Back in the late 1990’s a little gem of a game came along called Golden Eye. While most games based on movies (this was based on the James bond flick of the same name) are generally crap, Golden Eye was, well, golden. It revolutionized first person shooters in a way that hasn’t been topped since (shut up, Halo fans!) Unfortunately, the company who developed Golden Eye, Rare, went belly up. But there was light on the horizon! Some of the ex-members of Rare formed Free Radical Design and made a series of three Time Splitter games, very much like Golden Eye before them. While the first is largely forgettable and the third is just down right annoying, Time Splitters 2 is a gem in the pile of FPS crap.
Story (3 out of 5)
The year is 2401 and humanity is at war with horrible aliens known as Time Splitters. They travel through time and alter the course of history with the use of Time Crystals, which the Time Splitters steal at the beginning of the game. Your mission, as Sergeant Cortez, is to track them down from time to time and retrieve the Time Crystals in order to save humans from extinction. It won’t be easy. You will travel from a dystopian Neo Tokyo, to a futuristic planet filled with aliens, to Notre Dame (complete with a hunchback and zombies!). The locations and time periods are crazy fun and one of the best parts about Time Splitters 2. Sure the plot is a bit weak, but the fact that you are traveling around from time to time makes up for it.
Gameplay (5 out of 5)
Time Splitters 2 is a first person shooter with controls very similar to Golden Eye. The main joystick is your movement while the yellow joystick controls the camera. You collect plenty of weapons throughout the game (guns, knives, fire extinguishers), but all guns have limited bullets so be sure to pick up plenty of ammo!.
Each time period will give you a different set of objectives you must accomplish to complete it. Sometimes, the objectives even change as you are going through the level, but the game will be sure to let you know. There is a handy screen that shows your weapons and your objectives (plus how much of it is complete if it is that sort of objective).
Time Splitters 2 has a few different play options. There is Story Mode which can be completed with a single player or in co-op mode (I preferred co-op mode). The Story Mode can also be fought on three different difficulty settings, with each setting unlocking something new for a different game mode. There is a Challange Mode which is a bunch of minigames and finally, there is the Golden Eye like Arcade Mode in which you and up to four friends and go at it in any number of settings. Like Golden Eye, there are different types of battles you can have using certain weapons, rules and so on. Most of them are a basic death match style of battle, but the options make it a lot of fun.
Graphics and Sound (4 out of 5)
I really love the style of Time Splitters 2 (gasp! I said that about a non-Japanese game!). The character designs aren’t too realistic looking, instead they look like cartoons rendered in 3D and it really works out well. The settings are more realistic, but they also have an overly large slightly cartoonish vibe that blends with the characters The graphics are clear and really nice looking for GameCube game. They never gave me a headache either.
Sound-wise, Time Splitters 2 is really fun. The music is different for each level and fits each level perfectly. Sometimes silly, sometimes dark, the mood of each time period is set as soon as you hear the music. While I’m not a fan of every single song, I do appreciate how well they set the tone. Sound effects are equally enjoyable, especially the sounds zombies make.
Fun (5 out of 5)
Yes! I played this game for two days straight with my roommate and we had a ball. We completed the co-op mode several times and each time it is just as fun. This is a game that you will pull out at parties for the Arcade Mode, and play alone in single player Story Mode. Each one is fun and unique enough from each other that they will not grow tiresome.
Overall (5 out of 5)
This has to be one of the best FPS’ for the GameCube. Metroid fans, don’t kill me! Time Splitters 2 has not only an engaging Story Mode, but it has a multiplayer option that Metroid Prime is missing. Since it’s rather old, you should be able to find Time Splitters 2 for under $20 at a used game store. It is worth every penny.