine", Woody has 180 seconds (three minutes) to find all eight aliens hidden in the maze and return them to the Claw Machine.
  • Done in Wario Land 4 and Wario Land: Shake It! for every level. While usually you have to escape the level under a time limit once you reach the end (Stalked by the Bell), certain levels actually start the escape timer either as soon as or a short while after the level starts, forcing you to run through the entire level under the time limit. This is the case with the Golden Passage in Wario Land 4, Lowdown Depths from Shake It!, and Launchpad Labyrinth from the latter game. The latter also has Max Fastosity Dasherators located next to most of the Merfle capsules, that allow you to bumrush the level with ease, as they're the only way to uphold a continuous dash, unlike the other games in the series.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Antichamber, as soon as you start the game, a timer appears in the Hub Level labelled "Time Remaining", counting down from 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once it expires, no indication is given until you return to the lobby area, and you see a cartoon displayed above the timer with the caption saying "Live on your own watch, not on someone else's. [sic]". Letting the timer run out is, however, required for getting 100% Completion of the picture panels.
  • Cradle Series: Each level must be beaten within a few minutes. Any leftover time is converted into resources.
  • Any question with a bomb in The Impossible Quiz. If it explodes from running out of time, you will get an instant Game Over regardless of your lives. Not to mention that some questions have tight bomb timers and/or might disable the Fusestopper in the sequels.
  • Dark Mode in LIT (2009) is essentially this; any light source activated by the player will slowly dim over time, meaning they have to think and move quickly in order to progress to the next room.
  • One of the levels in Mickey's Ultimate Challenge is timed: the memory-matching challenge. Your goal is to match each character to the corresponding painting for the castle's torches burn out. The castle even gets darker the closer it gets to time expiring.
  • Minesweeper: Subverted. The clock starts counting upwards when upon clicking the first box. If it reaches 999, it stays at that number until the game ends. This gets lampshaded in a mock trailer for a Minesweeper movie:
    Guy 1: That clock is gonna keep ticking until it reaches 999!
    Guy 2: What happens then?
    Guy 1: Nothing. You just suck.
  • Revolution (1986): Each level has you on a timer. If you run out of time, you lose a life.
  • Roll Away: There is a 90-second hourglass which makes you fail the level when it reaches 0 and can be flipped for more time by hitting an hourglass in the level.
  • Tetris: The Grand Master 2: The entirety of this game's T.A. Death mode and TGM3's Sakura, Master, and Shirase modes are Timed Missions. Sakura mode requires you to complete a set of stages within each stage's time limit. T.A. Death, TGM3 Master, and Shirase have checkpoints that terminate your game early if you reach them too slowly.
  • A Virus Named TOM gives us the ever-depleting energy meter, serving as both health and a time limit.
  • The Witness: At least one door is timed and requires you to solve nearby puzzles in a specific fashion in order to get to it in time. There's also The Challenge, a sequence of randomized puzzles you have to complete before Grieg's "Anitra's Dance" and "Hall of the Mountain King" finish playing.
  • World of Goo: "Super Fuse Challenge Time" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a long string of flammable goo threaten to burn up your support from below before you can evacuate enough non-flammable goo out the exit pipe.

    Racing Game 
  • F-Zero GX has two timed missions in Story Mode; one in Chapter 1 where you must collect all the capsules on the track and cross the finish line, and one in Chapter 5 where you must escape the power plant with Jody before it explodes.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Timed missions occasionally happen in Real-Time Strategy games. It's rare that a RTS timed mission will fail completely if the timer runs out, though; the effect is more often along the lines of "destroy this secondary base before the timer runs out and it won't send the engineers to repair the bridge, which will make it easier to destroy the main base as it won't get reinforcements". If the timer runs out before you've killed the first base, you'll have to fight it, the other one, and the reinforcements all at the same time, and the game will get harder. Some players deliberately wait for the timer to run out before engaging the enemy because they love the challenge. See also Unstable Equilibrium.
  • Battlezone (1998) has a couple, and one subversion; in an early mission, you're tasked with constructing a base and attacking the CCA, but the level's timer is horribly restrictive, leaving you with barely enough time to build a functioning base. Then an MIA squad attacks the base, buying you time and removing the timer.
  • Close Combat 2 did this in a fairly realistic and fun way. As allied paratroopers land throughout the Netherlands, the defending Germans begin rigging several key bridges for demolition. The allied player must try to seize these bridges before the timer reaches zero and the explosives are successfully placed. However, the German player may choose to keep the bridge standing if he feels he can inflict greater damage this way (e.g. by using the bridge to lure the allied player into attacking recklessly). On the other hand, even when he chooses to destroy the bridge, there is a non-trivial chance that it will fail to explode, and likewise, even the successful capture by the allies doesn't seem to completely secure it. If it fails to explode, however, the timer will reset to a minute or so, after which the German player gets a second chance. Even when the bridge is blown, the game isn't over. In Son and Veghel, a Baily Bridge can be constructed, after a considerable delay; if the Arnhem Rail Bridge is lost, the Arnhem Bridge and ferry both remain (though neither presents an easy fight).
  • The Command & Conquer series does this on occasion.
    • One that's particularly notable in the original Red Alert is a mission for the Allies, where the player must get Engineers to a communications center within a time limit, before multiple nuclear missiles can hit civilian cities across Europe. What makes things easier is that the time limit is one hour, and it starts when you do things like take out the power or get too close to the center, rather than starting from the beginning of the mission. What the game fails to tell you in advance, which makes it more difficult, is that this segues into another timed mission that shares the previous one's countdown, meaning that if you completed the first half with only seconds to spare, you're screwed.
    • Tiberian Sun has a few others primarily in the Nod campaign, including one where the player assaults a GDI comms base under the cover of an ion storm, giving you an hour and a half to destroy their comms center, and another in which they have to take out an important GDI base and place three ICBM units in specific spots before time runs out to shoot down GDI's space station headquarters GDSS Philadelphia.
  • The whole campaign of Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet is a timed mission. You only have 180 in-game days to collect resources and send it to the evacuation ship construction before Earth is doomed, with the clock still running while you do missions (however, the weather only advances as you complete missions). The expansion packs The Moon Project and Lost Souls have no time limit.
  • Empires of the Undergrowth has two:
    • Mission 4.2, "A Bridge Too Far", where you control a fire ant colony stuck on a waterlogged mound of Earth. You have about five in-game days before the map floods completely, during which you must produce an enormous number of ants so that your queen can raft to safety.
    • The Fourth Formicarium Challenge has the player's ereptor colony racing against time to kill four bosses before the female scientist returns, with failure leading to her discovering that not only has her male counterpart continued to give the ants access to his Royal Jelly, but also used it to create arthropod hybrids that his ants fight for his amusement and personal research.
  • LostMagic. Defeat all the enemies on this screen in five minutes? Okay! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN THEY RESPAWN?
  • Pandemic is a timed game; you have a set number of days until humankind creates a vaccine to destroy you (The Virus). There is a chance that the vaccine will backfire though, making you immune to all future vaccines. This is also a rare example of where you can lengthen the timer — the more hospitals that are shut down, the longer it takes to make the vaccine. If all or almost all of them shut, or there's hardly anyone left alive, the timer is set to infinity.
  • Pikmin:
    • Pikmin (2001): The entirety of the game is a timed mission. You have to get thirty spaceship parts before Olimar's life support runs out in thirty days. You can still get a good ending if you get the twenty-five mandatory parts before the thirtieth day, but the Golden Ending requires getting all thirty of them.
    • The series whole has a partial example with each day. During the night, the local creatures become vicious, giving the player and Pikmin until noon (about 13 minutes) to complete any objective the player has set on themselves before gathering and taking off to low orbit until the next day.
