Review by Writer
"PS2 FPS classic. Oh, and you can make your own levels too"
TimeSplitters was developed by Free Radical, a team that consisted of key members who had a hand in the development of GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. Since we all know that those games were spectacular hits, its easy to see why gamers and the rest of the industry have expected so much from TimeSplitters. Rather than just craft together any old game, Free Radical went the extra mile to create a great FPS and an instant classic for the PlayStation 2.
Playing through the Story mode, you'll find that TimeSplitters could care less about having a deep, complex plot. You'll go through different time periods like 1985 and 2020 to retrieve a special item and find the exit. The levels range from tombs to Chinese restaurants and are loaded with enemies that are packing some serious fire power. On top of that, you have the TimeSplitters themselves to deal with. Once you grab the special item, the TimeSplitters will appear and attempt to stop you from reaching the exit by whatever means necessary. The Story mode has three difficulties and each time you finish a level, you'll unlock something for the Arcade mode. The real reason you'll play through the Story mode is to access more goodies for the Arcade mode, which is where a good portion of your time will be spent. You can also unlock the Challenge mode by progressing through the Story mode, which consists of tons of mini games like shooting ducks, fetching lobsters, and shooting glass. You'll also unlock more presents for the Arcade mode by completing the challenges in this mode. While the Story mode really isn't big on plot, it's fun to play through.
The enemy AI is pretty resourceful. Enemies hide behind tables, travel in groups, and are pretty good sharp shooters. If you think you're going to go through the Story mode with guns blazing, you'd better think again. It only takes being careless and two heavily armed foes to eliminate you. As mentioned before, your enemies are pretty accurate with their shots and you'd better be accurate as well. The enemies often shoot at you the second you step into their sight and you could wind up taking a good amount of damage if you aren't aware of where your foes are hiding. You'll live longer if you play more cautiously, by sneaking around corners, peaking ahead, and avoid charging into a room full of enemies. Even on the easy setting, the AI, can be very cunning at times.
The controls are pretty smooth for the most part. You use the left analong stick to move your character and the right analong stick to aim your weapon. The right shoulder buttons are for firing your weapon. Of course if you're not comfortable with the default controls, the game offers other preset controller configurations. If you've played GoldenEye and Perfect Dark to death then getting used to this new control scheme may take time. Those of you who have played FPSs on a PC may not have it so rough. One thing that can be a problem is trying to aim with your cross hairs-it can be a practice in annoyance sometimes, especially when you're trying to snipe someone.
The playable characters give TimeSplitters more personality. You can select from characters like the drunk Captain Ash, cyborgs, ducks, attractive women and many more.
The characters give more life to the game and end up being more than just someone you walk around and kill other players with-you actually care about who you pick. The characters all display some sort of emotion or outburst before you select them that just puts a smile upon your face. Its almost as if you feel some sort of attachment to the characters, which is a rarity for a game that lacks a good story. You can tell the developers didn't want to make the characters too serious (or even serious at all). The cyborg with a fish for a head is just hilarious.
TimeSplitters doesn't slouch in the graphics department either. Character models are well designed as are the levels. There are some jagged edges, but it still looks fabulous. Explosions from rocket Launchers look lovely and you can see bullets coming out of your weapons as you fire them. Other players and enemies can be spotted from a good distance and there isn't a hint of pop up. For an early PS2 title, the game still looks very good.
Sonically, the game has a solid selection of tunes. Each track matches the environment you're playing in. If you're in a tomb, you'll hear Egyptian music. When you're in the Chinese stage, you'll hear some cool Chinese tunes. If you prefer to play in silence, you can mute the music if you'd like, but really where's the fun in that? The tunes aren't going to win any best soundtrack awards but they are fun to listen to and in a nutshell, the sound effects are topnotch.
The Arcade mode is where you'll spend a great deal of your time because here in lies, one of the game's greatest joys, deatmatching. There are also other modes like Bagtag, Knockout, Escort, and Laststand. The Arcade modes gives you a plethora of options to choose from- so many in fact that it may make your head spin. You can turn on one shot kills, disable friendly fire damage in team games, choose whether or not you want to start with a gun or not, and a ton of other options. Best of all, the game lets you design you very own deathmatch levels. With the map maker, choosing from premade rooms, you can construct your own arenas to reek some serious havoc in. Each room tile can rotated in the desired position, making for multifloored levels, dead ends, intersections and more. The map maker is extremely easy to use and those with creative minds will have a blast in this mode. You can choose where players and weapons spawn, you can decide which color of lighting you want your level to have, and you can decide on which theme you want your level to be. The theme serves as the ''wall paper'' of the level, if you will, and determines what your stage will ultimately look like. Simply put you can spend hours in this mode.
If you want some heavy-duty weapons to shoot off, TimeSplitters has you covered. The weapons range from different time periods like the double barrel shotgun, which is an oldschool gun (obviously), to the futuristic Scifi Autorifle. Each weapon has a primary and secondary function for you to play around with. Some guns you can carry up to two at a time and many of the weapons are extremely powerful. Some of the pistols are enough to be called machine guns and the Mini Gun and Rocket Launcher packs quite a punch. TimeSplitters does a good job of letting you blend new and old weapons.
Make sure you grab a Multi Tap and have three Dual Shocks so you can enjoy the wonderful multiplayer actions with pals. TimeSplitters is a great party game and even those that hate FPSs can pick it up and have fun.
Its a great PS2 game that any FPS fan should buy. Newbies shouldn't be afraid to try it out either.
FINAL SCORE: 8
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/09/01, Updated 06/09/01
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