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Posted by drew10 on Nov 6, 2007
Chronos Twins Oxygen Games DS

Chronos Twins Oxygen Games DS

OK let’s face it time travel is cool! Forget all that going back and accidentally changing the future by having sex with you great grandmother rubbish, time travel rocks!

As you may have gathered from my rather bizarre introduction Oxygen Games, Chronos Twins puts you in control of a time travelling hero. A hero who is kitted out in a special suit that allows you to operate in two separate time zones simultaneously, nice!

At first glance Chronos Twins looks like a traditional side-scrolling platform shooter, but scratch the surface and you soon realise that it makes one of the most original uses of the dual screen setup so far.

Basically, as I mentioned earlier the game is split over two time zones, the past and the present. The past is shown on the bottom screen and the present on the top. Now here is the tricky part, you have to play both screens at the same time! Both screens appear the same but each one has subtle differences, for example the top screen will have a ledge that the bottom doesn’t enabling you to jump to a platform on the bottom screen that would otherwise be unreachable. Sounds confusing? It is, and it takes a huge amount of time to mould your brain into being able to concentrate on two screens at once, believe me!

Enemies can attack on both screens at any time and you have separate fire buttons for both the top screen and the bottom. Although thankfully, there is just one jump button for both timezones. You are alerted to coming danger on either screen by an alarm sound and a flashing bar on the screen informing of the impending doom. This is fine unless you are playing with the sound down or in a place where the speaker is inaudible then it becomes a major issue. You character can shoot both horizontally and vertically but annoyingly cannot move and shoot at the same time.

The end of level bosses are pretty standard but you have to use both timezones to your advantage to beat them, which is a nice touch. Also there are some levels where the gameplay differs slightly, one of which will see you racing through the level whilst being chased by a large gargoyle-like figure.

As you progress you are given power-ups and weapon upgrades. These come in a variety of styles from the usual holding down the fire button to charge a super weapon to being able to freeze time momentarily to enable you to pass obstacles.

The games graphics are excellent with bold, bright and colourful sprites and the character and level design is also worth a mention as both are superb. The audio also excels however with some good strong sound effects and well crafted music that really add depth to the overall experience.

Chronos Twins biggest plus also proves to be its biggest problem. The unique way the DS’s screens are utilised is a great idea but also makes the game incredibly difficult and without the sound of the alarm it is nigh on impossible. It surely goes without saying that a handheld game should not depend so greatly on sound as more often than not you will be playing it in an area where you just can’t hear it. As you progress through a level you do reach checkpoints but these are few and far between and it means replaying the same part of a level over and over until you memorise exactly what is going to happen and where. This constant replaying soon gets tiresome and frustrating, especially as the levels increase in difficulty.

I really want to love this game as its innovation deserves to be applauded, but the constant need to look at both screens proves to be annoying in the extreme. However, a few tweaks could have made Chronos Twins a classic. A slightly easier difficulty curve and a few more checkpoints to avoid replaying the same section time and again married with the ability to move and shoot at the same time would have helped a great deal. That said, despite the urge I have to throw my DS out of the window whilst playing it, I can’t seem to put it down. It could be that I am a glutton for punishment or more likely, Chronos Twins is annoyingly addictive.

Overall: 7/10

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