Kill Switch (video game)

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Kill Switch
Kill.switch Coverart.jpg
Developer(s) Namco
Visual Impact (GBA)
Publisher(s) Namco
Destination Software (GBA)
Distributor(s) Zoo Digital Publishing (PAL)
Designer(s) Chris Esaki[1]
Engine RenderWare
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Game Boy Advance
Release date(s) PS2 & Xbox
  • NA: October 28, 2003
  • PAL: February 2, 2004
March 3, 2004
Game Boy Advance
  • NA: September 9, 2004
  • PAL: October 22, 2004
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Kill Switch (stylized as kill.switch) is a third-person shooter video game developed by Namco in 2003 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. A Game Boy Advance adaptation was released in 2004. The GBA game was created independently of Namco, due to a licensing deal with Destination Software.[2]

As a relatively straightforward third-person shooter, the most distinguishing characteristic of Kill Switch is its cover system, a mechanic that has the player character taking cover behind objects and around corners in a manner similar to Namco's own Time Crisis series of light gun shooters as well as Koei's third-person shooter WinBack[3] and Konami's stealth game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.[4] However, Kill Switch was the first third-person shooter to feature the cover system as its core game mechanic,[5] and introduced the blind fire mechanic to the cover system (though cover and blind fire mechanics were earlier used in The Getaway).[6]


The game is a remotely controlled super-soldier, Nick Bishop (voiced by Marcus McCollum). For most of the game the soldier is remotely controlled by a man known only as "Controller" (voiced by Chuck McQuary). Controller is apparently using a direct neural connection to Bishop. Bishop's suppressed memories occasionally break through, causing Controller headaches. The memories feature a woman and the phrase, "Say my name." Controller, under orders from a man named Archer (voiced by Adam Baldwin), uses Bishop in a series of combat missions designed to convince two nations or groups known as the North and the West to go to war. Archer plans on war profiteering in the resulting war, in part by selling copies of the technology that controls Bishop. Moments before Bishop launches a warhead equipped with a biological agent, a woman known as "Duchess" (voiced by Adrienne Wilkinson) takes over Bishop, in the process causing a surge that kills Controller. Duchess uses Bishop to attack the base Controller is operating from and eventually restore Bishop's memories. It is revealed that the woman from Bishop's memories was his new wife. She was killed by Archer when Archer captured Bishop. Archer wanted the technology in Bishop for resale. Freed, Bishop makes a final assault on Archer. Afterwards, Archer is killed and Bishop walks away.


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 78.34%[7]
Review scores
Publication Score
GamePro 4/5 stars[8]
GameSpot 6.9 / 10[9]
GameZone 8.5 / 10[10]
IGN 8 /10[11]
OPM (US) 4/5 stars
Play B+[8]
Gamers Hell 8.4 / 10[12]
Games Are Fun 9 / 10[8]
GMR 8 / 10[8]
Loaded 8.2 / 10[8]
UGO A-[8]

Kill Switch was regarded as having a thin plot and simplistic level design, but the gameplay mechanics such as the cover system were considered engaging. It was compared to the Time Crisis series. The Xbox version of the game was said to contain enhanced graphics over the PS2 version. GameSpot awarded the Xbox version a 6.9 out of 10.[13]

The GBA version of the game was similarly received, with IGN calling it a "solid portable action title" and awarding it a 7.5 out of 10.[2]


Kill Switch is best remembered for being the first third-person shooter to feature the cover system as its core game mechanic,[5] and for introducing the blind fire mechanic to the cover system.[6] Several shooters took inspiration from Kill Switch and implemented similar cover systems. In the design of Gears of War, lead developer Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games credits Kill Switch's cover system as one of the influences they put into the game's design,[14] as Kill Switch's lead designer Chris Esaki was employed by Epic Games and was involved in the development of Gears of War.[1]

Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, which began development in 2005 and was released in 2007,[15] also took inspiration from Kill Switch, which Uncharted's lead designers Evan Wells and Amy Hennig credited as inspiration for the game's cover system.[16] Other examples of shooters that featured Kill Switch-inspired cover systems include the 2005 third-person shooter CT Special Forces: Fire for Effect,[17] and the 2006 games Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas,[18] a first person shooter released in the same month as Gears of War,[19] and Killzone: Liberation, a third-person action game released a month before Gears of War.[3]


  1. ^ a b Gears of War: Five Things You Didn’t Know, Team Xbox
  2. ^ a b Craig Harris (2004-10-01). "IGN kill.switch Review". Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  3. ^ a b Brian Ashcraft (January 20, 2010). "How Cover Shaped Gaming's Last Decade". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-03-26.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Ashcraft" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ Lindsay, Stuart (2009-12-02). "Did Gears of War Innovate the Cover System". Planet Xbox 360. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  5. ^ a b Why Vanquish will make Gears Of War obsolete, Play
  6. ^ a b Kill.Switch & Gladius Go Gold, Voodoo Extreme, IGN
  7. ^ "kill.switch for Xbox". GameRankings. 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "kill.switch Reviews and Articles for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  9. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (2003-10-28). "kill.switch Review, kill.switch PlayStation 2 Review". Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  10. ^ "kill.switch - PS2 - Review |". Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  11. ^ Jeremy Dunham (2003-10-27). "kill.switch - PlayStation 2 Review at IGN". Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Reviews 1 to 50 (190)". Archived from the original on February 5, 2005. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  13. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (2003-10-28). "kill.switch Review, kill.switch Xbox Review". Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  14. ^ "GameSpot - GDC 07: Cliffy B disassembles Gears, mentions sequel". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  15. ^ Randolph Ramsay (2007-10-26). "Q&A: Naughty Dog on Uncharted". GameSpot AU. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  16. ^ Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Afterthoughts, 1UP
  17. ^ CT Special Forces Fire For Effect Review,
  18. ^ Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 – Review, Game Critics
  19. ^ Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas Review, GameSpot

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