|Developer(s)||Free Radical Design|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube|
TimeSplitters 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Free Radical Design and published by Eidos Interactive for PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox game consoles. It is the second game in the TimeSplitters series, and a sequel to the original TimeSplitters.
The game features a story mode consisting of ten levels in which the player assumes the role of one of two space marines as they attempt to stop the alien race of TimeSplitters from ruining history by collecting the time crystals in various time periods, ranging from the Wild West to the 25th century. It has several multiplayer modes.
TimeSplitters 2 is a first-person shooter that requires players to kill enemies and complete objectives using a variety of weapons and tactics in different predefined scenarios. Armour and health bars on the sides of the screen lower when the player is shot, which can be increased by walking over body armor and medical kits.
The weapons of TimeSplitters 2 include handguns, rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, a grenade launcher, various explosives, a crossbow, a flamethrower, a fire extinguisher and a brick. They are of many different time periods, from the historical to the futuristic. Some weapons have an alternate fire which activates a feature such as launching a grenade or detonating a remote mine. It is possible to dual wield some weapons.
The main story mode of TimeSplitters 2 is divided into ten levels. Each level is in a different time period and contains a series of objectives that must be completed. Some objectives are present at the start of the level, while others are added during play. A few levels have secondary objectives, which are not required to complete unless on the normal or hard difficulty setting. Each level includes a single checkpoint in the middle where the player can restart if they die or fail to complete an objective (with the exception of the last level on any difficulty and the fourth level on easy). For each level, the player must choose from three difficulty levels. These difficulty levels not only change the strength of the enemies, but also increase the length of the level by adding additional objectives; for instance, in both easy and normal levels, there are optional secondary objectives, whereas in the hard levels, all secondary objectives are now primary and must be completed. At the end of every level, a time crystal must be recovered. After it is picked up, a time portal will appear which must be entered in order to complete the level. However, this is sometimes made more difficult by TimeSplitters that teleport to the player's location. In secret places of certain levels, there are cartridges of old school arcade games such as Snake, that can be picked up and played on the player's Temporal Uplink, the device that normally shows the map of the current level.
The game's story mode can be played alone or cooperatively with another player. When playing co-op, in order to balance the game, the two players' health amounts are lowered.
Along with the story mode, there are two single-player modes: an Arcade mode and a Challenge mode where a player is given a scenario and must complete it within certain requirements. The objective ranges from collecting bananas to shooting heads off zombies. After the objective is completed, the game will end, and a medal will be awarded depending on the number of points obtained. Certain medals allow the player to play as new characters in multiplayer or use cheats. Cheats can be turned on in the options menu to activate features such as unlimited ammunition or the ability to shoot paintballs. Free Radical's website implies that there are also controller-activated cheats that have never been released. They say they like to keep things "as impossible as possible."
Arcade mode is the main multiplayer section of TimeSplitters 2. It can normally be played with up to four players with each player using a division of the television's screen. However, with a System Link, up to sixteen players can participate. System link was not included with the GameCube version. When a player is killed, he or she is respawned at a random location on the map with full health. Weapons, armour, and other items that enhance players' abilities are placed in several preset positions scattered about the map. The objective of the game depends on the mode selected. Four are available at the start: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Bag (a version of Capture the Flag) and BagTag (where a player must survive while in possession of the bag for the longest period of time). There are sixteen game modes in total, but twelve are unavailable until the player beats certain levels of the game.
Several aspects of multiplayer can be customised, such as the weapons, the number of points needed to win, the number of minutes until the end of the game, as well as the music that plays along with the level. There is also a variety of different characters the player can choose to play as, each with their own individual statistics. Some characters are from the Story mode, while there are other more humorous ones such as a dinosaur and an Elvis impersonator. Up to ten computer-controlled bots can be used. Their appearance, difficulty, and team can be customised. The bots can do some acrobatic moves that the player cannot do such as rolls and somersaults.
At the end of each match, the results of the game are shown. This includes the number of points each player or team scored, the weapon the player used most often, as well as awards the player earned. There are nearly 60 awards present in TimeSplitters 2. Players are given them based on what they did in the match. Awards are recorded in each player's profile which also keeps track of a variety of other statistics.
There is also an Arcade League mode in which one player is placed in an Arcade match with pre-set bots and weapons. There are three difficulty levels of Arcade League: Amateur, Honorary, and Elite. Players must beat them in consecutive order. After a player beats an Arcade League level, a medal is awarded.
A MapMaker is also available that can create playable levels. Levels for Story mode can be made as well as levels for Arcade mode. Created Story levels, however, cannot be played co-operatively. Maps are created by selecting and placing different pre-made tiles and rooms onto a grid. Spawn points, weapons, bags, armour, and objectives can then be placed anywhere on the level. There is a bar in the left side of the screen, representing memory, that lowers each time a tile or item is placed. When the bar depletes completely, nothing else can be placed onto the map. However, items can be deleted to increase memory. A theme can be chosen for each map such as Victorian, Industrial, Alien, and Virtual, which changes how the rooms appear.
