Let it be known that the Azn Badger loves him some Time Crisis.
I think the key to their appeal lied within the simplicity of the gameplay, coupled with the fact that, for most of my life, they were a genre of game that was exclusive to the arcade.
I’ve never really been an arcade game enthusiast, largely because I was never one of “those guys.”
You know, the guy in the arcade that strolls up to the Tekken, or Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or Street Fighter III: Third Strike cabinet, and proceeds to dominate all comers and play off of the same 50 cents all day and all night.
While I was a pretty competent Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament player back in the day, most of my time in the arcade was spent playing the first few stages playing the first few stages of beat ’em ups like Aliens vs. Predator or X-Men.
I say “the first few stages of” because I’d usually only be willing to play for one credit.
Time Crisis 1 was exceptional and unique due to it’s introduction of “the pedal” system for allowing the player to reload and duck into cover at will.
Enemies in the game were purely of the human variety, and would go down with a single shot; an important factor seeing as your magazine capacity was only 6 shots per load.
Like most rail shooters, enemies were color coded to provide a quick means of visually acquiring and prioritizing targets.
To my knowledge, the blue guys were basically worthless, the white guys were a little bit more accurate, the brown guys were about the same, the green guys had heavy weapons, and the red guys were aimbot motherfuckers that could hit you just about every time.
Graphically speaking, Time Crisis was no House of the Dead, but it got the job done regardless.
People looked like people, helicopters looked like helicopters, and ninjas looked like ninjas.
The game wasn’t flashy, with no fancy gore effects or crazy character designs, but it’s unique and exciting gameplay made it something truly special.
Did I mention that Time Crisis actually had a story?
In fact, it’s funny to think it now, but back in the day I actually thought Time Crisis had a pretty good story.
Sure it’s just a standard “the president’s daughter has been kidnapped, are you a bad enough dude to rescue her?” story, but my barely 10 year old imagination spun it into something more than that.
Hell, I can remember dreaming up ideas of how to adapt the game to a fucking movie, even as a kid.
That’s not to say they were good ideas, but come on, I was 10.
The main gist of the story is that a man named Sherudo Garo is trying to overthrow the rule of his homeland by claiming his ancestral birthright.
Mr. Garo enlists the aid of an army of terrorists headed by a man named Wild Dog in order to accomplish this, kidnapping the president’s daughter, Rachel in the process.
Once the introduction is over, the rest of the story is told through a series of in between mission cut scenes.
Nothing really profound or unexpected really happens in the story, but all through the game you feel like an action hero.
As Richard Miller, generic, bad ass and mute agent of VSSE, you are treated to a handful of boss fights that take the otherwise mundane experience of killing the same soldiers over and over again, and make it all worth while.
The first boss is Moz, a ninja who takes three shots to kill, and is a waste of your fucking time.
Next up is Sherudo Garo, who in a decent twist, isn’t actually the final boss of the game.
Crazy, bowl-cut sporting son of a bitch that he is, Mr. Garo actually brings a knife to a gun fight and tries to best you using ornamental ferns as cover.
It’s a fun fight, made all the better by his progressively more visible signs of weakness during the fight.
The big finale comes on the roof of the castle, at sunset, just moments after Wild Dog puts a bullet in Rachel’s arm.
Yeah, with a set-up like that, you know it’s gonna’ be a hum-dinger.
I’d just like to take this moment to say that Wild Dog deserves some sort of award for how truly badass he is.
I mean look at him:
He’s got the trench coat, the pimp goggles, the greased back hair, and fuckin’ red suspenders underneath it all!
He’s like the pimpest thing that ever walked the Earth!
On top of that, he’s got one of the coolest, and most over-the-top voices and deliveries I’ve ever heard.
Seriously, the first time I heard this man laugh, I knew I was looking at a living legend.
Anyway, as if Wild Dog wasn’t pimpalicious enough, he fights you with a pair of Broomhandle Mausers.
That’s Han Solo guns to you and me.
What begins as a duel based around a circular fountain, quickly escalates to something more, as Wild Dog pulls out his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and starts clickin’ that fucker like no tomorrow.
Enemies start piling out of the woodwork, the castle starts blowing up ’cause Wild Dog keeps clickin’ that fuckin’ button, and all of a sudden the game gets crazy fuckin’ hard.
Wild Dog pulls out all the stops in the last minute or so of the battle.
He jacks some dudes’ machine gun.
He starts throwin’ grenades.
He starts teleporting.
Hang on, what?
Well okay, he doesn’t really teleport per se, rather the flames of the explosions serve to mask his movements, making it seem like he’s teleporting.
At least I hope that’s what they were going for.
Finally, as if Wild Dog’s dick wasn’t massive enough already, the final phase of his attack is not to pull a rocket launcher on you, nor to turn Super Saiyan and blast you into the fuckin’ sun (yes, that did in fact happen once or twice), but simply to run straight at you, and try to punch you in the face.
If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.
In short, if you’re man enough to put a bullet in Wild Dog as he reaches out to sock you, he falls over backwards, drops his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and, surprise, surprise, gets blown the fuck up in the process.
Richard carries the wounded Rachel onto a nearby helicopter, they flee the exploding island, they fuck, roll credits.
The console release also had a multi-branching sidestory regarding Wild Dog’s arms supplier, a woman named Kantaris.
The story took Richard Miller on another mad dash, this time as he chased Kantaris through the hotel that was the front for her arms deals.
There were only two bosses in this mode, a random-ass dual-mohawked motherfucker named Web Spinner, and a big fuckin’ robot.
Web Spinner was encountered early in the game, and was basically like a faster, more unpredictable Moz with electrified boomerangs for projectiles.
I don’t know why you would want to electrify a boomerang, but whatever, the man has 2 mohawks, I don’t question men of such character.
The big fuckin’ robot was really hard, but lacked personality, so I don’t have much to say other than the fact that he was cheap as fuck.
There wasn’t much story to the Kantaris mission, however there were a number of cutscenes to draw my little 10 year old mind into the drama.
Part of the fun of the Kantaris mission was the fact that, though the game branched a number of way, nearly all of the ending resulted in Kantaris getting killed in some embarrassing way.
In one ending you shoot at her red sports car, that is, not hitting her, and she flinches like a bitch and rolls it over, thusly causing it to explode with her inside.
In another, her big fuckin’ robot goes haywire and turns on her, pushing her out the window of the hotel, and yes, exploding on top of her.
In still another, you don’t even shoot at her, and the plane she’s escaping in just sort of craps out and crashes on it’s own.
Aside from the gameplay and story, it should be said that Time Crisis’ soundtrack, while repetitive, was wonderfully memorable soundtrack.
I am a fan of thematic scores, and Time Crisis’ entire soundtrack is based on reworking maybe 3-4 major themes throughout the entirety of the game, with most of them being pretty good.
“Stage 1-3” is my favorite, as it’s a medley of every major theme in the game.
You see, yet another sign of just how badass Wild Dog is.
The original Time Crisis was, and always will be one of my favorite light gun games.
It was fun, it was different, and it was balanced, but more importantly, I bought into the drama of the game and made it out to be something more than it was.