  • In Rakion: Chaos Force, there are a few timed missions where players must reach and kill the end boss before running out of time and fail the mission. The mission ranks are also determined by the time, the longer the timer runs, the lower the final score players can receive.
  • Republic at War:
    • The "Triad of Evil" conquest map gives Republic players only 60 galactic days to conquer Mygeeto, Felucia, and Saleucami. Failing to do so results in the Confederacy winning.
    • The "Core Assault" map gives the player only 45 galactic days to conquer Coruscant while playing as the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the Republic has to hold on to Coruscant for the same amount of time to win.
  • In the Rise of Nations campaign, most missions are timed. When defending, you have to survive for 90 minutes. Impatient players can end the game faster by going on the offensive and wiping them out.
  • Starcraft has at least one in the expansion campaign. Kerrigan has to recapture the Matriarch before the Protoss can teleport her away. Finishing with more than 5 minutes remaining out of the original 25-minute timer unlocks the secret mission.
  • Starcraft II has a lot of timed missions, though not always in an explicit "timer on screen" way. For instance, one mission has you assault trains that are sent through the area in regular intervals (depending on the difficulty). You are only allowed to miss a few trains, too (again depending on difficulty). Others are loosely timed by factors such as opponents trying to reach the same goal as you do, or certain conditions that make the mission harder to beat the more time passes (such as clearing out buildings infested by zerg that send out masses of infested terrans at night, or escorting a number of civilians as more and more zerg land on the planet). Legacy of the Void even has a mission with a variable timer; the clock starts at ten minutes, but tacks on additional time with every enemy encampment neutralized. Several achievements also impose time limits on missions that usually don't have one.
  • For some reason passing understanding the default setting in the Total War series is to have time limits on tactical battles. This can be particularly frustrating if one is attacking a settlement because wall-taking and street fighting are much slower than field battles, mostly because units refuse to break and run. Thankfully the time limits can be turned off.
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has one in the Night Elf campaign, in which you have to kill 4 summoners (all thankfully in the same place) before they finish casting a spell. In another mission, the player has to help Maiev escape the Tomb of Sargeras before it collapses.
  • In the fourth "Disorder" mission of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault, you have to destroy a convoy before it reaches a gate. Then, you have to stop the Eldar from teleporting there (or get a unit past the gate before they can), or you still lose.
  • In the now freeware game Warzone 2100, nearly all the missions are Timed Missions. Even worse are the transport missions, where you need to wait for your transport to bring your units into the field, 10 units per trip, and each trip takes a fixed amount of time (as much as 7 minutes per trip). One of the reasons it's present is to prevent the player from collecting infinite resources (as the oil derricks provide a fixed amount per second), but the game doesn't award extra resources for completing missions early.
  • World in Conflict has many, many time-based objectives. Some of them are secondary, some don't even have a timer on screen, but several are mission-critical. One mission is timed entirely, another one is over when the timed objective is achieved. Given that you have no unit-producing base to destroy and that you're able to deploy lost units after a short time without end, either a Timed Mission or an Escort Mission (possibly a Hold the Line variant where you must protect a stationary objective or prevent the enemy from reaching a given point) is neccesary for there to be any chance of failure at all. Multiplayer matches also always have a time limit. If it runs out before any side achieves a clear victory, the team closer to it wins.

    Rhythm Game 
  • CROSS×BEATS has Unlock Challenges. When you initiate one for a given chart, a timer begins and you must fill a meter to unlock the chart for regular play before time runs out. To fill the meter, you choose a specific objective (like "get x points", "get y rank", or "get a Full Combo") and then make an attempt to fulfill it on the chart you're attempting to unlock. Doing so gives you meter progress while failing gets you none; harder objectives award more points. Complicating things is that the game runs on a stamina system where your stamina slowly restores over time and you need stamina to play songs, meaning that if you really want to fill the unlock meter in time you better get good at the harder objectives and/or pay real-world money to invest in "premium" stamina. However, if you have people on your friends list, they can participate in the challenge to help you unlock it.
  • In addition to being luck-based, the "Guitar Battles" in Guitar Hero III are also timed. At the end of the song, you lose by default. At least at one point, it was possible to win the first two one-player guitar battles on points at the end of the songs, on the easiest difficulty setting — just very unlikely due to the asymmetry of the parts.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • A glitch variant in the second Ar tonelico game, non-Japan release only: Due to a bug in the code, on the sixth attack (not turn) of the penultimate boss Raki, the game freezes, because the buffer can't handle the attack. Combines with Luck-Based Mission in that who gets first strike is random, and depending on how your spells go, you might not have a good enough spell, even boosted with Replekia, to cut 80% of the enemy's life.
  • The Steamwood missions from Brave Fencer Musashi. You have 24 in-game hours to stop a massive reactor from exploding, which translates to roughly 20 minutes. To do it, you have to turn cranks with very specific timing as a meter increases. Not only does the timer not stop during these segments, but if you go sixty seconds between completing cranks, all of them reset. You're also forced to use a dodgy elevator that takes forever to reach the floors you need, dodge steam bursts, and if you fall to the bottom, it can sometimes take a full five minutes to get back to where you were thanks to the elevator. The second time you do it, you have a Double Jump which makes it slightly easier, but you also have to run and find the cranks which are no longer in their respective spots this time. Later on, you get 12 hours of in-game time (about 10 minutes) to climb Twinpeak Mountain to find mineral water that will prevent a kid from becoming a Vambee, but it's much more merciful than the Steamwood segments.
  • Dragon Quest VII has an unusual variation during Engow's Festival of Flame. The festival involves throwing torches into a volcano in honor of their God of Flame; however, if the ceremony is completed this time, it'll set off an eruption. Unable to prevent the festival from moving forward, the heroes must nagivate through the volcano's maze-like innards and make their way to the core; as you move between areas, the procession slowly advances... Get hopelessly lost and spend too much time wandering around, and the ceremony will finish, with unpleasant consequences.
  • Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia had a 30-minute time limit for the entire game. This was removed in the significantly expanded NES version.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Daggerfall:
      • All of the guild/noble/merchant missions are timed in days of travel. Some of the main quest missions are also timed, but, even then, the time limit is very liberal for average gameplay. And traveling "Recklessly" can help. As a whole, Daggerfall plays close attention to its own internal calendar.
      • The most annoying timed mission in the game occurs after you assist a maid from Castle Daggerfall and she sends you to a location in another city to meet a contact. The contact will only be there for one specified day! As if it wasn't bad enough, the date the maid gives is wrong and the one in your personal journal should be trusted instead.
    • Morrowind has one in the Bloodmoon expansion in the East Empire Company quest "Race Against the Clock." In it, you'll need to report one of your superiors within a strict time limit. That superior wants you to fail, and even sets a trap which devastates your Agility, Speed, and carrying capacity to slow you down. He may appear in one of three random locations as well, so even setting a Mark spell ahead of time may not help.
    • Oblivion:
      • A quest near the end of the main questline requires you to shut down the final Oblivion gate before a Doomsday machine of sorts gets through. Humorously, no matter how far back the machine is when you close the gate, it's always just about to get through when you get back out.
      • There's also the sidequest "A Brotherhood Betrayed", where you have three days to track down and defeat a murderer disguised as a vampire hunter, or he'll escape Cyrodill to Morrowind.
  • The first Fable game has a single timed mission: Save the Archeologist. It involves making your way down a winding seaside path to stop a purportedly important NPC from being boarded onto a ship of doom, or something. You're given less than five minutes, and, along the way, you have to fight several dozen minions (i.e. the toughest melee enemies in the game)... basically, if you haven't thought to pick up Slow Time and a good Area of Effect spell, you're just not going to beat the clock. Thank Avo that you don't need to keep your guard escort alive as one of the victory conditions.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout, you have 150 days to find the replacement water chip. You can extend the time limit by 100 days by buying water from a caravan. After you complete the task, you have 500 days to stop the mutant invasion... but if you bought water, the limit is 400 days, because the caravan left tracks the mutants follow. (Because this latter limit cripples world exploration, it was removed in a patch.)
