I haven't actually written a proper, non-contest post in such a while, with the exception of a few blog things and the weekly audio-reading and weekly indie story. Yet of course I am writing for a contest, the #archdruidcontest, but that's really besides the point as it finally allows me to go back and be nostalgic. (Not in the romanticized way of deriving enjoyment out of the past, but reminiscing of my past struggles and achievements.) Nonetheless, I have hinted some of the times my love for video gaming in my posts with just some of the characters I use in contest posts and, obviously, in the comment-response boxes whenever I get the chance. In sincerity, this the first time in a while I can just gather myself and concert and deposit something central into Steemit without having to necessarily abide to rules.
But's lemme rail unto the contest's intent, I have been playing games ever since I touched the Nintendo Cube (or 64, my mind's hazy on that...) and played all sorts of games ranging from Nintendo games like Mario 64, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Party 7, WarioWare Smooth Moves (Ashley's best character!) and Wii Fit+Sports. Of course, there were other childhood games (though a lot not meant for kids!) like Monkey Balls (from Sega), Mafia 1, Doom 1+2, Quake 1+3+4, COD 1-5, Bioshock 1-2 and Halo 1-3+ODST+Reach. And I would consider even games from my teens and PC playtime as a part of my childhood, some being: Half Life 1-2 (including expansions), TF2, Civ V, Sam&Max (Telltale's) and Fallout NV. But of course, there's a reason I mention my childhood, because it had the one true game that had gotten me to love games.
In fact, without such childhood developments as I did have, I probably would have a different path by now. I probably wouldn't even been here writing right now or still holding to this game even when I know a proper remaster or addition will never come out. Yet liken to reminiscences to the past, I certainly do have to give my due honors to such - even if it's just only for the gaming aspects I like nowadays, as an eclectic. But I'm merely rambling here right now!
And if the box-art didn't tip you off and me mentioning childhood, then I say it loud and clear: Timesplitters!
Info on Timesplitters:
Timesplitters 1-3 were a blast as a child to play, just attempting to one-hundred percent everything and having fun at the same time. Not only that, but talking with my friends about it and playing split-screen coop was equally a blast! I mean: the story was captivating, the challenge-arcade mode was sometimes tedious but other times fun, co-op was worth dipping your toes into and sinking in your teeth later and multiplayer was all around crazy! But of course, as I go on I shall, intentionally or not, spoil the game; however, since it's hard to acquire a genuine copy (maybe harder to emulate!) and the only way to experience it is through YT clips still standing, I shall feel no care to tell you to find out the story or gameplay. You might as well spoil yourself here or become a pirate today! (Lest Timesplitters Rewind finally comes out, but recent events are showing instability in just completing the task alone.)
So, if my ramblings before didn't somehow spoil the gameplay, then my ramblings about the story, as general and unspecific as I can get as I hadn't played it since a decade ago, shall spoil the story. Timesplitters 1-3 is set in the future with a war between humans and time-travelling aliens, fighting to end each other's races, and, surprisingly, the aliens were just bio-agents created by a mad scientist to fuck shit up. We mainly embody Sgt. Cortes, a high-ranked and skilled field agent sent in to take care of this disaster from its roots. All three games handle the time-travelling aspect in the story a lil' different: one game you go back in time and are disguised appropriately to that time and another game you're simply Sgt. Cortes with a game-appropriate historical figure. Yet, all ending up to simply unscrew history and preventing the war from ever happening.
The gameplay, other than aforementioned, was surely unique for its time. One that certainly would be eccentric nowadays, but was common practice, that Free Radical improved upon, was using the analog to aim like in Golden-eye (which wouldn't be present in Timesplitters 3, just having the regular shooting scheme like in COD/Halo). Going on to the missions aspect: some you have to stealth (up to a certain point), others you can go in guns-blazing; yet both aspects felt like they complimented each other and the story was the mere excess that firmly gelled these two together. Going back to the arcade-challenge mode, take that name literally and take it to its logical conclusion: yep, what you might imagine is in the game like time-trials, collection challenges, kill x amount, survival, one-weapon only, restrictions and so on and so on. Split-screen co-op and multiplayer, though not wholly innovative, certainly was a nice bonus to a great game for me to play as a child; and variety all around came inside of these two modes, not only in the actual gameplay but the flavors as well.
Now this following section shall deal with the presentation of not only the game itself but my challenges with such. But as I probably haven't emphasized enough here, and shall consciously state now: just because it's a challenge necessitates not that it makes the game bad and necessitates not a dumbing down so the game can be enjoyed. In fact coming as a great aide to the game at certain points and making the player come back to it more often. Yet let's not waste time and get going!
