Killing Time

a game by Studio 3DO
Platform: 3DO
Genre: Action
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 5.5/10 - 4 votes
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The biggest advantage CD-based games have over cartridges is the amount of information they can hold. This extra capacity is most effectively used to store vast quantities of cinemas, video sequences and digitized speech. Studio 3DO demonstrates the system's capability with their new release, Killing Time. This Doom-style first-person 3-D action/adventure game will keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation throughout the entire journey.

After being witness to the first moments of the introduction cinema, you'll be pulled into the vortex of a plot that gets better with every second. The quality of and the time spent to make this movie-like intro are worth the price of the game alone.

Your mission is to search the grounds of the Conway Estate and look for clues and information that will help solve the riddle of the cult's mysterious disappearance. During your journey you will come across a variety of weird flashbacks featuring ghostly figures that slowly reveal clues and guide you through the levels. These cinema encounters don't just stop the game, but run right in your character's field of view blending video and game play like nothing else before. These encounters will make your eyes swell to the size of saucers as the images suddenly appear sometimes for no apparent reason, scaring you half to death.

Musically, Killing Time cycles from quiet and calming backgrounds to wild mambo-style tracks depending where you are in the level. Most of the excerpts have a sinister feel, causing fright without the help of spirited visitors or encounters with humans and mystic creatures.

Encounters come in the shape of people, animals, mutated fantasy creatures and mysterious ghostly forms not of this Earth. They all can easily damage you with anything from normal guns to phantom fireball bursts. The damage adds up, taking your health percentage down (just like most 3-D search-and-destroy games). To regain your precious health, you gather assorted health spheres located at designated points in the level. Killing enemies also gives you a chance to grab the health left behind by the enemy before it disappears, In the maze leading up to the castle, acquire some free Ā«health by killing the prey that the hunters. Shoot the ducks with your gun, or if you don't want to waste the ammo, stomp the quackers with the heel of your boot to rob them of their energy. They don't cause you any injuries but are fun to stomp just to shut them up.

With many cinemas, digitized speech and tough enemies, Killing Time could be the best title available for the 3DO. However, the single problem of game speed quickly arises. All of the action and the depth of Killing Time make it play very slowly. Moving and turning is very slow and choppy tohile you are trying to aim quickly at a bunch of enemies who are targeting you. It is so choppy in fact, you end up under-or overshooting the enemy every time. The game is still enjoyable and exciting to play, but for the player the choppy movement just to see what is hiding in the next room. If you think that mystery games--even those with only break-even action are worth trying, then by all means give Killing Time a shot. At worst, it will still allow you to do what the name on the box says.

Game Reviews

In this one-player Doom-style mazelike shoot-em-up game, you're trapped inside an island mansion. It wouldn't be so bad, except that you're trapped with a bunch of party rejects from the '20s.

A ghostly spirit needs your help unraveling a mystery that prevents the island spirits from resting in peace. Scads of weapons, a horde of the undead romping through the mansion, and 30 killing zones make for ample run-n-gun action and fun.

Why now you know the routine: If it moves, shoot it! Killing Time is more than just a Doom clone, though - it's an adventure.

It's the 1930s and you're investigating the mysterious Conway Estate, where a rich-girl occultist disappeared along with her gang of party animals. It all has to do with finding an ancient Egyptian water clock (Killing Time...get it?), but that's not the only "thing" you'll set your sights on.

Time for Killing

Killing Time is good thumb-mashing fun. It's a regular ghoul safari as hordes of creatures, including zombie duck hunters, killer clowns, and disembodied demon heads, slaver after you. But your brain gets a workout, too, as you search through 20 levels to find magic objects and solve the Conway mystery.

Lurking specters make your trigger finger itch, but skittish controls will initially try your patience. Aiming with the sensitive directionals takes practice, and two control gremlins will haunt you: You must press two buttons to switch weapons, and hold a button and press directionals to aim up and down.

Clone with Class

At least Killing Time's visuals keep the action menacing.

The animation moves briskly, though it's no speed demon, especially compared to Wolfen-stein 3D (see ProReview, this issue). The character graphics aren't knockouts, either, but they're definitely eerie. In a great display of graphics sophistication, however, the firearms are four real-life classics: the Colt .45 Peacemaker, the 1932 Remington Pump shotgun (model 870), the 1928 Thompson Sub-machine Cun, and even the obscure Kleinschmidt Flamethrower.

Turn out the lights, and topnotch sounds create major creeps. Even though attacking monsters lack audio personality, moans, shrieks, and gurgles echo menacingly throughout the nightmarish mansion. The music also weirds out the atmosphere, ranging from eerie circus standards to ghostly new age jazz.

Make a Killing

Doom warriors should corral the controls, and they'll certainly enjoy this worthy ghosthunting expedition. Killing Time's a great way to kill some time.

ProTips:

  • Some dead ends you'll find In the automap mode are hidden doorways.
  • You can scamper past some creatures unharmed, such as the rolling slugs.
  • For steadier shots during turns or sideways movement, simultaneously press Left and Right Shift or Right and Left Shift
  • Double your guns. There's a second Colt .45 hidden in the Conway Maze.
  • Ghosts provide valuable clues, but they never change their stories.
  • The Colt.45 , Peacemaker is very accurate at long-range.
  • Two Colts lay down massive firepower. Center targets between the pistols.
  • Sweep the Kleinschmidt Flamethrower from left to right to spread the napalm.

Snapshots and Media

3DO Screenshots

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