Timecop

SNES

Review by Matt Paprocki

JVC

Action

Graphics: 2

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 1

Overall: 2


A while back, I read an interview with a game developer (my mind is limited and I don't remember which one) and they stated that no programmer/designer sets out to make a bad video game. Bull. I've played "Timecop." There's no way you can sit there and tell me someone could not have the intent to make something like this. It had to planned.

Based off a movie which in turn is based off a comic book, players control the unfortunately named Max Walker in his quest to stop this evil guy named Kleindast. The catch here is that both of these guys can travel through time with some kind of bracelet strapped to their wrists. You'll see the future and the past in this not-so-terrific time travel tale.

This game has loading screens. No, this isn't some unreleased SNES CD game; it's a cartů and it loads. A lot. What actually necessitates the loading is baffling, but it does. Everything here is digitized, one those techniques that can work either with you or against you. Here, it ruins everything.

Generally, a game packed with animation is a good thing, but here is just adds to the games laundry list of problems. Everything is played on a one-dimensional plane like a standard platformer while combat is in the same vein as any beat-em-up. The key problem here is that the combat is broken on every level. Each animation routine plays through in an agonizingly slow fashion, giving each of the enemies an advantage. The most powerful move as Max's disposal is an uppercut. If he tried this move in a boxing match, even the most inexperienced boxer would blast him with a right cross.

Punching and kicking are not the only maneuvers Max has brought with him for this journey. No, he also snagged a gun, but failed to bring a decent amount of ammunition. Why you would ever go on a time traveling suicide mission with only six bullets in your pocket is beyond me, but maybe he just didn't know about the hit detection problems he was about to have.

It's funny how things work here, but landing a blow to an enemy sends them flying backwards, out of range of a second attack. This obviously allows the gun-toting enemies to counter attack. You can occasionally get a second shot in, it just kind of depends on what mood the cart is in. This is exactly what I mean when I say this game was planned to be awful. No sane designer in the world would implement something like this unless they wanted to.

Even if our hero could land every shot he wanted to, he would be dead in a matter of minutes anyway. Everything hurts this guy. Steam, short falls, off screen enemies, elevators, etc. You could supply this guy with a morphine drip and he would still be in pain. For such an important mission, you would think someone would select a person with better qualifications and also calibrate his wristband to prevent him from starting the entire level over when he does die.

Since everything gets the digitized treatment and the artists are far from talented, it looks awful. Backgrounds are devoid of color and the resolution provided by the console really works against the game. Yes, as mentioned, the animation does look decent, but since it causes gameplay issues, it's not a positive factor.

Things don't get much better in the audio department. I believe it would fall into the techno category, but the torrid music sounds like a cat getting his intestines removed through his mouth. There's a little voice work here, but it's nothing more than grunts and groans.

Even the youngest designers on an Apple II have more desire than the people who made this mess. "Timecop" easily secures a spot in many "worst of" lists and it deserves every one of them. Aspiring developers, please take note. When the first thing you do I try and make your games look good and you fail, just stop there. We shouldn't have to suffer through your mistakes.

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Last updated: Saturday, December 04, 2004 08:58 AM