Free Radical



TimeSplitters Review

By: John Doe

How different is TimeSplitters from games such as Half-Life, GoldenEye or Perfect Dark? Well how different are pinball machines, card games and middle-of-the-ratings sitcoms? I guess the point is: is it too much of the same thing? And I would answer: if it's similar to GoldenEye or Half-Life, how can that be bad? Similar yes, but it's not a cheap imitation by any stretch. TimeSplitters is a first person shooter which will have you battling a host of freaks, monsters, zombies and ghouls throughout the spectrum of time using weapons relevant to each time period. It's developed by the same group of programmers that brought you GoldenEye. Surprise! Any questions?


One of the most interesting aspects of this game is the four-player mode. The framerate is steady at 60 frames per second and the action is fast and furious. With no visible alaising the graphics are crystal clear. You never get confused with the split screen and multi-player mode elicits a new level of competitiveness that is missing in one-player shooters. Add to this a two-player mode where you and a buddy can fight side by side and you have a game that will be seeing a lot of airtime on your screen.

The levels are huge and you have a hand in their construction. Just put the pre-made rooms together in any combination using the east-to-use Map Builder. Themes such as gothic, the 1920s and sci-fi are offered. You can add textures and lighting effects to the surroundings. There are no looped Flintstone's backgrounds here. You really feel as though you are covering new ground. The levels can be as high as 10 stories and several miles in area. Hundreds of customized levels can be stored on the memory card.

The gameplay is quite straightforward. It's point and shoot. One player Story mode is essentially a capture the flag game while the Arcade mode is essentially a blast fest. The TimeSplitting demons traverse the space-time continuum wreaking general havoc on the humans. You will have to travel through time to eliminate them. From dynamite to revolvers and grenades to rocket launchers you will have to learn how to use each of these time-specific weapons effectively without relying an any super atomic atomizer or wacky magical powers. I certainly welcome the limited array of weapons. When I'm caught off guard by a cavalcade of monsters, I don't want to have to think about what weapon to use and I don't need to be scrolling through my inventory to locate some unpronounceable weapon.

TimeSplitters, success will be attributed to its ability to entice new players, who might not be into first person shooters, to give it a go. Thanks to the simplified format and easy-to-use controls, this will no doubt be a big seller with gamers of all ages. I can see how a lot of people were turned off by the controls of Resident Evil. Hell, even I fling my controller around the room more than a few times. But there's nothing like that here. All you have to do is concentrate on getting through a level in one piece and sending as many demons back to hell as possible.

Don't think for a second that this game is easy to master. Although the rules are simple, each new level brings with it more intelligent monsters. The way some of these guys dodge my weapons and attack then me when I'm most vulnerable is uncanny. It makes me wonder if I'm really playing alone in my room. You can always increase the difficulty level if you're afraid the game is too easy and let me tell you, that would be a mistake. When the game feels that you're too cocky, you can expect a deluge of demons to take you to the promise land. You'll be spitting out pieces of your lung in no time.

The music is offbeat and even a little humorous in places. What's frightening is the fact that it's not supposed to be frightening. Almost like circus music that in its frolicsome melodies, are imbedded images of horrifying clowns and wicked funhouses from your youth. The sounds of the guns and explosives actually have reverb ambience added to them to give them the aural illusion of depth. Few things bother me more than dry timbres, with the possible exception of Martha Stewart, but that's my own mental illness that I have to learn to live with. I can't really blame her for it, can I? We'll talk about this at another session.

The only way you should be without this game is if you can't afford it. That's understandable. After buying a PS2 and all the accessories who's got any money left over? Maybe go four ways with the guys. You'll soon find out who can't be trusted, especially be wary of Doug who'll tell you that his sister's boyfriend took it from the house without asking for it and he can't get it back. You know he lent it to her so she wouldn't tell mom that she caught him trying on her heels. I would suggest renting it but with the addicting quality of the gameplay and so much to do, you will end up paying the retail price many times over. Maybe if you start acting good immediately, Santa will cut you some slack this year.






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