The real challenge:
The first challenge, which was hard to master but easy to learn, was the control scheme of Timesplitters 1-2. Now they were easy to learn, but how to master them was hard. I say this because of how interconnected a scheme for controls is with every aspect of gameplay. If you wanted to be the best, then you'd memorize and adjusted your body to work with the control scheme of the game. Take for example the minute but game-changing control schemes between COD and Halo: for a person that plays casually, it takes only a few multiplayer sessions to get adjusted; yet people that delve in real hard to games often feel out of shape when moving between the two series, it's similar to walking forwards all your life to now walking backwards. Not only that, but if you wanted to get gold rankings in every challenge, it required you study the map crazily and knowing what movement tied in with what part of the map. (And mind you, I hundred-percent completed all three. They were pains-in-the-ærses to complete.) It doesn't help that aiming, except for three, was also based on an analog stick, so your gun was free to move around and not held tight with the movement and torquing of your body.
And I like to remind people from time to time that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. For every challenge listed after here, only amplifies the first challenge but is made more difficult thanks to the first challenge. The second challenge was the higher difficulty levels found in all three games - and Timesplitters didn't fool around with difficulty. The higher you went, the expected health raise and enemy count increase was there, we can trace this back to Doom for anyone's care, and that wasn't the main factor. The main factors were the more randomized and seemingly unfair enemy placements, the increase in the number of challenges to complete and the sparser amounts of ammo. These three factors, in conjunction to the control scheme, really amplified the seriousness one had to take in each level in order to ace it solidly on the first go. This will especially be true when I get to talking of the third challenge right now: the arcade-challenge mode itself.
Admittedly, there are easy challenges that helps you get in place for more serious and tougher variations of that challenge. Admittedly, 'twas incremental and not totally unfair, much like playing on lower difficulties to higher difficulties in story mode. Admittedly, I was a mere child playing it for the first time and I didn't receive help from my father or mother. Yet, much like being thrown Macbeth and told to read it without reading other works of Shakespeare beforehand, they were still god damn hard as the difficulty increased and the challenge amounts increased with such. And going back to the first challenge, sometimes chaining movements was required to ace it in order to achieve the medal and get the reward from completing the challenge. And, to harp on this, much like control schemes, you'd better been studying and understanding the rules of the challenges in order to best deal with them and abuse them to win the challenge. And there were many, as previously stated and shall not bear repeating, and you'd better know how to best solve it with previous knowledge when the difficulty only spiked higher and higher.
Yet, I'm a person trying to start a rule of fours here. My fourth challenge with the game was actually trying to play the game on a time crunch when I had places to be all the time. Now this is a personal one, but booting up the console and starting the game up ate some time. Yet since I couldn't directly waste hours upon hours upon it, I had to organize my time with playing Timesplitters and all sort of other house-school related tasks. This especially made it hard to overcome the three challenges I had earlier stated (which I would overcome as I had 100% the game) and, nonetheless, made me screw up a whole lot when time was running out. This pressure alone made me do stuff fast, forget crucial details on accident and make me have to replay stuff so I can just ace it and get my shirt saying I done it. Yet I am not done just rounding off the post...
As I said before and shall dare to invoke it again, just because I had challenge over these didn't turn me down from Timesplitters 1-3. In fact, it only made want to master it more (and in a Lacanian twist, the game mastered me more as I mastered it). Regardless, I invoke Timesplitters when I could've easily have chosen many different and many more difficult games from my past that I certainly still love to this day. Some simply being WarioWare Smooth Moves, Civ V on Difficulty X, Borderlands and Bioshock on the highest difficulty or games that I can totally explain right now but I forgot the names.
Yet, because I fundamentally saw this as a stepping stone towards gaming and my love for it, I wanted to honour it in any way I really could. Some of the games above I just listed equally netted me into games as well, even the ones I remember their face but forgot the name. And there's some that I hadn't listed as well, though certainly not challenging, that I had immense fun with and got me more into gaming as well. My eclecticism in the gaming sphere makes me just love games of all types as long as I don't find them as a bore, damn you childhood exposure!
And to hammer in that point, I really could've gone at great lengths talking about WarioWare Smooth Moves and yacked my gums off there. I could've talked about all the lil' micro-games, how they get more complex and shorter in completion time as you progress in each area and what ultimately gives it replay value. Heck, just the ways it brings you back to the game can also be universally found in Timesplitters 1-3; yet in respect to the two, I shall directly state that it should be obvious that their particular implementation of these universal traits and how such plays off each other makes them unique enough despite sharing them. And I probably find a way to shoe-horn Timesplitters in that post if I could when I am uttering a lot about WarioWare Smooth Moves; yet I went with Timesplitters in the end.
Because in the end, Timesplitters hit home with me as the first game I actually enjoyed and found myself continually playing it over and over again. Like a journey, it never stopped getting crazy and fun; despite the interruptions. Yet I finally reached the end, made my nostalgia of such relived and scratched my head with what next, even when playing other games like Resistance 1+2 and Super Monkey Balls. Timesplitters, for all its ugly spots , is still beautiful, and ultimately belongs with other video-games that contributes towards making people who played games of old appreciate what advancements gaming has made nowadays.