TimeSplitters – No plot. No cut scenes. No puzzles

Of course, all of the multiplayer games are playable in one-player mode and prove satisfyingly playable, too
Damn the TimeSplitters. Damn them. Arrogantly strutting their badness across space and time, this breed of extra terrestrials has, for as long as anyone has cared to remember, manipulated humankind’s fate for their own villainous and corrupt end.

But no more. Over time, heroic individuals have risen from society’s mediocrity to bravely face this time/space continuum-defiant progeny of evilness in the hope of quashing their wicked deeds.

Whether they succeed, you surely won’t be surprised to read, depends on you. In Story mode, nine levels spread over a hundred years (1935-2035) await your strafing skills. But forget your complex mission-based first-person shooters. Here, the object of the game is to fight your way into a level, pick up an artefact and swiftly fight your way back out, ideally without running out of energy during your excursion. While the first levels may initially appear simplistic, things get increasingly tortuous the further you strafe into the game while increasing the difficulty level also fuels the architectural complexity. (Should things get too rough, you can always persuade a friend to join you for some two-player co-operative action.)

Surprisingly, given that it’s hardly the game’s main focus, the Story mode is remarkably compelling. The AI, while it wouldn’t necessarily trouble Kasparov were it to be applied to a handheld chess computer, is decent enough and will certainly fool you into thinking it’s actually doing far more clever things than it is. And ultimately, that’s all part of the development game. Whether the CPU opponents’ use the environment for cover is a scripted routine is irrelevant, provided the desired effect is attained. And in TimeSplitters, the enemies rarely disappoint.

Given that certain members of Free Radical Design, the chaps responsible for this rather excellent piece of electronic entertainment, cut their teeth on the fabulous N64 FPS GoldenEye, it won’t come as a shock to find that completing each of the missions (which open up three at a time), rewards you with extra characters and new features that you’ll find should you venture into the Arcade mode.

And you should really, because this is the essence of the game. Up to four players can take part in deathmatch, capture the bag, escort, bagtag, knockout or last stand, played over the nine levels from Story mode as well as a selection of Arcade-only levels. The options list is suitably extensive, the action is Quake-fast and easily some of the most frantic and addictive to have graced a console in a while. Everything you’d expect, really, given some of the team’s pedigree.

Incidentally, in the unlikely event that you don’t like any of the levels, build your own. The TimeSplitters gang has kindly included a level editor for – the game. It’s a rather intuitive and versatile affair, allowing you to construct ambitious structures and tweak just about every aspect, right down to the lighting. How involved you get is obviously up to you – even a simple five-minute corridor-based construction can prove surprisingly playable. As ever, save them on to memory card and see how your friends fare in your death trap arena from Hell. Or not, as the case may be.

Oh, forgot to tell you that once you complete the Story mode you open up a challenge game which consists of a series of tasks that have to be met against strict time limits. It’s silly stuff, knock off the heads of zombies, shoot Uzi-toting ducks, fight to bring lobsters back from the docks and deliver them to your restaurant, that kind of thing. This may be a good time to point out, as you may have gathered by looking at the screenshots anyway, that TimeSplitters doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is genuinely a far better game for it, too.

Any bad points? Hey, nothing’s perfect. The most obvious comment is that socially maladjusted types with no friends (at least the organic, human kind), will fail to get as much out of this as their more convivial brethren – but then, in its defence, TimeSplitters isn’t aiming at anything other than the multiplaying crowd. On a more technical note, the graphics, while very nice, won’t have you screaming with joy (though the gameplay might) – environments are very clean, but also a little on the barren side, a prerequisite for fast framerate (which most of the time hangs around the 60fps mark). And to be fair, in most instances you’ll be moving too quickly to notice. Other than that, loading times could have you wondering whether your PS2 has crashed.

No One Lives Forever the Expert Game Tips

Got a few extra quid in the bank? Then you’ll definitely want to spend it on No One Lives Forever, one of the best games we’ve played all year. To get you started, we’ve decided to put up some more Quick Tips to help you on your journey. We’re not going to tell you where every piece of evidence is, but these few tips and strategies should help you save the world from angry Scotsmen, one-eyed Russians and exploding sheep.

The first thing to remember about evidence is that not all of it can be gotten on the first try at a level. Some of the good stuff, like the fire extinguisher in the minefield in Morocco, can only be traversed with the mine-detecting attachment on the sunglasses. However, gathering as much evidence as you cannot only provides some amusement (H.A.R.M. even has files on Michael Knight, but not KITT), but also some clues about how to advance through the levels.

NOLF is much more of a stealth shooter than a standard bulletfest. Although it is possible to go through some levels with guns ablazin’, the chances for survival are slim — there are no health packs, only armor — plus there are real benefits to being sneaky. Not only do you survive longer, but there are reputation bonuses and awards for those with a light touch.

To that end, there are really two kinds of weapons in NOLF: the silent ones and the ones that bring the guards. You should bring one of each on every mission, although you should lean more heavily on weapons with noise suppression. In the early going, the Shepherd Arms P38 9mm is a girl’s best friend. It is deadly accurate at a standstill, and ammo is usually easily found in the pockets of your victims.

For something with a little distance, use the Hampton Carbine .45 caliber sniper rifle. It has great accuracy, a decent reload time and is as quiet as a church mouse’s .9mm with one of those little mouse silencers. The ammo, however, can be hard to come by, making it useless later in some levels. But if ammo is a concern, go with the Morris Model 14 Spear gun or the Sportsman EX Crossbow. Although they don’t have the range of either the Shepherd or the Hampton Carbine, you can pull the spears out of the necks of your foes and reuse them. Who said recycling isn’t fun?

If firepower is what you need, avoid silenced weapons and go with either the AK-47 Assault Rifle or the Hampton MPL 9mm SMG. We prefer the Hampton, because it is a little quieter and a tad more accurate — but let’s face it, these kind of delicate decisions are very personal, so you should decide for yourself.

The M79 Grenade Launcher is great for clearing out a room, but we found very few instances in which it was worth using up an inventory slot for its extra firepower. Often when you need it, you’ll find it in the field. Ditto for the Bacalov Corrector. It has the benefit of a scope and has tremendous firepower. But it takes forever to reload, can only hold a limited amount of ammo and is louder than Inge Wagner herself. Skip it.

Just as vital to your success in the field as your weapons is your gear. Although some missions demand that you bring certain items in order to complete them, those items will be chosen for you. You will usually have a couple of slots to bring some extra items. But like the firearms, some are more useful than others.

Although the idea behind the barette is a good one, it is not a very useful item. It can only pick locks with a keyhole, but those can be easily shot off. Its other function, as a poisonous melee weapon, is nearly useless because it requires getting within spitting distance of a bag guy and is not 100% reliable on the first strike. You can play the whole game without it. And we’re not even going to mention the mechanical poodle.

The same goes for the coin. Sometimes it is helpful to distract a guard with a coin, but we find planting a slug between his eyes to be equally effective. The explosive lipstick can be useful, especially the one with the proximity trigger, but Cate is only given a few and they are, naturally, loud as hell. But the benefit is they can be thrown quite a distance. The same can be said of the perfume bottle. The knockout version is great for multiple enemies, but you have to get rather close. We prefer it to the lipstick.

Two of the more useful items are the body removing powder and the camera disabler. The powder is absolutely essentially for keeping victims from being discovered, and the fewer bodies discovered, the better your bonus at the end of a level. The same applies to the camera disabler. Although it is possible to complete the game without it, getting rid of a pesky camera or two can make life a lot easier. Definitely the saying no one lives forever is true, but that doesn’t stop player from playing Clash Royale for its free gems. Wouldn’t you agree with that? I guess you all will.

Other items are vital to your success and will be provided for you when the mission requires them, such as the sunglasses or cigarette lighter. The code breaker is often necessary in order to get through the game’s many locked doors, but there is one near almost every door that has a digital key lock. Therefore, you shouldn’t waste an inventory slot with a code breaker, because you will always find one in the field.

With these few meager suggestions, along with a hair trigger, eagle eye and a comfortable pair of pumps, you shouldn’t have any trouble saving the world from H.A.R.M.