    • Fallout 2 technically has a time limit... of about 13 years, after which a nuke is dropped on the wasteland, ending the game. This is more of a result of engine limitations, since the game couldn't run for longer than 13 in-game years without crashing, so Black Isle had to put in a hidden arbitrary time limit to prevent this.
    • Fallout 3:
      • "The Pitt" downloadable content has an interesting take on this: when you go to fight in the arena, the area has several barrels of radioactive waste. Consequently, the "timer" is the radiation meter that counts up to a lethal dose, and players can mess with the timer by taking Rad-X or RadAway medicine.
      • In "Take it Back!", you have a short time to activate Project Purity before it explodes, which ends the game regardless of whether Broken Steel is installed.
    • Fallout: New Vegas is full of Continue Your Mission, Dammit!, but one mission is timed by the scripted sequence; protecting the NCR president from assassination. Once figured out, it's trivially easy.
      • A second mission in the main game, involving rooting out an NCR traitor, has a very punishing timer. After overhearing a message between the traitor and Caesar's Legion about a bomb on the Vegas monorail, doing anything except running to the monorail as quickly as possible results in detonation. This includes confronting the traitor, reporting the traitor, or looting a container. The timer doesn't stop even when you're explaining yourself to the guard you need to talk past to get to your destination.
      • Dead Money has a timed escape at the end, with the detonation timer on the Courier's bomb collar being triggered after they kill Elijah or seal him in the vault.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy V, the party is given a ten-minute time limit to escape from Karnak Castle before it explodes. While it's easy to go straight to the exit in a minute or two, the real challenge is in picking up all the items that will be unobtainable if they're not acquired in time (duplicates of most of them can be acquired much later on, though).
    • FFV used the mechanic two more times, once when the summon beast Odin gives you sixty seconds to defeat him before he hands you a game over, and once when you have the option to dive into a sunken tower to retrieve the crystal piece for the bonus class Mimic. This latter one is especially tricky because to get the crystal, you must face a Puzzle Boss, taking up more of your time. And even more sadistic is the fact the solution to said fight is to wait three minutes until the boss submits.
    • Odin also pulls the timed battle again in Final Fantasy VIII, where the clock starts as soon as you enter the area on the map he resides in. What makes this worse is you will hit Random Encounters on the way to Odin, which will waste time if you try to fight or flee. Luckily, you can gain the ability to turn off random fights to save time.
    • Final Fantasy VI
      • Ultros the octopus wishes to interrupt an opera scene by dropping a weight on one of the main characters on stage, explicitly stating "This is heavier than I thought! It'll take me five minutes to drop it!", and you have exactly five minutes to stop him.
      • The first battle with Ultros is on an invisible timer. You can slow it down by hitting him with Fire spells ("YEOWCH! SEAFOOD SOUP!"), but if too long passes, he declares that you frighten him — and then hits Bannon with a lethal-damage tentacle. You cannot go on without him.
      • The End of the World as We Know It is causing the Floating Continent to break apart. As Shadow buys you time by stalling Kefka, you have only a few minutes to escape and get on board the airship. However, unless you know in advance, you probably don't know that you should wait until the last possible second before boarding the ship.
      • Later in the game, Sabin is holding up the roof of a collapsing house (and this is a Big Fancy House we're talking about), and you've got four minutes to rescue the kid inside before his strength runs out and he drops it. Just to distract you even further, there are a bunch of Chest Monsters in the house that drop some really good treasure, and the house is full of Demonic Spiders as random encounters, so you'll end up using almost all of what little time you have.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • The game has the first Mako Reactor mission, where the time limit is more than generous (if it started during the boss battle, it would be a different story, but it's easy to reach the objective with more than seven minutes remaining). Much, much later in the game, the timer shows up again when you have to figure out a puzzle lock before an automatic shutdown permanently seals it shut, and when you have to reach the front of a train (with a boss battle on each of the three cars, even) before it crashes into a settlement and deprives you of the MacGuffin and forces you to buy another unique piece of materia to get it instead of it being given to you for free.
      • The battle against the Emerald Weapon which takes place on the sea floor and has a 20 minute time limit before you drown. Even though Emerald Weapon is a massive damage sponge, one of the fighting parties will almost certainly be dead before it gets to even half that due to the large amounts of damage being thrown around. If the timer really bothers you, you can find the Underwater Materia that makes it go away.
    • Final Fantasy VIII has those in almost every mission. However, time is an important factor to determine your SEED rank, which in turn determines your income. Some Timed Missions reward you for being swift (like the Dollet field test — don't dawdle when ordered to withdraw), others for accurately gauging your strength and completing the mission with only a short time on the clock (the Ifrit training mission; you get to pick the time limit, and you get a better score the closer to 0 you get before you win). And while failing these missions results in either a Game Over outright, some are lenient enough to give you a chance to try again.
    • Final Fantasy IX
      • The game has a timed puzzle while playing as Cid. Step One: sneak past an enemy, moving only when its back is turned. If it sees you, you have to start again, but the clock keeps on ticking. Step Two: work out a weights-and-balance puzzle to reach your goal and stop the clock.
      • When Garnet is about to have her Eidolons extracted in Alexandria Castle, you need to get to her in under 30 minutes. It's normally more than enough, but it can become very tricky if you decide to fight the permanently missable Bonus Boss Tantarian while the clock is ticking.
    • Final Fantasy XII's optional Esper boss, Zalera, posits a unique scenario. You have to defeat him within five minutes, otherwise he will eject you from the battlefield and back to the last room. While this is annoying because he's invincible as long as he has Mooks around, it can also be helpful because the party is sent back to a Save Crystal, which restore all characters to perfect condition when touched. So, unless the battle ends in a total party wipe, the time limit isn't really much of a penalty.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: the entire game is a timed mission. The world will end in 13 days (or less if you mess up the side quests) and you have to do as much as you can in the time remaining. To keep you focused, there is a clock in the corner of the screen, ticking away at about one in-game minute for every two or three real-world seconds.
  • Some story quests in Granblue Fantasy require you to finish the battle under a specific number or turns. Going past it means an instant quest failure.
  • Hero Must Die gives the hero five days before they die.
  • The fights with Demyx in Kingdom Hearts II tend to be easy, right until the moment a time limit to defeat a certain number of his minions is arbitrarily invoked. Especially annoying as only a particular special move seems effective regardless of how strong the player actually is.
  • Knights in the Nightmare has its battlefields limited by number of turns, and every turn on a one-minute timer. Interestingly, this resource only counts down while charging up an attack or if the Wisp is hit by an enemy bullet. Makes sense, as the Wisp is a spiritual entity trying to complete its objectives before it runs out of energy and ceases to exist.
  • In the Wild West chapter of Live A Live, you're tasked with collecting items in the town to use as traps and delegating the townsfolk to setting them up so that you can thin out the boss' number of minions, and you have until the eigth bell to do all of this before he arrives.
  • Lost Odyssey has two timed missions: one in which the party has twelve minutes (complete with timer) to escape a collapsing ocean platform, and one without a visible timer in which the party must defeat four giant monsters before any of them can reach the coastline and start ravaging the countryside.
  • In The Magic Candle, the whole game is a Timed Mission. The all-powerful demon Dreax is going to escape his magical prison in 1000 days (the number's lower on harder difficulties). That's how long you have to fix the thing. Just one problem: between figuring out how it's done and getting the necessary supplies, you'll have to go everywhere in the world first.
  • Several of these can be seen in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The first is when the brothers meet Hoohooros on their way up the mountain.
