TimeSplitters (series)

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It's time to split!
Sgt. Cortez

Welcome to a world where one man who resembles Vin Diesel may waltz about through time and shoot things. The TimeSplitters series are a series of first person shooting games. The storyline has been given increased focus with each game, but generally, what one should focus on is shooting and blowing stuff up.

After Rare did Golden Eye 1997 for the Nintendo 64 most of the core team left: directors David Doak and Steven Ellis, a majority of the developers and also the composer. They founded Free Radical Design and produced TimeSplitters. The series can basically be summed up as Golden Eye with a cup of Rule of Cool, a dash of Rule of Funny, and loads of monkeys, all turned Up to Eleven. Very fast paced and lots of fun.

Within the games are numerous other features, such as a scoreboard, multi-player, map makers, co-op, and a challenge mode. The games often have many characters, ranging from Vin-er, Cortez to giant Gingerbread men and, of course, monkeys. Awful lot of monkeys in here.

The games in the series include:

  • TimeSplitters: Exclusive for the PlayStation 2 (was intended to be on the GCN as well, but Free Radical could not obtain a developers kit). Short missions and lack of story (unless you read the manual). Loved for its fast pace and multi-player, but was criticized for long loading times and lack of story.
  • TimeSplitters 2: The sequel basically did everything the first game did, only better. A better story involving time crystals, a war, and many characters. More varied missions with actual objectives. The multi-player added even more characters and levels. The game itself was closer to Golden Eye 1997, to the point of being considered the Spiritual Successor.
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect: The Magnum Opus of the series. WAY deeper story, more characters, more upgrades, more comedy. However it was now more like a standard FPS and wasn't as fast-paced as the second game, although much more varied. Had the same awesome multi-player and online capabilities, now with even bigger maps.
  • TimeSplitters 4: In production. The status on this game is unknown after Free Radical Design went belly-up as a result of the recession and the horrible response to their PS3-exclusive title Haze. They were subsequently bought out by by Crytek. It is not known how the story will unfold or if there will even be one, as Future Perfect conclusively wrapped up the three-game long saga. The studio formerly known as Free Radical has announced it is publisher shopping for a sequel, and if publishers aren't interested in the TimeSplitters name we may wind up with a Spiritual Successor instead. Crytek has also stated interest in doing a 4th game, making it a matter of "when".

Levels tended to consist of:

  1. A MacGuffin
  2. A random time period
  3. A person from said time period
  4. A bunch of things to shoot

Later games would place less emphasis upon the MacGuffin, though it was still present, and have additional objectives.

Tropes used in TimeSplitters (series) include:
  • Action Girl: Several. Corporal Hart springs to mind, and Amy Chen.
  • Adventurer Outfit
  • Affably Evil:
    • Khallos, definitely in Future Perfect. His TimeSplitters 2 biography tells us that he has a lot of trouble with people making fun of him, claiming that he wears the eyepatch just to look cool, and that his real name is Archibald. Most of his villainy is implied to be petty vengeance toward such detractors.
    • Jacob Crow. His goal is achieving eternal life. All of his villainy is just a side-effect of his careless methods of going about his research. He's mostly just an ignorant moron.
  • AKA-47: This became more widespread as the series wore on. While the first game allowed use of the Uzi, M16 and Mauser Pistol, Future Perfect ended with the Machine Gun, Soviet Rifle and Kruger 9mm.
  • Badass: Many of the main characters. Cortez and Corp. Hart springs to mind. But also guys like Great White Hunter Captain Ash. Oh and don't forget Badass Cyborg. His description is just: He's the meanest, the leanest and the badass machinest.
  • BFG: The series has lots of them. A flamethrower (where people set on fire run around), rocket launcher, homing rocket launcher, minigun... Well you name it!
  • Big Bad: Jacob Crow
  • Big Bad Duumvirate
  • Bloodless Carnage: Timesplitters 1 and 2 have no blood at all, making them a bit more family-friendly than FP
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Khallos revels in it.
  • Captain Ersatz: Anyone else think Cortez REALLY looks like Riddick, especially with the goggles?
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Khallos and Crow.
  • Catch Phrase: "Time to split!" "Dammit!"
    • The former usually getting a confused or creeped out reaction, the latter once being shouted so loudly that, despite being shouted in the 22nd century could be heard in the 1960s.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cortez finds a dart gun in the You Genius, U-Genix level in Future Perfect... it turns out to be the weapon that one-shots the mutants in said level.
  • Chivalrous Pervert:
  • The characters are looking down an incredibly deep and dark ladder, with the sounds of something sloshing around and gurgling*

Jo-Beth: "You go first."

