November 27, 2000
Some of you may not know who Free Radical Design are, but you will certainly know their games from the past. Before forming their own company, many members of Free Radical Design worked for Rare and helped to develop both Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. TimeSplitters the first game from Free Radical Design and is already being touted as one of the Top 5 Playstation 2 launch titles.
TimeSplitters is a pure action shooter which takes place in nine historical levels, from the 1930s to the 2030s. The levels set in the '30s are set in a haunted Egyptian tomb while the '70s level features a lot of action between SWAT teams and Triads. The future is populated by mutants, aliens and cyborgs. The TimeSplitters keep an eye on all the different time periods to complete their set tasks. But this is and action game, don't expect any engaging or emotional story lines like those in the Final Fantasy series.
The single player mode in TimeSplitters is fairly standard FPS action. The object of each level is to go in, find an object and get out before you get killed. Naturally you can kill anyone that gets in your way with a variety of weapons. The weapons available include pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, ray guns, Uzi's and more. There are also different fire types similar to those in Perfect Dark on the N64 or Unreal Tournament on the PC. Basically, each weapon can be fired in a number of different ways. For instance the rocket launcher can fire rockets or lob them around corners like grenades. It is also possible to pick up multiple weapons and switch between them during the levels.
While the single player game may be standard fare TimeSplitters will definitely be a must have multi-player game. Free Radical Design have included a 4 player mode which only suffers the occasional drop in frame rate, and thats with 10 bots in the level at the same time. Unfortunately there won't be any support for online gameplay due to the lack of internet support on the Playstation 2.
One of the most interesting things about this game on the Playstation 2 is the inclusion of a map making facility to create your own new levels. These levels are themed and according to the theme that you select you will get the suitable textures required. These themes include a gothic area, an alien level and a city theme. These themes are then applied to the same basic architecture for the levels. Building a level for death match play is a simple task that will take as little as a couple of minutes and the best news is that the levels can be saved onto the memory card so you can return to them at a later date.
Free Radical Design have done themselves proud with some amazing graphics in TimeSplitters. The game runs at a rock solid 60fps in single player mode and have managed an impressive frame rate in 4 player death match with 10 bots on screen at the same time. The game world is highly detailed and the enemies are varied, if not a little odd looking. Expect a variety of enemies including nurses, SWAT teams, zombies and even aliens to take out in this game.
For those gamers looking for a solid FPS at the Playstation 2 launch it's unlikely that you can go past TimeSplitters, especially if you will likely play a lot of multi-player games. Eidos will likely push this as one of the major pre-Christmas releases and it's easy to see why.