    • A variation occurs near the end of the game, in the battles with the Koopa Kids. While you have all the time in the world to pick your moves, you must win within a certain number of turns. A bomb on-screen keeps track of how many are left.
    • Bowser's Inside Story has the fight with the Fawful Express — 100 kilomoles from the starting position is a bridge that can support the train's weight but not Bowser's, which leads to him plummeting into a ravine if you don't destroy the train before it can make it across. This timer is so strict, you might find yourself right at the bridge, and probably crossing your fingers on one hand hoping you don't mess up the next attack.
    • The duel between you and Peach's Castle turned battle mech. After a bit, the castle generates two black holes (behind both you and it) which will occasionally suck you and it inside and do damage to you if you're not careful. After taking it down the critical health, the black holes envelop you and the mech and position you right in front of one another. Being damaged constantly, you have to throw yourself at the castle multiple times to finish it off, but be careful when you attack; every 2 seconds, it will brandish spikes on its hands that will damage you even further if touched.
    • All of the boss rematches you can face in the Gauntlet require that you win within a certain number of turns or forfeit the money you spent to start the fight.
  • Subverted in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. In Atlantis, you have to get a certain item back to Namorita within 2 minutes, which would be impossible, to the point that even the heroes complain that that isn't nearly enough time. She simply opens a portal back to her location.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect has a few timed objectives. However, they are designed so that most players will succeed with time to spare if they are even halfway competent. The exception is the race to reach the Conduit at the end of Ilos. Without a timer, the player would probably attempt to engage the geth armatures defending the Conduit. The timer forces the player to simply floor it, usually reaching the Conduit with around 10 seconds to spare. And you can fail with 10 seconds left if you lag, because it seems to be 40 REAL TIME seconds. Also, the very first Timed Mission requires you to find and disarm four detonators whose locations aren't highlighted on your map — while fighting through catwalks full of geth with rocket launchers. It's easy-ish when you know where to look, not so much on your first playthrough.
    • Mass Effect 2 gives you another one in the form of Legion's loyalty quest. Regardless of whether you choose to blow up the geth ship or reprogram the heretics, you get three minutes to escape or else you die.
    • The Arrival DLC of the second game uses timers for dramatic effect in the second half of the mission. On entering Project Base, Shepard is informed that the scientists know to the minute when the Reapers will arrive because of signal being broadcast by the local Artifact of Doom. They've helpfully filled the base with large digital countdown clocks, and failing to activate the Project and destroy the Alpha Relay before they run out treats you to a cutscene of the Reapers destroying galactic civilisation. Fortunately, the timer's so generous the only way to fail is to deliberately stand around to see what happens. Of far more concern is a second timer at the end of the mission. After activating the Project and running to the landing pad you're treated to a dramatic view of the Alpha Relay in the sky above you: It's getting bigger. Rapidly. And yes, taking too long to dispatch the last wave of enemies will result in the base slamming into the relay with Shepard still on board.
    • Mass Effect 3 has a few more. A few side missions have to be completed within three missions of getting them or they're failed, and one mission has a hidden timer, though it's very difficult to run the clock out on that one.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has one or two. One on Eos requires the player to gun it across the map to a Remnant site, where a few well-meaning settlers have decided to poke the Killer Robots with a stick. Jaal's Loyalty Mission ends with the player having to defuse a set of bombs while fighting off the people who put them there.
  • Mistover has a Doomsday Clock that counts down how much time you have left before the Mist completely consumes the world and wipes out all life.
  • In Monster Hunter, all quests are on a time limit, usually 50 minutes. 50 minutes is typically more than enough for story quests and if you're hunting with others, but multiplayer quests with particularly durable or multiple monsters can take close to 50 minutes if you try to do them alone. Quests with "repel it" in the objective often have a shorter time limit of 30-35 minutes, but if you've dealt enough damage to the target or fulfilled some other condition (such as breaking off certain parts) when the time runs out, the monster will retreat and the quest will be counted as cleared. Finally, some quests, usually event quests, toy with the time limit; one quest in 4 Ultimate tasks you with slaying a Chameleos in under 15 minutes.
  • Owlcat Games:
    • Pathfinder: Kingmaker: Every chapter's main quest is on a (fairly generous) timer. In the first chapter the PC is on a three-month deadline to slay the Stag Lord and conquer the Stolen Lands, which is more than sufficient. In each chapter after that, you get several months' gap to explore the world and build up your barony before the next stage starts, but once it begins the barony will start getting attacked more and more severely, degrading its stats. If you fail to resolve the chapter quest within the limit, you get a Non Standard Game Over. Furthermore, many events and sidequests also have time limits.
    • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: Averted (the time limits in Kingmaker were a bit of a Scrappy Mechanic), with one exception: acheiving the secret ending is a major Guide Dang It! because it requires you to reach the end of the game during one particular in-universe week.
  • Pandora's Tower is an example of the whole game being a timed mission. While Aeron's in the Towers, a gauge will slowly tick down, showing the progress of Elena's cure: the darker a segment the gauge has emptied to, the more she's mutated. The time can be extended by leaving the Towers to feed Elena some Beast Flesh; the better the flesh, the more time you get back. All Towers after about the fourth are long and complex enough that this goes from an emergency option to a necessity, but fortunately puzzles stay solved and doors stay unlocked, allowing Aeron to make additive chunks of progress in between trips home.
  • In one part of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the villain places a bomb in The Great Tree, and you must find your way to the entrance hall before the timer reaches zero. Fortunately, there are places nearby where you can save the game.
  • In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Battle CDs give you a Pokémon team and task you with defeating the opponent's Pokémon team; many of them also require you win within a certain number of moves. A good portion of these require you to figure out a loophole to pull it off.
  • Pokémon Ranger:
    • Used twice in Shadows of Almia. First, you have a few minutes to board an enemy cargo ship before it departs. Strangely enough, it's stealth-reliant, and if you get caught, the enemies (unaware that you're here to stop them) escort you back to the beginning, before resetting their timer due to delays you just caused. The second instance is on board that same cargo ship, in the more urgent situation of trying to stop the ship from sinking. You have to get to the flooded lower portions and force a removed valve back in place, or Ship Sinks Everyone Drowns.
    • Guardian Signs. You have two minutes to get onto a submarine that doubles as the Pokemon Pinchers' Base. Later, you have ten minutes to climb to the top of the now flooding submarine and open the hatch to free everyone before Sub Floods Everyone Drowns.
  • Pokémon Black and White:
    • Black City / White Forest will be empty if you do not beat the Elite Four in 10 real-life days since the file was created. After that, you can only repopulate it by inviting NPCs from other copies of the same game.
    • The Poké Transfer Lab. To make things worse, you only get to take the Pokémon you catch in the minigame.
    • The Royal Unova and the Abyssal Ruins are Timed Missions that are present in both this game and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Fortunately, you can retry the first every day, and there's no limit to how many times you can retry the second.
  • Romancing SaGa was full of them, especially the Fatestone missions (you had to get them before a certain number of battles fought or you would be unable to get them).
  • Shin Megami Tensei
    • Persona 2: Innocent Sin has one in which you're given 30 minutes to beat the boss and escape from the Music Hall before a bomb explodes. This can be done easily in less than 10 minutes, making the Always Close moment that follows even more, well, stupid. If you choose to jump in right away and rescue Lisa rather than watching what happens, the timer will be lowered (in the PSP version, the timer will go down to 1 minute from 3) along with her not getting Eros Prime. There is also the same Air Museum being lit, this time by King Leo. You have 40 minutes to save the kids, get any treasures, and escape. The timers for these are changed in the PSP remake, going from 30 and 40 minutes to 3 and 10, but will not go down during battles instead.
