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     " Game play, in essence, is the worst of twitch gaming- with no real strategy employed or available to be developed. "

      Title: Time Splitters by Eidos

      Format: PS2 First Person Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: All the death match’n action you like in a FPS, an interesting multiple generation "plot line", and some entertaining bot models…all brought to you on your PS2. But, is that enough to spend your hard earned bananas on? Read on, Monkey faithfuls. Read on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: At first glance, you’ll love what you see. Nice, smooth lines. Pretty color schemes. Killer texturing. It seems to have it all. However, as you start to play more, the novelty will quickly wear off. The models, for example, look good texture wise but have such dull body mechanics and sharp angled lines you’ll quickly want to trade them in for some of the smoother units from Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 (which, while a Dream Cast game that should be inferior in all respects, certainly outshines this "next generation" system game). The lighting is often down right poor, with no dynamic effects or shading. The explosions are little more than quarter sized balls of light. And, worst of all, reminiscent of old original Quake or Tomb Raider, the entire game is rendered in sharp angled lines- straight or 45 degree walls, straight or 45 degree walkways, etc., so everything appears incredibly harsh and game issues like navigation become incredibly difficult.
     Overall, it’s nice- but certainly not anything to shout about…Especially on the PS2. The only truly positive note, which I’ve saved for last, is the smoke effect. Smoke, especially from rocket launchers, builds quickly and thickly. Fire too much in the same spot and you will go beautifully blind in a haze of gray. Not that this saves the graphics overall, but it’s a nice touch. 3.5 out of 5

      Sound: Well, to paraphrase the Latin stalker who won’t accept the fact that I won’t change sexual orientation and date him, "She Bangs…He Bangs." The gun sounds are average, the explosion sounds are average, and the quippish dialogue is infrequent and average at best. Actually, most amusing of all is that I’m almost positive that some of the automatic rifle effects were sampled from other games, cheesy and uneventful. 3 out of 5

      Game Play: You know it’s hard enough to make a FPS solid on a console when you use everything available to you. Hold back, and your game is dead before it even hits the startup screen. With that in mind, I can assure you that Time Splitters is a queen of all that makes a console shooter horrid and will lead you to new levels of hatred and loathing. The controls, essential to all first person shooters, are a wonderful combination of sluggish and jumpy- hard to get started and then impossible to manipulate accurately once their going. Auto-aim, quintessential to any game- especially if it has bad controls, is inconsistent and frustrating. Bots are substandard and predictable. Weapon selection is base and uninspired. Game types are trite and overly difficult, especially in single player challenge modes. Scenarios are laid out with far too little health and aids and far too many bots that automatically get the jump on you (often times you can only find out where an enemy is by letting it shoot you several times). And, the coup de grace, on any real difficulty level you almost exclusively must use memorization-through-multiple-plays to succeed…A concept that always turns my stomach. Thus, the game play, in essence, is the worst of twitch gaming- with no real strategy employed or available to be developed. We were entirely unimpressed. As a matter of fact, I was so unimpressed it now resides posted beneath the bird feeder in my back yard- collecting the poop that falls from the flying rat’s feeding anuses. 2 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: The good news is that the levels are pretty and huge! They’re as large as any PC levels I’ve seen-, which is saying a lot. They also have wonderful style detail (i.e. the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian levels look killer). The bad news is that they were designed, almost exclusively, with death match multiplayer in mind. While, initially, that sounds good, ask yourself- how much do you really want to strictly do death match? Eventually, like it or not, you’re going to have to turn to the single player modes and then you’ll be sorely disappointed. With all the crevasses, caves, and dead ends you’ll be so frustrated that you can’t find anything/get lost you’ll want to through it out the window…Without opening the window first. 3.5 out 5

      Multiplayer: Up to four players on split screens- pretty typical. No potential network support (not that any of the launch titles have had it) and no link options means that’s all you’ll have. The game options available are everything you’d expect- death match, capture the flag, hold the flag, etc., and are all fun versions of them. 4 out of 5

      Replayability: Replayability only occurs in two ways with Time Splitters. You can death match and re-death match (or any other game type) until your blue in the face. Or, if you’re feeling spunky, you can design your own levels. That’s right, it includes a nice little level editor that actually gives you a fair range of fun ways to create new and exciting arenas in which to death match. It’s smooth, it’s concise, and you will end up using it within your first couple of hours of game play to try and keep things fresh (which is why it went here instead of in Level and Environment). That’s really the purpose it serves…Desperately trying to extend the game’s very limited play life. 3.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: They say there’s a story. They say something about you trying to prevent the "Time Splitters" from ruining the past and prevent the birth of Elvis or some…you know what, you don’t care- and you won’t care. There is no plot, there is no story line, there are no cut scene explanations, and there is no character background, there is nothing. Which, as you all know, I think is absolutely frickin’ inexcusable in a game. Even in the first person "story" mode there’s no story, there’s nothing, its just death matching in one level after another. You know what, all you game developers out there; your job isn’t done just because you made a pretty place to blow things up…give us a reason to cause the damage. Sure, you don’t need it, but just like in Hollywood a little plot and development is the difference between a half assed Jean-Clod Van Dingus movie and Heat. 0 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: There’s really nothing to it…Point and shoot with double analog and shoulder button configs. However, trying to work your ways around the inherent flaws in the game engine’s controls will frustrate the shit out of you. The instructions are pretty much what you’d expect as well. 3.5 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: It boots pretty quickly and has fairly short load times. However, there are two huge things that bug me. The first is that, especially graphically speaking (with lighting effects and model rendering) Time Splitters falls way short of what the PS2 is capable of. The second is the complete lack of a quick restart capability. Once a game ends, there is no quick way to get right back to playing (such as through cycling maps or just immediately restarting the same one) so you can look forward to lots of load times separating you from your playing. 3.5 out of 5


      The Verdict:

       Overall, it's crap. Piss poor controls, mediocre graphics, infuriating twitch gaming, and the complete lack of plot act as the spoiled whipped cream topping on a steaming poo sundae. We were only able to play it for about 2 and a half hours before we got so sick of it we turned it into a silicone bird toilet.

      The Good: It’s an FPS for your PS2…if you really need one.

      The Bad: It’s nothing but a collection of half-assed and no-assed efforts rolled into a niche market.

      The Overall Ugly: Rent it if you must but for the love of the Great Monkey, save the rest of your money.

      What it's Worth: Rental

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