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TimeSplitters 2 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

TimeSplitters 2 Original Soundtrack Album Title: TimeSplitters 2 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Free Radical Design
Catalog No.: N/A
Release Date: January 1, 2006
Purchase: Download at Official Website


Following the commercial and critical success of Free Radical Design's TimeSplitters, a sequel was considered inevitable and it arrived on multiple platforms during 2002. Returning as sound director, Graeme Norgate took the time to produce a two hour score featuring both existing and novel approaches to the series' music. The score was eventually released for free through the composer's website.


Much of the music on TimeSplitters 2 develops the approach of TimeSplitters. For example, the main menu theme is just as groovy and moody as its counterpart, but features somewhat denser stylings and improved samplings. "Siberian Dam", on the other hand, is a cinematic orchestration that develops over some four mintues. It captures a cold and vast environment beautifully, exceeding even its equivalent on the Goldeneye score. For those looking for even darker tones, "Hospital" and "Scrapyard" will also impress with their contrasting approaches, the former a subdued ambient piece and the latter an intense industrial jam.

Compared to the TimeSplitters score, the sequel is even more diverse to account for the numerous demands of the game. There is everything from sleazy jazz tunes such as "Chicago Mobsters" and "Mobsters Nightclub", to regional setting themes such as "Mexican Mission" and "Aztec Ruins Exterior", to chiptune homages for the mini-games. Nearly all of these compositions are composed and implemented in an impressive way, demonstrating Norgate's mastery of a range of genres. However, some tracks do seem like imitations or parodies rather than anything more related to the TimeSplitters sound and often Norgate's individuality is lost. "Haunted Circus", for instance, sounds more like something Grant Kirkhope would create for a Banjo title and sounds out-of-place here.

While the diversity has its downsides, there are some major highlights among the featured music. "Neo Tokyo" is probably the most unique composition of the soundtrack, moving beyond its opening Blade Runner references into a soothing electronic mix peppered with exotic voice samples. "Mexican Mission" meanwhile is irresistible for the way it blends Morricone staples, like Spanish guitar and whistling, with Norgate's preferred acid beats. "Ice Station" is also a welcome if gimmicky supplement to the dark electro-orchestral themes with its use of thrashing guitars. Norgate also impresses with the credits theme, another futuristic techno anthem that is accessible as it is experimental.


In many ways bigger and better than its predecessor, the music for TimeSplitters 2 features richer stylings and enhanced implementation. However, the score too often loses the electro-orchestral sound that defined the series in favour of sometimes random experimentation. Every track in the soundtrack is entertaining as a result, but the overall experience is somewhat incohesive.

Overall Score: 8/10