    • There is one in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, when JOKER (a psychotic grinning maniac not to be confused with a more popular psychotic grinning maniac) lights the air and space museum on fire. You have a half-hour to find all the kids and evacuate them to the roof before the building burns down. However, it takes roughly 25 minutes to get to the top, followed by a pretty dangerous boss fight. At least it was justified! Also, strangely enough, the items aren't too far off the beaten path, you only lose about a minute to gather them up.
    • Persona 3:
      • At the end of the Full Moon Operation on May 9th, the SEES members must fight their way to the front of a monorail and defeat the boss there within eight minutes, or else the train will crash into another train, killing everyone aboard.
      • When playing as the female protagonist in the Portable rerelease, Shinjiro and Ryoji are on a strict one month deadline to complete their social links, emphasis on word "dead".
    • Persona 4:
      • Every rescue mission. You have roughly two or three weeks to rescue the victim. Failure to do so will result in their demise or the Shadows invading the real world when pursuing the killer late in the game. The ability to Take Your Time is quite limited here.
      • In Golden, in order to get the epilogue, the first step is that you must complete Marie's Social Link before the end of December. The exact time limit depends on when you complete Adachi's dungeon. Likewise, in order to get the worst ending, the first step is reaching a certain point in Adachi's Social Link before the middle of November.
    • Persona 5:
      • You have approximately two to three weeks to steal your quarry's heart. Failure to do so will result in some disastrous scenario that inevitably gets you arrested, your testimony to the prosecutor being incomplete, and afterwards, an ignominious end from a bullet to the head.
      • During Kawakami's Confidant, Kawakami needs to have her Mementos request unlocked before 11/21 because Joker fakes his own death and cannot go to school to trigger the appropriate event afterwards.
      • Yoshida's Confidant needs to be completed before election campaigns begin on 11/21. Unlike other such deadlines, the cutoff point is non-arbitrary and he sends you text messages a week in advance to warn you.
      • In the Royal Updated Re-release, Akechi's Confidant needs to be brought to Rank 8 and Maruki's needs to be brought to Rank 9 before 11/18, where Akechi betrays you and Maruki leaves Shujin. For Maruki, you're given even more warning than with Yoshida, as the player is informed of when he'll leave Shujin immediately before you get your first rank with him and given multiple warnings after as the deadline approaches.
    • Devil Survivor has a mission where you have to kill six demons within three turns; while failing to do so won't give you a Game Over, it'll still have a negative effect on which Multiple Endings you'll be able to go for. Also, some of the missions where you have to protect civilians can become this, as the AI has a nasty tendency to completely ignore you and pick on them instead. Get those Wilder-type demons ready...
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV has the final DLC battle against Masakado. You have ten turns to win. Otherwise, the ICBM obliterates Tokyo, destroying the timeline.
  • Space Rangers is an interesting example. While it does have the standard timed missions, both games sport a complex AI system that allows both the Coalition and the Klissans/Dominators to act independently from the player's actions. As such, while you're traversing the universe doing whatever, major battles are fought in the background. If the Coalition loses control of all sectors, you are automatically given an instant Non Standard Game Over, regardless of what you were doing beforehand.
  • Star Control II is a rather brutal example. The whole game has a time limit, from the very beginning. The Kohr-Ah will destroy Earth after about five in-game years from the date you start the game, which can be extended somewhat by performing certain actions. Worse yet, this time limit is only alluded to by one character, and the relevant dialog isn't even included in some versions. This game has a lot of sandbox elements, so it's easy to reach this time limit without realizing it.
  • World of Horror has the "Doom" mechanic. As the game progresses, the Doom counter increases. Certain events, actions, and enemies can make the Doom counter increase faster, while others can lower the counter. If the counter reaches 100%, then it will be The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In X-Men Legends, there's a mission involving a sinking aircraft carrier. Jean Grey is telekinetically holding it together (thus rendering her unplayable for that mission), and its sheer size means she can't do it forever.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Ai Cho Aniki, instead of conventional Video-Game Lives, has a series of hourglasses that slowly drain over the course of levels and even more when you die.
  • Alien Syndrome begins each stage with the announcement that "THE TIME BOMB HAS BEEN SET". From there, you have to rescue a minimum amount of comrades, run for the exit, and kill the boss before the bomb goes off with you caught in the blast.
  • Cloudphobia gives you three minutes to clear each stage or you get a Game Over. Stage 1's timer is Hand Waved in the game's backstory, explaining that the enemy will launch reinforcements within 3 minutes, but the same explanation doesn't exactly hold for the remaining four stages.
  • Einhänder has the sixth mission where you have to destroy two rocket engines, or else you get a Non Standard Game Over. Failing to beat the Final Boss within a hidden time limit causes it to finish you off with an unavoidable Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Eschatos has Time Attack mode, where you have unlimited lives but run on a time limit. Completing a section early freezes the timer. Completing an area grants a variable amount of extra time, and getting a 1-Up grants 15 seconds. Dying results in a 5-second penalty, on top of the time lost from waiting to respawn. Finally, once you clear the game, your remaining time is deducted from your total time.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: While the stages themselves are autoscrollers, the boss battles have a hidden timer. Take too long, and Dark Force's hand saunters into screen and begins homing onto your character, breaking your defensive pattern until either you or the boss is dead.
  • Every boss in Ikaruga has a time limit, after which the boss either just kind of loses interest and flies away or mysteriously explodes, and you don't get the points for killing it. The Final Boss actually requires the player to run down the clock by disabling their weapons and forcing them to dodge wave after wave of shots until time expires.
  • Minubeat gives you 60 seconds, from start to finish, to get to the final boss and destroy him. Should you run out of time, your ship explodes.
  • The old Prohibition's entire gameplay consists of shooting enemies before a set timer expires (said timer starts at 2 to 5 seconds depending on the enemy).
  • The Sega CD Silpheed, like Einhander, forced you to beat the final boss within a hidden time limit or it would destroy with you a Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Sine Mora eschews a traditional Life Meter and Video-Game Lives in favor of a time limit. Shooting enemies gives you more time, and taking damage will take off extra seconds.
  • This is the purpose of "Caravan" modes in shoot-em-ups, primarily those by Hudson Soft such as the Star Soldier series. You have 2 minutes or 5 minutes to score as many points as you can. In 2-minute mode, you'll often only have time for the first section of the stage. In 5-minute mode, it is possible to complete the entire stage before time runs out.
    • Summer Carnival '92 Recca has the standard 2-minute score attack, and a "Time Attack" mode where you must score 1 million points in less than five minutes.
    • Doujinshi shoot-em-up Blade Buster actually gives you a bonus for finishing 5-minute mode early.
  • Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night is this as a whole: the game starts at 11:00, and adds time for every level/continue. If the clock reaches 5:00, you lose.
  • The I/O Tower mission in Bally/Midway's TRON arcade game has a timer that runs down until you enter the tower. If you run out of time before that happens, you lose a life.

    Simulation Game 
  • The Ace Combat series is nothing but timed missions, even when they shouldn't (like being escorted). Luckily, the limits are so ridiculously relaxed that they are, for all intents and purposes, non-existent. Ace Combat 5's Arcade Mode has a pretty short timer for each mission, but you earn more time with each kill. The early games used a fuel meter, which made it plausible, though it led to an Instant-Win Condition as you could complete a mission with 1% fuel left and not have to worry about RTB, though the fuel gauge may simply have measured the time until the absolute critical point (bingo fuel) — past that, you don't have enough fuel to make it back unless you have a friendly refueling plane somewhere nearby.
  • The final mission of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War deserves special mention: while the previous missions all had generous time limits, after a certain point in the final mission, you suddenly have a very restrictive time limit in the form of an impending nuclear attack. Fail to win, and the nuke detonates and you lose.
