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Review: TimeSplitters



(IDG) -- Look out, big guy! Eidos is locked and loaded with TimeSplitters, an awesome new first-person shooter with the chops and options to tangle with the best.

Time is on your side

There's some sort of story here: A bunch of heroes, separated by decades of time, answer the call of adventure in their own time periods, unaware of the common bond that unites them. An extra-dimensional race known as the TimeSplitters has decided to hop into Earth's timestream and cause havoc for humanity. It's a simple storyline, and one that easily sets up what TimeSplitters is all about: awesome action, detailed locations, and pulling the trigger to mow down lots of foes.

What you get when you pop in TimeSplitters is easily one of the most fun shooters on any platform. In addition, there are a ton of hidden extras to unlock, and enough custom options to bring out the armchair game designer in you. You'll get a game that seems like an action movie more than some sort of super-fast cartoon slaughterhouse, with weapons that make sense rather than spew-guns or one-shot-kills rocket launchers. No quad-damage or rocket jumps here, just good gamin'. It's a deep package that should satisfy anyone looking for a big game for their PS2, and its options and hidden goodies will keep most shooter fans busy for a long, long time.

Splittin' hairs

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If there were any complaints about TimeSplitters, they'd be about the graphics. Considering the power of the PS2, the visuals don't look that much better than the Dreamcast's best efforts. Still, with expansive and detailed levels, a flawless frame rate, and extremely fast action, it's hard to find fault with the game's under-detailed character models and often-simple textures.

TimeSplitters really rocks in the sound department. Awesome music, killer fightin' noises, and telltale voices and sound effects all combine into one awesome medley of gaming sound. You'll hear zombies coming, a la Resident Evil, and you'll hear gunfights going on in nearby rooms, warning you of danger in deathmatches. The solid controls keep you in charge of the action, though it takes some practice to master movement and aiming. By the time you make your way through the first couple of difficult starting missions, you'll feel like an old pro.

The options in this game will make your head spin. When you go multiplayer, you can choose to play two-player cooperative or go for a head-to-head competition. You choose your level and your game type (options range from Deathmatch to Tag to Capture-the-Bag and more), and then you select your weapon set (you can even create a custom set from a list of all the weapons in the game) and choose your list of bots, down to the number, type, and difficulty of the computer opponents. Set teams, pick special rules, and go at it. If that's not enough, you can crack open the included level editor and create your own labyrinth, save it to a memory card, and put your friends through your own personal hell. More sensitive gamers may just cry when they see all the things they can do with this game.

Don't waste time

If you're an action fanatic and are looking for a deep, fun, and action-packed game to buy on Launch Day, then don't hesitate to pick up TimeSplitters. It's a refreshing shooter that keeps its feet on the ground, its eyes on the target, and its heart in the options where it belongs.

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