Only LAN networks are supported, but online play is possible with the use of PCs and third-party networking software.
TimeSplitters 2 starts off in the year 2401 in the midst of a war between humanity and the TimeSplitters, an alien race bent on the destruction of mankind. However, rather than use brute force to destroy humanity, they are using the special objects called time crystals to travel through time changing the course of history, bringing Earth to ruin.
Two space marines from Earth, Sergeant Cortez and Corporal Hart, are sent out to a space station overrun by TimeSplitters to retrieve the time crystals. However, when they reach the bridge, they are too late as they see the last few TimeSplitters take the time crystals into various time periods using the time portal. While Sergeant Cortez and Corporal Hart are preparing the time portal to follow the Timesplitters, they are attacked by another squad of Timesplitters. Corporal Hart decides to stay at the bridge to keep the Timesplitters at bay while Cortez goes into different periods of time to retrieve the time crystals.
Upon arrival at each time period, Cortez takes the form of a person from that particular period of time, similar to Quantum Leap. For example, when Cortez arrives in the Wild West, he takes the form of a bounty hunter. When he arrives in a 24th-century robot factory, he takes the form of a robot.
After Cortez retrieves all of the time crystals, he returns to the space station to rendezvous with Hart. The TimeSplitters outside finally manage to break into the bridge. Corporal Hart is killed in the ensuing battle. Cortez has little time to mourn, as the Timesplitters become relentless to retrieve the Time Crystals from him. Cortez manages to set the station to self-destruct and escape before its destruction. This leads into the events of TimeSplitters: Future Perfect.
In February 1999, 15 months before the release of Perfect Dark, several members of Rare that were part of the GoldenEye 007 development team, including Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton, Graeme Norgate, and David Doak, left to form their own company called Free Radical Design. After they developed the first TimeSplitters, TimeSplitters 2 went into development, trying to create a more fulfilling story mode alongside the Arcade and MapMaker modes. The game was developed over a 23-month period, with around half of that time devoted to creating the opening level.
It was also one of the first multi-platform games to be re-released on both the PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits and Xbox Platinum labels.
The location of the health bar and other gameplay features are reminiscent of GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. The game engine present in TimeSplitters 2 is also very similar to the one present in GoldenEye 007. They both contain a similar aiming system and both lack the ability to jump.
There are a few minor differences between the console versions of TimeSplitters 2. For example, the PlayStation 2 version has a smaller playing field for minigames such as Anaconda. This consequently makes high scores on the PlayStation 2 version lower than the Xbox and GameCube versions which both have bigger playing fields for the minigames.
There are four different versions of cover art for the North American release of the game. Some of the versions had a unique tag line for the GameCube and Xbox ports. The GameCube version displayed the quote "Heir apparent to GoldenEye," by Electronic Gaming Monthly. The Xbox version said, "First Halo, now this." Other versions include the Player's Choice edition and the original release without the quotes.
Other release changes include removal of the map editor function and the renaming to Time Splitter: Invaders of the History on the Japanese release of the PlayStation 2 version. In addition, Europe, France, Japan, Korea, and USA each have different box art.
In an October 2012 interview, Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis said, "We had a “HD” downloadable version of TimeSplitters 2 in development at Free Radical in 2008. I don’t know what happened to that but yes, I’d love to see it released at some point. Maybe it could be the catalyst that is required in order to raise enough interest in TimeSplitters 4 that a publisher might want to fund it."
Homefront: The Revolution, a game developed by Deep Silver Dambuster (the corporate successor to Free Radical Design in accordance with British business transfer law due to the closure of Crytek UK), contains an easter egg featuring two playable levels from the game, accessible via an arcade cabinet located in one of the main game's locations.
The original Xbox version of TimeSplitters 2 is not compatible with Xbox 360 consoles.
The PlayStation 2 version of TimeSplitters 2 received "universal acclaim", while the GameCube and Xbox versions received "generally favorable reviews", according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.
In comparison to the first game in the series, GamePro called "TimeSplitters 2 [...] everything the original game was and more" and "outdoes most other PS2 shooters in the process". GameSpot said that the game "may very well be the best split-screen multiplayer-focused first-person shooter ever created." IGN concluded that the game was "clearly the best multiplayer first-person shooter on the PlayStation 2," but commented that it was not story-driven and little empathy was felt for the characters. GameSpy criticized the absence of online play, but complimented the game's "great deathmatching action" and the game's high frame rate. They also said the game is "everything you could possibly want in a sequel." Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine praised it as "easily one of the best first-person shooters out there—on any system", but called its lack of online play "criminal."
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