  • After Burner Climax has two invisible-timer bits, namely the parts where you have to hunt down the prototype plane and the B-2. If you fall too far behind, you would miss out on them, but even if you kept them in sight, if you didn't splash them in time, the mission will still make you let them go. The B-2 chase is particularly annoying because you need to gun it down.
  • In Airfix Dogfighter, a number of missions requires you to protect some friendly units before they are destroyed, or, in one case, retrieve a set of plans before they are burned.
  • Animal Crossing:
    • In Wild World, your neighbors will sometimes give you rigidly-defined time periods in which to deliver a letter or package to its recipient. Naturally, you don't have to return to them within this limit in order to succeed; merely deliver the package.
    • City Folk brings this back, along with some animals who want to play hide and seek with you, giving you 10 minutes to find them and their friends.
    • New Leaf still has the timed games of hide-and-seek, but villagers will merely give you until the end of the day to do delivery quests. You can also play a variety of timed mini-games on the tropical island for island medals.
    • New Horizons has the "treasure hunt" mini-game. Villagers will offer to bury a package somewhere on the island, and if you dig it up in time you get to keep what's inside. The Bug-Off and Fishing Tournament have also been reworked as timed mini-games, where you get points based on how many bugs or fish you can catch in a limited amount of time, and can exchange those points for prizes.
  • Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge:
    • Occurs when a giant zeppelin-"eater" shows up. Being invincible from the outside, you have to fly a plane inside to destroy its core. Taking too long leads to it destroying Nathan's zeppelin and a game over, but you wouldn't know that there is a time limit until you see the cutscene where that happens.
    • Sea Haven: Destroy the giant spider-tank before it reaches (and demolishes) Doc's lab.
    • Navajo Nation: damage the worm boss enough before it destroys a friendly Navajo zeppelin.
    • Final Boss: destroy all the weak spots on Von Essen's giant tornado-making ship before he can tear apart Chicago.
  • Freespace has a few timed missions, although some of these are soft timers where certain ships escape once they reach their destination. The penultimate one, The Great Hunt claims to be timed, but there's no in-mission script to enforce the timer aside from comments saying that Earth is doomed. The final showdown in Good Luck has an actual timer where Lucifer escapes after 10 minutes, thus destroying the ships.
  • 911 Operator: You get a certain amount of time to resolve each report before they get timed out, which results in a hit to your reputation.
  • Pandemic and its spiritual successor Plague Inc. have the vaccine research, which will start a timer as soon as your disease is discovered and keep ticking down: once the vaccine is completely researched, the disease will be cured, preventing you from wiping out mankind. Most mid- and late-game strategies require finding ways to slow down the timer by hindering the research, and destabilizing countries to the point further research is impossible stops it entirely.
  • Pilotwings 64
    • Most missions give you Time Points, which start decreasing after you exceed the time limit for the mission.
    • One Hang Glider mission requires you to ascend as high as possible in 4 minutes.
    • Subverted in another Hang Glider mission, where you have to land as close to 3 minutes as possible, ideally exactly at 3 minutes. Which means if you just speedrun the mission, you will get very few Time Points.
  • Every single mission in Project Sylpheed is this, but they don't bother to tell you that until the very final mission or some of the DLC missions. Adding insult to injury, the main missions of the game all have ten minute time limits regardless of difficulty, but the DLC missions give you thirty.
  • In The Sims 3, some of the potential opportunities that Sims can get have a time limit. Opportunities, however, can be cancelled at any time and there is no penalty for not completing them. Your Sims just won't receive the reward.
  • Speaking of timed missions in every level, there are the Trauma Center games. It's part of what makes the games so wonderfully Nintendo Hard. It is somewhat justified, though, as you're performing emergency surgery. Trauma Team does away with the timer for most missions, since they're not necessarily emergency procedures.
  • The Wing Commander series has these pop up from time to time.
  • The scenarios in Wolf are all timed, with limits ranging from twelve hours to a few days on the In-Universe Game Clock. Sometimes, the limit is directly tied to your objective — e.g., find water within twelve hours, because that's when you die of dehydration. Other times, the limit is slightly more arbitrary, such as defeating your pack's alpha within two days — breeding season is coming up, and taking any longer means you'll have to wait (and survive) a full year before you get your chance at fathering the next generation.
  • Most of the missions you get from stations in X3: Terran Conflict have ridiculously short timers for no other reason than to make them harder. Hey Station Guy, if it's really that important to fetch your items in under 11 minutes, go buy your own freighter. Bonus points for Station Guy not telling you how much cargo space said items require.

    Sports Game 
  • Ace Fishing has an optional side quest called the Time Attack Mission, where the player is tasked to catch 3 specific types of fish to earn gold.
  • Every mission in Backyard Skateboarding.
  • Legend of Success Joe has a three-minute time limit for every stage.
  • Skatebird: Some missions involve performing certain objectives (like collecting all the letters in a word) within a time limit.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Two missions in a row give you this in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
    • First, you have to kill four enemies and meet up with other assassins in 5 minutes. It's actually pretty generous, but combined with the fact that you can't be detected, it creates a frantic situation.
    • The mission right afterwards, you have to carry someone to a doctor before he's poisoned. There's no strict time limit, but his health meter sure is going down fast...
    • Additionally, several (optional) full sync requirements make you complete a mission in a certain amount of time.
    • Also, when you go out into Monteriggioni, you are given a timer. When it expires, you are magically teleported back to the base.
  • Assassin's Creed II also had several timed missions.
    • About half of the tombs have timers in them, requiring you to make various platform jumps in a short window. These missions are optional.
    • Many side missions also have timed elements, especially courier missions.
    • Worst of all is a required mission called "And They're Off" where you have to hit sixteen markers on a map in two minutes. This requires almost perfect execution — you have maybe ten seconds of slack, so missing a move (due to your character not jumping in exactly the direction you wanted, or the camera position changing making you jump in an entirely different direction, or starting to climb a building when you didn't want to, etc.) will make you fail and have to redo the entire mission from scratch. It's not uncommon for players to have spent an hour or two trying to beat the clock.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty subverts, or perhaps parodies, this trope in its Tanker episode to complete a mission before the commandant's speech ends. It's not a set-in-stone limit, however, as after every few lines, the timer pauses as he lets the Marines stretch their necks or tests if they could repel an attack. If time actually does run out, he decides to extend the speech and the timer is similarly extended a couple of minutes. If this extra time elapses, however, Non-Standard Game Over results.
    • The original Metal Gear Solid spoofed this too. At the end, the base is under threat from an air strike. A counter starts in the corner, solely to 'give a sense of urgency', as stated by the director — even if the timer reaches 0, nothing actually happens. In-story, the air strike was not going to happen anyway. The game revolves around an 18-hour deadline which also never becomes an issue, partly for plot reasons, and partly because of the brevity of the game.
    • The Metal Gear series does have a few straight examples, though. In the first game, escaping Shadow Moses at the end of the game is timed. In the second game, there are three. Two of them involve disabling a bomb before it explodes, and the other involves reaching the Shell 1's core before Emma dies. In the third game, Volgin is a timed boss battle, as is The Boss. In the fourth game, once again, escaping Shadow Moses is timed. In Portable Ops, reaching ICBMG's launch Silo is timed.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has the Final Boss battle against The Boss, which is set on a ten-minute time limit until the battlefield is hit by missiles. While the time limit isn't shown, The Boss will warn the player when there are five minutes, three minutes, one minute, and thirty seconds left. An extended version of the game's main theme song, "Snake Eater", also starts playing partway through the battle, timed perfectly so that the song ends at the same time the time limit is reached.
  • The whole of Rescue: The Embassy Mission is timed, from 10 to 18 minutes depending on the difficulty.
  • All the JBA Headquarters missions in Splinter Cell: Double Agent revolve around doing some task for the terrorists within a time limit as well as squeezing in any NSA tasks you can manage. You don't get a Game Over if time runs out, but once it does your JBA trust meter declines steadily until you get back to where you're expected to be.