  • camera pans down to Jo-Beth's incredibly short skirt*

Cortez: "Okay."
'Jo-Beth: * Stops, thinks, shrugs*


R-110: "An Electro-Tewl!! Yull need dat!!
R-110: "I'm pretending all these robots are humans! Robots are FAR superior to humans, you know! Humans go "Squish" at the slightest touch!"
R-110: "I'll catch up! Don't kill anything without me!"
R-110: "EAT MY LASER! EAT IT!" (which is quickly changed to "EAT MY PRIMITIVE PROJECTILE" as the time period shifts to the past).

  • Comeback Mechanic: The "Monkey Butler" mode in multi-player provides the player with the lowest score with an army of monkeys to help them out. There's also "Shrink mode" where the lower your score, the smaller you are and thus the harder you are to hit.
  • Creative Closing Credits: In Future Perfect. Let's see... We have a muscled space-marine that bares a striking resemblance to Vin Diesel. He goes on an epic quest throughout time to destroy a race of evil alien mutants before they even come into being, and what does he do at the end? He goes to a disco club in the sixties and dances the night away.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anya most of the time.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Oh man, where to start. The series is packed full of little details which can be pretty obscure and aren't really documented. For a start, nearly every weapon in the original PlayStation 2 version of the game has some mode of alternate fire, though with varying usefulness. More prevalent examples throughout the series are objects in the level which make unique noises when you shoot them, such as the bags of money in the original, and a bell in a church and a gong in the later installments. Also, from the second onwards (don't know if there are any in the first), there are a lot of interactive objects that will do something, without any prompt, after pressing the action button near them. The awesome Disco map in Future Perfect is a great example of this, with interactive instruments, mics, even mixing desks. Also, if you see an organ in the game, you're pretty much guaranteed to be able to play it.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: May happen in the Robot War level in Future Perfect. After a certain point, your pseudo-allies for that level lose their Gameplay Ally Immortality, and can be killed by enemy attacks or friendly fire. However, if you can keep La Resistance's leader alive until a certain point, he will climb up on a heap of trash, shout "FOR THE HUMANS!" and make his last stand before falling to the enemy forces.
    • This can also be averted, in that, if you play smart and quickly enough, you can keep both of your allies alive. You may want to, considering how awesome both of them are.
  • Enemy Chatter: Used hilariously in Future Perfect, and in epic amounts. Such as the drunk guards

Drunk Russian Sniper: "I am... BEST guard. Numbar one!"

