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TimeSplitters
Review By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Free Radical
Publisher:   Eidos
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   First-person Shooter
ESRB:   Teen
Date Posted:   01-04-00

If there was a genre on the PSOne that the Nintendo 64 simply crushed it on in terms of pure quantity of quality games, it'd be first person shooters. Sure, the Medal of Honor series was great, and the above-average conversion of Quake 2 made a few ripples in the pond, but nothing could really stand toe-to-toe with the barrage of hit action shooters on the N64 like Perfect Dark, the Turok franchise and the classic Goldeneye. Due in part to the vast horsepower of the PlayStation 2's hardware, the PS2 has multiple shooters in the works already, two already on store shelves: one being Unreal Tournament, and the other, Eidos' own TimeSplitters (TS). Despite being housed by a team of former Rare designers whom helped create the company's fantastic James Bond shoot-em'-up, I really didn't have a whole lot of faith in TS. The game appeared rather bland and, taking into consideration that this was a 1st-gen game after all, my hopes for the team's follow-up shooter wasn't too high.

Alas, I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being let down by a failed attempt to cash in on the PS2's popularity, TimeSplitters actually has some substance to it. Smooth graphics, familiar gameplay and a delightful map editor turned TS from what I had originally thought would be an average title to a fantastic FPS start for the PS2 and a grand multiplayer experience to boot. Sure, it may not have the visual flair of Quake III: Arena, the insanely good levels of Unreal Tournament or the compelling solo player mode of Perfect Dark, but TimeSplitters is nonetheless an addicting party game experience that provides a great look a s to what's to come in the future of the PS2.

Make no bones about it: TimeSplitters is meant to be played as multiplayer. The single player feature in TS (or lack thereof) is a simple story mode from which you "cross" hundreds of years to do battle with varied sets of baddies in diverse looking levels. The main goal of each mission is simple: run into a building/area, find a certain item pertaining to the environment's theme and bring it back to a point either outside the arena or somewhere else in the level. (It's basically, a one-shot deal of Capture the Flag.) TS eludes in every way to including a story whatsoever, by means of appointing you two humorous characters at the beginning of each assignment that just scream "B-movie!"

Levels range from fairly simple rush-in and grab item to finding different routes that can help avoid enemies. The AI of TS is pretty standard stuff, attacking the protagonists without mercy or consent, ala` Doom. A buddy can join in on the fun, adding an extra fun element to what would be normally a typical experience. While in most cases gamers may be turned off by the simplicity and cheesiness of the solo mode it also had a weird drawing factor to it as well. Although the intended phoniness of the game shines through, there is just something driving about using a busty police girl to mow down hordes of "sinister" Chinese scum. Overall, the Story mode involves nothing more than blowing away mindless cannon fodder, which can be entertaining for a while, until you realize where the real meat of the game is…

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