    Survival Horror 
  • Countdown Vampires:
    • The game begins with the player character having to leave the lobby through the screaming door before time runs out, and the room is locked down by the "fire prevention procedures".
    • There's a second one at the end of disc 1 where the player needs to exit the casino through the parking garage before the casino is locked down.
  • D has a two-hour time limit to complete the game. And it all has to be done in one sitting; no saving and no pausing allowed.
  • Dead by Daylight has the Endgame Collapse. Once an exit gate opens or the killer closes the hatch, the game draws the Entity's attention and a timer starts. The survivors now have two minutes to escape (the timer runs at half-speed if a survivor is hooked or dying). Any survivors still on the map when the timer runs out are personally killed by the Entity, counting as successful sacrifices for the killer.
  • Iron Helix: The player has 90 minutes real-time to stop the starship they are on from reaching its destination and killing its population.
  • Oubreak Pandemic has a segment in which the survivors are in a cave that is slowly filling with gas. The survivors need to find train parts to fix said train before time runs out.
  • At the beginning of Project Firestart, Jon has two hours to accomplish his objectives before his superiors are forced to detonate the Prometheus by remote control. Once Jon sets the self-destruct manually, he has 25 minutes to evacuate.
  • Nearly every single game in the Resident Evil franchise has a self destruct sequence where you have to escape before the timer hits zero. So much so that Resident Evil 4 actually makes fun of it with Leon, who's dealt with such things before, not being even remotely phased by the idea of having to escape a self destruct system. Poor Ashley on the other hand...
    Leon (Calmly): We have to get off this island now. It's gonna blow any minute.
    Ashley (Panicked): IT'S GONNA WHAT?!
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak has a more plot-justified variant. Each of the playable characters is a Zombie Infectee, and their virus gauges climb at different rates. If you haven't beaten the scenario by the time it reaches 100%, it's an instant game over. You can occasionally find pills that stimmy the infection for a little while, but you can only cure it in "Decisions, Decisions" with an antidote known as Daylight, which you acquire right before the final boss.
  • Each round of Resident Evil: Resistance is timed, with Survivors tasked with escaping before time runs out, and Masterminds tasked with stopping them. Time is earned by Survivors killing zombies and completing objectives, while time is lost by taking damage and respawning.
  • In the final mission of Touch The Dead, you have to get outside of the base so the helicopter can pick you up before the timer reaches zero.
  • If the player chooses to play White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on the Hard or Real difficulty, you have to complete the game before the clock strikes midnight (in-game), and the game starts at 10 PM. Fail to finish the game in time and it's Game Over for you.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Most chapters in Max Payne 3 don't have a time limit of any sort, even in the many situations where Max needs to quickly catch up to someone, but chapters two and twelve serve as exceptions. There's an unseen timer counting down at certain points of these chapters; take too long, and either kidnappers will end up getting away with two of Max's clients or a building will collapse with him on top of it.
  • The final objective in Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion DLC is a Final Boss that plays out like a single-player version of the game's Turf War mode, along with the three minute timer. The player has to detonate a series of giant ink bombs on a massive solar-powered primordial ooze cannon that's shaped like a human head to prevent it from fully charging and wiping out all life on the surface. Falling off the stage or failing to detonate all the bombs in time will result in a short It's a Wonderful Failure cutscene where your Mission Control mourns the end of civilization.
  • Many missions in Syphon Filter, but the most infamous is the last mission of the first game. Gabe had to locate the missile's abort code. Take too long and the missile's countdown will begin.
    • The "Train Race" mission in the second game, where you must rush to the train's engine before it reaches the Broken Bridge.
  • The entire plot of WinBack is a Timed Mission. Specifically, you have two hours and thirty minutes to reach the endgame before you learn all that talk in the beginning about the terrorists needing that much time to recharge their Kill Sat before nuking the White House and Pentagon was not an idle threat. For a first-time player, it's possible to get locked into the bad ending while only potentially halfway or less through a playthrough, with nothing to suggest otherwise save the clock giving your time at the end of each mission (out of 32). Note this limit isn't impossible to work under, but it does require only using the cover system in emergencies, knowing what you're doing ahead of time, and basically blitzing through the missions and bosses.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Chess: Most organized competitions give each player only a certain amount of time to make all of their moves. If a player's time runs out, the game automatically ends in a loss if the player can be checkmated or a draw if they cannot.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Some fights have a turn limit as their victory condition, used when there is limited time to act.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Chapter 18 of Conquest requires beating Zola and 2 Generals within 20 turns to save the Hoshidan Royals.
    • The mission of Chapter 6 of Revelation is to beat a commanding officer from both Hoshido and Nohr within 5 turns to distract the armies.
    • There's no specific turn count, but Paralogue 9 still requires the payer to kill the boss before Asugi flees the map.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a mission in the Cindered Shadows DLC where your entire party has to navigate a dungeon within 10 turns. It is the only mission in the DLC that not only doesn't allow any of your units to fall in combat or else you immediately suffer a game over, but you basiclaly have to rush past a majority of the enemies and pick your battles carefully. Failure to do so has the escape route lock down, trapping the characters and failing the mission.
  • All maps in Genjuu Ryodan must be cleared within 99 turns or it's game over.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • In III, there are a couple of missions with time limits on them. "Steadwick's Fall", the last mission of the Dungeons and Devils campaign, is difficult for this reason: You have to capture a town guarded by a ridiculously powerful hero, with the 3 month time limit making it very difficult to make yourself powerful enough to match him in time.
    • V usually lets you Take Your Time, but quite a few missions have time limits of one kind or another. In some cases you are running from an enemy or need to be at a place first, or the enemy forces a decisive battle at a certain time. The Dwarf campaign in Hammers of Fate is filled to the brim with time limits.
  • Robot Warlords gives you a turn limit for every mission in the main story.
  • In Terra Battle, Chapter 21-10 starts with the boss casting Death Sentence on your units. You then have 25 turns to complete the quest, including the proper boss battle at the end, before all of your units perish at once.
  • Several scenarios in the campaign of Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War gave you a limited number of turns in which to accomplish your objectives. This was pretty reasonable, considering that the ultimate object of the game was to do away with the Hive Tyrant before it could summon the Hive Fleet.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
    • In bomb disposal missions, players have to disarm a plasma bomb primed to destroy a city. Deactivating power sources scattered around the map delays detonation.
    • Two in the latter half of the "Operation Progeny" missions. First, players are tasked with rescuing a VIP on a dam that aliens have attacked before the dam collapses (opening release valves along the dam extends the time limit). Next, players are tasked with freeing three alien captives on a ship before the aliens can kill them.
    • Meld canisters self-destruct after a certain number of turns, so you have to find and retrieve them before they go off.
  • XCOM 2 is chock-full of timed missions, from extracting a VIP to defusing bombs to destroying enemy data relays. Even missions without an explicit time limit have a lot of pressure to complete them ASAP (retaliation missions have civilians dying every turn, and data relay protection missions have the relay you need to protect under fire). The entire campaign, in and of itself, also qualifies: you are racing against the clock before the aliens complete Avatar Project, and if the timer to the project's completion reaches zero, Game Over! You can extend this time limit by completing story missions and sabotaging black sites.
  • Several missions in Prismata require you to break through enemy defenses before a bomb explodes.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Dead Rising is one 72 hour-long timed mission. There are also optional "Scoops" and story-centric "Case Files" that must be completed within their time limits. Whether you complete all the Case Files, and whether you're at the helipad when the deadline comes, play a part in determining the ending you ultimately receive.