  • Escort Mission: Fairly common, and in Future Perfect, often involves yourself!
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: be they cyborgs, ninjas or zombies. Monkeys are really the series face nowadays.
  • Fair Cop: Lt. Christine Malone, who ends up looking more like a cop-themed stripper in Future Perfect.
  • Fan Service:
    • Mary Beth Casey, Cyberfairy, and pretty much every female having very generous proportions high-caliber guns.
    • Arial da Vinci moans orgasmically when you select her, and is dangerously close to naked.
    • And Jo-Beth Casey in Future Perfect has a skirt that is basically a sleeve's worth of fabric held on by a belt.
  • Fast Roping: The security guards in the "Breaking and Entering" mission of Future Perfect.
  • Fur Bikini: Jungle Queen
  • Game Breaking Bug:
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the second 60's level in Future Perfect, Harry Tipper's radio callsign is 'Shower of gold'.
    • "But first... it's time to get out my... big... weapon... *Snickers*"
  • Groin Attack: Jo-Beth Casey gives Cortez a swift kick to the 'nads in Future Perfect. "You're no zombie!"
  • Guns Akimbo:
    • Most pistols, SMGs and assault rifles can be dual-wielded. Oddly enough, you have to pick up a specific weapon to dual-wield it; picking up two of the same exact weapon won't do.
    • Taken to a simply silly degree in the second game, where you can dual wield shotguns. It's best not to ask how you reload them.
    • In the first game you could dual-wield miniguns.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Cortez travels all over the relatively recent past, but never gets involved with Hitler. It's probably for the best.
  • Idiot Ball: Cortez grabs this at the end of the You Genius U-Genix stage, when he explains to the main villain the plot of eternal life the main villain is attempting to succeed in before the main villain even knows of this plan, effectively meaning the attacks the main villain does against time are because Cortez explained the evil plot to the villain teaching him what to do in a stupid moment.
  • Immortality Immorality: In Future Perfect it's revealed the entire time war was the result of one man's obsession with discovering the secret of immortality.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The Shrink powerup, as well as the Shrink gametype, can transform players into tiny, near-impossible-to-hit targets. Doubly effective if playing as a monkey.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Lady Jane.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Done in some of Future Perfect's character descriptions, and probably elsewhere as well.
    • Corporal Hart's presence in Future Perfect as a multi-player character. She dies near the end of TimeSplitters 2, but her Future Perfect description lampshades her presence anyway, even stating that it should no longer a factor as you have completed Future Perfect's storyline, as it is required to unlock her, since the whole TimeSplitter war would have never happened to begin with... Then it asks why there is a Timesplitter character... Foreshadowing? Joke?
  • Level Editor: A rare example in a console series. They even allowed you to create story missions with their own objectives and AI programming for enemies.
  • Lighter and Softer: Future Perfect, in which cutscenes flesh out the characters more, and with much more humor.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 64 in the first game, 126 in the second, and a whopping 150 in Future Perfect.
  • Magic Skirt: Everyone except Jo-Beth Casey uses the "lots of shadow" type.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The monkeys, of course.
  • More Dakka:
    • The SPB-90 (much like Golden Eye 1997's RCP-90) from the second game has the highest firepower of any weapon in the game, is among the most powerful guns, has extremely high accuracy and a scope. Did I mention you can have two? Incidentally, it's based on the real-life P90.
    • The Monkey Gun fires off 64 rounds (its entire clip) in a around 2 seconds. Using it properly has less to do with aiming at your opponent, and more to do with lining up two targets in a line.
    • There is a simple exploit you can do in the original Timesplitters with the 10mm Pistol that makes it absolutely devastating. It delivers decent damage when used normally, however due to the fact that it fires as quickly as you press fire (R1) or secondary fire (R2), it is possible to fire extremely fast by alternating between the R1 and R2 buttons with a certain rapid rhythm, spending the entire clip in a couple of seconds. It also reloads very quickly, they are nearly pinpoint accurate and it is possible to dual wield them. With practice you'll be able to defeat any unfortunate foe who crosses anywhere near the center of your screen.
  • Mooks, Elite Mooks: Yeah this game is made out of them. Different mooks for all the different time-periods, too!
  • Multi Platform
  • Narm: Cortez's Catch Phrase is regarded as this in-universe, frequently being met with blank stares and embarrassed silence.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: With monkeys! The third game has a Ninja Monkey, a Robot Monkey and a Zombie Monkey.
  • One Hundred Percent Completion: Besides the campaign you had both Arcade leagues and challenge modes to complete.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lady Jane
  • Put on a Bus: The majority of the hero characters from the first Timesplitters never made it to the second game, and only Eight characters were in all three: Captain Ash, Harry Tipper, Chastity Detroit, The Badass Cyborg, Robofish, The Chinese Chef, The Gingerbread Man, and Duckman Drake.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Played straight in TimeSplitters 2. Completely inverted in Time Splitters: Future Perfect, where the single-action revolver, although effective in the right hands, needs to be cocked between each shot.
  • Robot Buddy: R-110 fits this during the last few levels of Future Perfect.
  • Robotic Torture Device
  • Rule of Fun: Dozens of the playable characters. Examples include a giant sock, a six-foot severed hand with matchsticks for arms and legs, a man-sized floating whale in a bowler hat surrounded by a school of fish, and four types of monkeys.
  • Running Gag: Each level in Future Perfect (except the first and last levels as well as Something to Crow About) has a drunk guy hidden in it somewhere. Some are hidden; some are on your path; all are hilarious.
  • Scattered Across Time and Space: TimeSplitters 2 has the TimeSplitters take the time crystals to various points of history to hide them from the protagonists.
  • Skyward Scream: DAMMIT!
  • Speed Run: The premise of the first game's campaign.
  • Shout-Out: Look here.
  • The Sixties: The levels involving Harry Tipper in Future Perfect fits this trope.
  • Sniping Mission: Common in Future Perfect, especially the occasional annoying Escort Mission variety.
  • Stable Time Loop: Played brilliantly straight in various vignettes throughout the third game, but averted for the overall plot arc.
  • Stalking Mission: Neo-Tokyo. Considered a Scrappy Level as a result.
  • Stock British Phrases: With a Victorian/Edwardian twist. Intended as parody, since the developers are in fact British.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: Just before leaving Jo-Beth Casey for U-Genix:

Cortez: It's time to s- [[[Beat]]] I gotta go.

  • Taxidermy Terror: Future Perfect has a taxidermied moose head in one room of a creepy old mansion that comes out of the wall with a zombie body as a mini-boss.
  • This Banana Is Armed: The Brick may sound stupid at first, but has a tendency to do a massive amount of damage.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: The Grenadiers.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Comes with the territory.
  • Token Minority:
    • A member of the Jones family makes an appearance in every game.
    • Chastity Detroit, one of a handful of characters to appear in all three games.
  • Tron Lines: Some of the future levels.
  • Troperiffic: The games, particularly TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, are basically built around every trope, fad and cliché you can find. Each time period is packed with as many staples of its fictional genre as possible.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: More like an Uncomfortable Waiting for the Elevator Moment as Cortez and his partner from the time period involved in one of the missions have to wait for the elevator to a corporation's secret lab.

Cortez: So... Been in the agency long?
Partner: Uh... Yeah... Three years in May.
Cortez: You get dental?
Partner: Yeah... Yeah...
Cortez: That's good...

  • Unwinnable: Toward the end of Something to Crow About, you must use the Electrotool to power segments of a Hard Light energy bridge. If you run out of Electrotool ammo halfway across, you'll be stranded on a divider between the segments with no way to go but down, down, down.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Anya, through the Temporal Uplink.
  • Wall of Weapons: "Wow, this is such a guys' room!"
  • What the Hell, Player?: A few times. Using the research equipment on the mutants in U-Genius U-Genix and exposing the scientist to tests in What Lies Below are probably the two biggest examples. You can also shoot a monkey Khallos has locked in a jail cell.
  • You Already Changed the Past:
    • This is done at least once a time period with a minimum of a future Cortez and a past Cortez (and sometimes a few more Cortez's as well). The interesting part is you'll find your future self which will save you from some disaster while you simultaneously fulfill a certain situation, then you'll go back in time and commit the act the future self did to save you while a past version of yourself does the mindless task you did already at that point in time. Regardless, it seems Cortez has already traveled back into the past by the time his past self arrives. This counts for the main villain as well.
    • This is also subverted at the end of TimeSplitters: Future Perfect where during the game Future Cortez and Past Cortez meet constantly, but then suddenly when you fight Crow, Anya has you fight alongside yourself. This wouldn't be weird if A) you are future Cortez and you never play as Past Cortez in this fight. B) after finishing the fight you go back to the future and the time splitters are destroyed. C) The world suddenly becomes lush and green. This effectively means that time travel does not have to be a case of "You Already Changed the Past" and more or less a choice of whether you already have or if you're going to screw the rules.