TimeSplitters Parent Review

Movie Review

There's supposed to be a storyline behind TimeSplitters by Eidos Interactive, but it's sketchy at best: It appears that the TimeSplitters--an immortal race from another dimension--enjoy warping into one time period or another, just to mess around with certain adventurous individuals. These heroes are Indiana Jones types who enjoy the adrenaline rush of acquiring specific items, or treasures, no matter what the cost.

And that's about it for plot. This first-person shooter can be played by one, two, or four players (using the multitap adapter), and consists of three modes: Story, Arcade, and Challenge. At the outset, the vast majority of game options, characters, and scenarios are locked, access to which can only be achieved by completing certain levels in Story mode. Each of these levels are designed around era-specific themes, which range from a 1935 Tomb to a 2035 Spaceport, and can be played on Easy, Normal, and Hard settings.

No matter which time period you select, the goal is basically the same: Shoot everything in sight; retrieve an assigned item; and--since the TimeSplitters warp in as soon as you've collected the booty--kill every one that stands between you and your mad dash to the exit. After completing the three levels available at the beginning of the game (on Easy setting), three more become available, as do additional characters. This process is repeated until all Story mode scenarios are unlocked.

Your weapons stash is minimal at the beginning of each level, but picking up artillery left behind by the dearly departed will add to your arsenal. Before long you'll be proficient in the use of handy toys like high-powered rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, twin Uzis, proximity mines, and futuristic laser doo-dads. Killing the enemy is fairly easy once you get the hang of it--you can either spray his or her body with bullets, or, when you get real good, one shot to the head usually takes care of things. And developing that headshot skill is a definite necessity. Not only will you save ammo, but literally blowing heads off is the only way to destroy some persistent zombies you'll meet from time to time. (All deaths are sanitized by the lack of blood and gore, and bodies conveniently disappear to lessen the scenes of carnage.)

Although playable characters are only seen when introduced during the selection process, parents should be aware that female representations were obviously designed with young men in mind, since each of them (including futuristic robots) feature a well-developed chest, legs that just don't quit, form-fitting clothes, and in some cases, glimpses of normally covered body parts (all kept within the confines of a T rating of course). Of particular mention is Ravelle Velvet: Dressed in a micro-miniskirt and ample-cleavage revealing top, she seductively strokes her body while groaning and grinding in sensual fashion--then pulls out a monster of a machine-gun from who knows where.

Diversions to the main game come in the form of many single-player and team competitions, including Arcade mode's Escort, Deathmatch, Bag Tag, and a variation of Capture the Flag. If that's not enough to satiate the slaughter senses, completing all Story mode levels on the Easy setting opens up a whole new set of pastimes in Challenge mode. Here you'll find entertainment in the form of Behead The Undead (see if you can decapitate 50 zombies in two minutes or less); Putrid Punchout (put the guns away and do some knuckle-chucking with hopes of knocking the heads off 30 zombies in one minute or less); Flock Around The Dock (it's duck hunting season--only these ones shoot back); and on, and on, and on...

When you consider that the built-in map editor allows for the creation of additional levels, this game has the potential to keep virtual gunmen busy killing for a very long time--and killing is the only real activity here. With the exception of learning what this new edition of a monotonous formula had to offer, I'll sum up my experience by saying TimeSplitters + Time spent = Time wasted.

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