    • Other games in the series have followed suit, but with their own caveats. Dead Rising 2 retains the original 72 hour time limit, but if you pursue the best possible endings, the time limit will be extended by another twelve hours. In Dead Rising 3, there is a seven day time limit in which to complete every story objective; going over results in a bad ending. Dead Rising 4, on the other hand, foregoes having a time limit altogether.
  • Death Stranding features an assortment of "Urgent" deliveries, both plot-relevant and optional. These delivery types are usually justified by some sort of emergency, such as an injured Bridges member needing medical supplies, or the presence of some sort of perishable cargo. Completing these quickly enough will increase Sam's Delivery Time grade, which reduces the rate at which he tires out.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series is absolutely rife with these, with strictness ranging from Overly Generous Time Limit to That One Level-inducing ("Expresso-2-Go!", "Supply Lines") and reasons range from perfectly justified (Having to assassinate a target before they escape, having to rescue someone who is critically injured, escaping a Collapsing Lair) to completely asinine ("Shakedown", where the protagonist arbitrarily declares "I'll be back in 5 minutes"). It also leads to Fridge Logic in relation to the In-Universe Game Clock - if one minute equals one in-game hour, did that Collapsing Lair take seven minutes to burn down or seven hours? The series itself isn't particularly consistent - what the clock corresponds to seems to depend on the mission.
  • Shenmue:
    • The entire game is technically a timed mission, as lampooned by Penny Arcade. If you spend too long doing these things, the guy you're up against does, in fact, come back for the other mirror and kill you, resulting in the bad ending. The same thing applies to Shenmue II, where the Big Bad catches up to you and Shenhua if you dilly-dally too much. Thankfully, the games give you way more time than you'll ever need, so you can take your time messing around and still beat the games, with time to spare. Just be careful to remember there is a time limit.
    • The first game has a more traditional timed mission: when Nozomi is kidnapped by the Mad Angels, you need to hoof it to the harbor before 3 AM, or else the sequence restarts.
    • Of course it came back in Shenmue III. If you don't finish the game by July 31st, you die violently at the hands of the Big Bad.
  • Most missions in STALKER have a time limit of a day. This can get fairly annoying when you have to cross several miles on foot to complete said mission while avoiding get shot, eaten or ripped apart.
  • In Starflight, the goal is to discover the cause of stellar instability moving through the sector. If you take too much gametime to stop it, your home system's sun will flare and destroy your base. (You can still "win" after that point, but you'll have nowhere to resupply your ship or make repairs in the meantime, and it makes for a somewhat bittersweet victory.) Also, depending on when you're in a given system, you may be warned of the star's instability; if you don't leave in time, the resulting activity will destroy your ship.
  • TerraTech has two campaign missions centred around the Almighty Cube, a heavily-armoured, heavily-shielded cube which the player has twenty seconds to destroy. The player can try again as often as they need to.
  • Way of the Samurai has a somewhat persistent timing mechanic going that can be sped up sometimes and ignored at others, but generally speaking if you screw around you'll probably get roped into one of the crappy endings, most of which involve everyone kicking the bucket. Unless you quit early, the game ends on day 3.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Atmosfear: Players have a set time limitnote  to obtain all six Keystones, return to their starting point (or get to the center in the DVD game) and draw a fear. If none of the players can complete this task within the time limit, the host automatically wins the game. Each game also had a different on-screen graphic representing the countdown:
    • In the original game, it was a blue timer while the moon in the top left corner went through its phases every 10 minutes.
    • In Nightmare II, the timer was placed above a heart-rate moniter line, the peaks becoming more pronounced as time wore on.
    • In Nightmare III, the timer was placed above a stream of flames which grew higher every 10 minutes. The flames would also erupt whenever Anne appeared during the last 10 minutes of the tape.
    • In Nightmare IV, the timer was red and placed in front of a group of candles that gradually burned down/disappeared every 10 minutes, eventually being blown out when time was up.
    • In The Harbingers, the timer was visible at all times in the top right of the screen against a storm that grew more turbulent as time passed by.
    • In The Soul Rangers, the timer only periodically appeared on-screen for about 15 seconds after roughly every 5 minutes. The background was just various video effects within Dr. Mastiff's surgery, sometimes showing him taking breaths from an oxygen mask.
    • In the 2004 DVD game, the timer was represented on a mist-like graphic that gradually went from blue to red (in reverse order of rainbow colors) as time passed and moved around the center of the screen in the manner of a screen saver text, while the background gradually shifted through various areas of the Other Side until around the last 5 minutes where there was a red misty void with keys frantically flying around (the whole background disappearing just before time is up).
    • In Khufu, the timer was represented by an hourglass without any clear indication of how much time was left as the sand ran out, whilst the background shifted between different areas of Khufu's pyramid. The background would occasionally shift to one of the four chambers during a "Mummy on the Move!" event and the hourglass would be replaced by a timer in the last 5 minutes.
    • The app has its timer in a misty void while various rune-like symbols periodically appeared. A button appeared beneath this timer to be used when a player had won the game.
  • In Chernobyl, the "liquidators" shoveling graphite off the roof of the Chernobyl graphite plants are told they can only spend 90 seconds up there shoveling graphite, because the graphite chunks are insanely radioactive and 90 seconds is all they'll be able to stand before absorbing a lethal dose of radiation.
  • In Dance with the Demons, Catwoman has been poisoned, and Batman has two weeks to find the culprit and force them to hand over the antidote before she dies.
  • ENA: At the start of "Temptation Stairway", ENA is given just 48 seconds (though she ends up taking longer because Talking Is a Free Action) to reach the top of the Great Runas and make a wish. She doesn't make it, and ends up getting sucked into Runas instead.
  • The board game The Omega Virus must be won in 10-35 minutes depending on the setting and number of players.
  • In Professional Wrestling, there are a couple of types of matches that rely on a timer:
    • The WWE held a few Hardcore Battle Royales company's Hardcore Championship. Whoever was holding the belt at the end of a certain time limit (which ranged from as little as 6 to as much as 15) was declared the winner.
    • An "Iron Man Match" has the wrestlers compete for one full hour. Every time a wrestler pins their opponent or gets them to submit, they get a point. Whoever has the most points when time runs out is the winner.
  • One of the key rules of Puppetland requires sessions to always last an hour of real-time, even when longer stretches of time can pass in-game, with the puppets ending up back in their beds (or wherever they happen to be staying) at the end of every session.
  • Squid Game: Most of the games have a time limit, after which anyone who hasn't completed the game is immediately killed. The exceptions are Game 3, which is a vs match between teams that doesn't need one, and Game 6, which only has two contestants.
  • Some "VHS" board games are this, which have the timer right in the video. As opposed to those that call for pausing the tape at points, such as the Doorways series and the America's Funniest Home Videos game.
  • Standardized tests in schools, colleges, and universities have time limits to complete the test in, and when time is up it means the test is very strictly over and you have to stop working on it immediately and submit what you have. While it's not an automatic failure to run out of time, since any questions you've not answered are automatically wrong not finishing in time can easily mean not having enough correct answers to pass.
  • Renting a video game from a library, specifically these ones is this, although the time limit is usually 28 days, which is generous for nearly all games. If the game is in high demand, this can be reduced to 14 or even seven days. Certain games (like the Persona series) can be up to 80 hours long, meaning that in order to beat it in time, you'll need to play for almost 9 hours a day. Completionist runs become practically impossible. In some cases, the time limit can be extended, but not if the game has been reserved, and only up to twice. However, the save is stored to the console (or memory card, if any), so buying (or returning, then re-renting) the game will allow you to continue. Also, extensions are 28 days long regardless of the original rental time limit.



Video Example(s):


"A Good Defense"

The side mission that unlocks the Shield ability forces you to navigate an obstacle course in less than 60 seconds. Fortunately, you can retry it as often as necessary.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TimedMission

Media sources: