The controls are fully customizable, a welcome return from the previous games. There’s no excuse for not liking the controls as you can make them anything you like. Dual analog, single-stick, digital control, Halo
style...they’re all quite possible, and quick and easy to set up. This feature really is liberating, and more shooters should take this as an example.
All in all, the single player is a short, sweet romp through movie and game history, filled with in-jokes but no revolutions in gameplay.
The multiplayer, on the other hand, is the incarnation of replay value. Even without the online capability, the GameCube version of Future Perfect
has a multiplayer that trumps many of its online brethren. It’s huge; packed to the brim with unlockables, chock full of challenges, pumped up with...I’m getting corny. Let’s just say there’s a LOT to do. The typical gamer will want to hit the arcade leagues first, which act as training to hone multiplayer skills.
Each arcade event is entertaining and well balanced, with a standard bronze, silver, gold and platinum award system. Getting a higher medal nets you extras, like characters or cheats, and some of the better goodies can be rather difficult to obtain. The arcade leagues and the challenges become progressively harder, and only the hardcore will want to try the more advanced events. For casual gamers, these could make you chuck your controller out the window in frustration.
The actual versus modes are absolute chaos compared to other shooters on the market. FPS fans be warned: this is not your quake-clone, everyday shooter. This game harkens back to the old-school mayhem of Goldeneye. It’s blisteringly fast and has a brutal pace that may make camper-snipers unhappy. The object is to find a gun and wipe out as much of the competition as possible before you’re dead, and I guarantee you won’t last more than a couple of minutes.
All of the game modes follow this principle, but there are 13 ways to play, from zones and capture the bag to gladiator and the ever-popular monkey assistant. You heard me right; the infamous monkeys are back in force, and now they come in four varieties. Accompanying them are a whopping 150 playable characters, each with a unique skill balance. There are also sixteen maps to wage war across, and if you get bored with them, then try your hand at the icing of the multiplayer cake: the mapmaker.
Free Radical’s ingeniously simple level-creator returns. Rooms are now easier to connect, without the irritating red and blue system of the previous games, and the rooms can be set to be roofless, allowing atmospheric effects. The memory size has been doubled, allowing for twice the level size, and thus greater creativity. Every one of the game’s 30+ weapons is available for use, and there are six weapon slots for every map. A new addition is the moon buggies that can be driven around expansive maps for GTA style killing. The single player logic has been refined and made less confusing, so making solo missions is easier than ever.
Still, with all these improvements, it doesn’t feel like the epitome of mapmaking to me. Maybe I just got my hopes up too high, but it isn’t as groundbreaking as I would have hoped. Perhaps this is as far as Free Radical can take mapmaking on current-gen consoles. Regardless of my minor qualms, the mapmaker adds a lot to the replay factor, and there really isn’t anything else like it on the console shooter front.
As a final note, I’d like to say that TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
isn’t exactly for everybody. If you’re in search of a deep, gripping shooter with hordes of hell to rip through, this isn’t it. Try Doom 3 instead. Like its predecessors, Future Perfect
has Free Radical’s baffling sense of humor and is a lighter, funnier first-person experience. The addition of gratuitous gore and the not-so-subtle suggestive themes bumps the rating well into the “M” category, but rest assured, this game won’t have you jumping at shadows. Future Perfect
is everything is promises to be: an old-school shooter with a zany, slightly raunchy style that you really won’t find anywhere else.
It's time to split again, as the GameCube gets its version of Free Radical's off-the-wall old school shooter. It doesn't do anything mind boggling, but it's about as solid as an FPS gets and offers an almost bottomless supply of unlockable extras. A real challenge for the hardcore gamer, and a fun as hell multiplayer in the same package.
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