TimeSplitters 2 HD Remake a Possibility?

Well, this will be somewhat exciting news for longtime fans of “TimeSplitters 2”. The developer, Free Radical Design, had an HD version of the game in development right before the studio’s unfortunate shut down according to what an ex-Rare employee has stated. Team members Steve Ellis, Martin Wakeley and Lee Musgrave divulged the new information in an interview. “We had an ‘HD’ downloadable version of TimeSplitters 2 in development at Free Radical in 2008,” ex-Goldeneye programmer Ellis explained. “I don’t know what happened to that but yes, I’d love to see it released at some point.

“Maybe it could be the catalyst that is required in order to raise enough interest in TimeSplitters 4 that a publisher might want to fund it. Rare outsourced some of the conversion/development of Banjo Kazooie for Xbox Live Arcade, and it was kind of a test case for us to see what could be achieved in terms of developing with a partner, keeping our costs low and making some revenue,” Musgrave explained. “You can make your own conclusions as to how that turned out by the fact that we didn’t move on to any of the other games you mention. We came close to firing off a conversion of Killer Instinct a few times, but there were licensing obstacles to that, and it never really had enough perceived interest to push it forward.” Other franchises from the group’s Rare days have also struggled to make a reappearance, although Banjo Kazooie did turn up on Xbox Live Arcade.

Rumors are now swirling around the internet that this project may indeed be picked up by another developer. Sources are still scattered on who exactly might grab the franchise and gift of completing this much needed HD revival of a cult classic. Until then we the gamers will have to wait and see what exactly comes of this, and who will finish the job. For more news on this or any other topic be sure to keep it locked onto Gamers Xtreme, and as always, “Game On!”

Top 10 First-Person Shooters of All Time

First Person Shooters are one of the most beloved, yet over-saturated genres currently in the gaming industry. While there are a lot of great ones out there, there are an exceptional bunch that stand out over the others. Here are my personal favorites in the industry that truly stood out:

10) Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas

Ubisoft welcomed gamers with the tactical FPS, Rainbow Six Vegas, when it hit the market back in the Fall of 2006. With it’s hybrid of FPS mechanics and TPS cover system, you got a nice blend that gave gamers something different from your typical FPS. Couple that with some great environmental design, strong soundtrack and gripping story, with an ending no one sees coming, and you’ve got a stellar game here that FPS fans owe themselves to play.

9) Doom 64

Doom has always been a sweet FPS that many hold dear to them. However, what set Doom 64 apart from the prior installments was the creepy mood it captured. Environments were much more expansive than ever before and the audio really set a strikingly creepy vibe. In the previous ones, you’d have bumpin’ rock tunes to listen to while shooting away at mutants. This one had you sitting tensely thanks to atmospheric tunes that set your mind in a more “horror” mentality. It was still the same game we grew to love, only evolved into a horror state.

8) Half-Life 2

When it comes to FPSs, Valve is certainly known for providing groundbreaking experiences and that came with Half-Life. We had never seen or played any game like it before and to this day, still stands out as a revolutionary experience. Many years later, after much hype and demand, Valve released the highly anticipated sequel, Half-Life 2, to much critical and consumer reception. Implementing a whole new physics engine that had never been seen before, along with a gripping narrative, Half-Life 2 set out to create a new standard in FPSs and did exactly that.

7) BioShock

“Son, you were born to do great things…” Upon hearing that line, the airline you’re on begins to malfunction and crashes in the ocean. As you swim to the surface, you look at the remnants of plane, astounded by the visuals Irrational Games achieved. BioShock easily has a lot going for it. Set in alternate 1960s era, you’ll be greeted with a mystifying narrative, outstanding visuals, strong environment designs, fine-tuned combat and some of the best water effects seen in a game to date. The city of Rapture was a joy to explore as you never knew what to expect next.

6) Resistance: Fall of Man

To start off, Insomniac Games is one of my favorite developers. Granted, I never really got around to playing the Spyro games on PS1 but I started with their Ratchet & Clank titles on PS2 and damn, were those flawless games. At the release of the PS3, there’s no denying that there was a lack of solid titles to pick up alongside the pricey system…except for Insomniac’s “Resistance: Fall of Man”. Not only was it the best PS3 launch title, it was one of the best FPSs ever created. Solid visuals, a mystifying story, tight gameplay, lengthy campaign, intense 32 player online mode, suspenseful soundtrack and some of the best sound effects in a shooter, Resistance: Fall of Man is one FPS that should not have been missed.

5) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

While Call of Duty is turning into a mundane yearly affair for many, there was a recent time where we didn’t trash on the game as much. COD4: MW was simply the best one as it wasn’t too heavily structured as being a mindless shooter. Easily the best campaign in the series, it also had the most polished and fine tuned multiplayer. As the series went on, they aimed for a “more is better” approach on multiplayer which in turn, made the series become a turn off to many die-hard fans of COD4.

4) Turok 2

Turok 2 is the definition of how an FPS adventure is done right. Brilliant weapons, sharp visuals, environments full of detail, phenomenal cinematic soundtrack and finely tuned shooting mechanics. This game would eat up an easy 20-40 hours just to get through the rich campaign. After this installment, the franchise fell from grace with the questionable Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion, atrocious Turok: Evolution and mediocre reboot that hit the current gen simply known as Turok.

3) Perfect Dark

Another stellar FPS to hit the N64 (and later with an HD remaster on XBLA) was toward the end of the system’s lifecycle. Perfect Dark pushed the visuals of the N64 beyond anything thought imaginable on the system at the time. It built upon and perfected the gameplay mechanics made for GoldenEye and had a ton of content to take on. Awesome weaponry, outstanding soundtrack, a mostly solid campaign (starts amazing but begins to feel a bit jarring towards the end), one of the most robust multiplayers that still competes with today’s standards, and flawless mechanics made this an FPS that couldn’t be missed.

2) GoldenEye 007 (N64)

No matter how you put it, GoldenEye was one of the pinnacles of FPSs to ever grace gamers. At the time, there was really nothing quite like it. A solid campaign that made players complete a variety of objectives, along with an untouchable 4-player multiplayer that provided for some of the most memorable moments when playing with friends. The game added further complexity by adding cheats to unlock by completing missions on specific difficulties while speed running them. Simple unlocks consisted of the infamous DK Mode and Paintball Mode, but truly skilled players could unlock Invincibility by completing the Facility level on 00 Agent in under 2:10, which is incredibly impressive.

1) TimeSplitters 2

TimeSplitters 2 was developed by the same team that was behind the flawless GoldenEye 007 back on the N64 but also behind the game that shut them down, Haze. Regardless, TimesSplitters 2 had it all. An over-the-top, fun campaign, deep and fully customizable multiplayer and a full-blown Map Maker so that you can not only make your own multiplayer maps for you and your friends to duke it out on, but also create Single Player missions! Top this with nostalgic mechanics from GoldenEye, a brilliant soundtrack and a rock solid 60 fps and you’ve got a package that is truly astonishing.

Did you play these titles? If so, which ones were your favorites? Sound off in the comments below!

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Top 10 Nintendo GameCube Soundtracks

The Nintendo GameCube will always remain one of my favorite consoles to date.  It had some truly great titles along with some of the best exclusives during it’s time period.  Let’s take a look at my top 10 favorite soundtracks on the GameCube after a decade of it’s release.

– F-Zero GX

F-Zero GX was the first F-Zero title to not be developed by Nintendo.  In collaboration with SEGA, they had AV (Amusement Vision, known for the original two Super Monkey Ball titles) behind the development…and they surely nailed the franchise perfectly.  Crazy sense of speed? Check.  Outstanding graphics? Check.  Tight controls? Check.  Insanely awesome soundtrack? Double check.  F-Zero GX was the definition of a stellar racing title and the soundtrack tremendously aided in this department.  It was hard to pick only one song to demonstrate, but Green Plant’s theme was the one that always made me max out the volume on my TV.  Still can’t believe I completed this on Master Difficulty…anyway, take a listen below!

 

– Resident Evil 4

“Destined to be the greatest survival horror game of all time” is the quote that Game Informer stated on the back of the box of RE4…they couldn’t have been more correct.  Resident Evil 4 still stands as my favorite game of all time and if you haven’t played it yet, shame on you.  However, I’m not here to tell you why the game was beyond incredible, but I’m here to tell you how remarkable the soundtrack was.  Every song in the game either gave you a creepy vibe of what lurked in the area ahead or amped up the intensity factor drastically.  Couple that with some of the best sound effects in a game and you’ve got audio design at its finest.  Choosing only one song was incredibly difficult to display for you readers but I chose the one song that really got my adrenaline going during the extra mode, The Mercenaries.

 

– Super Monkey Ball

Yes, that’s right.  Super Monkey Ball is on this list, but let me explain why before you quickly dismiss it.  Super Monkey Ball was a launch title for the GameCube that I had zero interest in.  As a matter of fact, I remember going into Blockbuster aiming to rent Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.  Naturally, since it was a new release, there was no copy there to rent and the only available game that was sitting on the shelf was Super Monkey Ball.  Now I remembered reading Nintendo Power’s review for it and while they praised it, I still had no interest in it.  I didn’t want to leave Blockbuster without renting a game for my ‘Cube so I decided to give it a shot.  Well, after firing it up on the console, I started the first level and thought, “whoa, the game runs in 60 FPS and has some pretty catchy music!”  As I kept playing, I instantly grew fond of the songs within the game, no matter how challenging the game became.  Granted, you needed nerves of steel to complete Expert Mode (proud completionist right here…not trying to brag or anything) but it was still addictive to keep trying.  The soundtrack was a motivator for me to keep trying as well.  It just fit the game in a way so few do.  While the Super Monkey Ball franchise has gotten dramatically worse after the second installment (due to Amusement Vision not being behind the development), this first installment was the one that will always remain fondly in my memories.  Check out the song for the first level below!

 

– Viewtiful Joe

Viewtiful Joe was an interesting game.  I remember hating the game at first wondering why it got praised from the critics.  However, after giving the game a second playthrough, I started to really grasp the gameplay mechanics and really appreciate everything the game had to offer.  This wasn’t your average side-scroller where you could literally pull off the same moves to best your opponents.  This game demanded your attention, even on the Easy difficulty.  While the story wasn’t exactly my main motivator to progress through the game, the humor incorporated was pretty well done.  The soundtrack on the other hand was another story.  The game’s tracks were really fast-paced and only added to the intensity level of game’s difficulty.  Take a listen to the track below to get an idea of how fast-paced the music is!

 

– TimeSplitters 2

“Heir apparent to GoldenEye” was the main quote on the front of the box from Electronic Gaming Monthly.  Well, seeing that developer Free Radical consisted mostly of members from RareWare that were behind GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, I’d say the statement is entirely valid.  TimeSplitters 2 was a true classic that provided limitless hours of entertainment and creativity.  The creativity part comes in the fact that you had a truly in-depth Map Maker feature that let you create not only multiplayer maps, but single-player missions with your own objectives and enemy AI that you programmed yourself!  As of today, I have yet to see a console game that matches this map maker mode.  The coolest part to the Map Maker was choosing what song you wanted in your newly created map.  The tough part was actually choosing one song to fit your map seeing that each song was entirely unique and memorable.  Check out the track below to hear what I mean!

 

– Luigi’s Mansion

A launch title that received mixed reactions, Luigi’s Mansion puts you in the role of Mario’s brother packing a proton…er…Poltergust 3000 to capture ghosts in a haunted mansion in which Mario was last seen.  Personally, Luigi’s Mansion was one of my favorite Gamecube titles to ever grace the console.  Luckily, we’re seeing a proper sequel 10 years later on the 3DS.  However, one element that really stood out was the soundtrack.  I can’t help but hum with Luigi (who’s humming the theme himself) as I go through the creepy mansion.  Heck…I hum the theme sometimes when I walk around my house when it’s pitch black.  Take a listen below!

 

– Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Silicon Knight’s under-appreciated psychological horror title, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, was a really unique experience.  I remember playing this game late at night and all of a sudden the volume on my TV actually raised to the max on it’s own, then muted it…then I decided to save and shut off the game until the game said it was erasing my entire memory card.  I remember cursing up a storm wondering “how the hell is this possible?!”  I shut off the system, rebooted it, checked my memory card and everything was still there.  The game was completely messing with me.  It was at this moment that I knew the game was going to be a one of a kind experience.  Eternal Darkness’s atmosphere was incredibly creepy and aside from the psychological tests the game will put you through, the soundtrack was enticing.  Each track fits the era you adventure through from the moment you start until the moment you reach the final battle.  Take a listen at the awesome final boss battle music below to get a taste of how well done the soundtrack was!

 

– SSX 3

One of my personal favorite games of all time, SSX 3 took everything that worked perfectly in the SSX franchise and made it open-world across three peaks on one mountain.  You were able to actually board down the mountain from the top of peak 3 to the bottom of peak 1 without a single load time and it would take roughly 30 minutes!  However, what’s snowboarding without an awesome playlist of songs…and SSX 3 delivered.  SSX 3 had a dynamic soundtrack by playing certain segments of songs at certain sequences of the level, which really immerses the player throughout their traversal down the mountain.  The licensed soundtrack had a ton of variety and while every song might not have tailored to you, there were always a handful that would stay on your playlist to listen through.  Take a listen to Andy Hunter’s “Go” which was one of the main themes of the game!

 

– Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

The remake of Hideo Kojima’s classic for the PS1, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was the original MGS combined with all the gameplay elements from MGS2.  It was a well made remake of a much beloved classic but the one change that was made which initially annoyed me was the soundtrack.  When I heard it was not the same soundtrack, I was wondering, “Why would they change a perfect soundtrack?”  Well, after booting the game up, my initial thoughts were gone and by the end I thought, “Damn, that was a really good soundtrack!”  It was essentially most of the same songs remade with a different tone to them but then there were entirely new tracks as well.  One in particular was Psycho Mantis’s boss battle theme.  In MGS for PS1, every boss had the same epic song.  In the remake, every boss had their own theme.  Each song was very well composed and ended up sticking in my head a good chunk of the time upon completion.  Take a listen to Psycho Mantis’s battle music below…and don’t worry, you won’t need to swap your controller for him to know that you’re listening to it.

 

– Super Smash Bros. Melee

The classic fighting title for the N64 returned as a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube and what a sequel it was!  Super Smash Bros. Melee was one of the best launch titles that was ever released for any system.  I remember being in eighth grade and right after Christmas, it was the one game everyone was talking about besides MGS2.  After spending hundreds of hours playing this with my friends, it’s no wonder the music stuck in my head.  Take the iconic songs from classic Nintendo franchises and touch them up to 2001’s standards and that’s how to sum up SSBM’s soundtrack.  Take a listen to Hyrule Temple’s song below to hear how they took the infamous song from “The Legend of Zelda II: Link’s Awakening” and made it better!


There you have it readers.  Naturally there were many other titles that I wanted to add to this list but these were my personal top 10 soundtracks for the GameCube.  Agree or disagree, sound off your thoughts in the comments!