Friday, 15 April 2011

Killing Time (3DO) - Guest Post

Mecha-neko returns for a second post in the long running FPS Friday feature.
Hi there! Don't mind me, I'm just...

That will be the last time I work the title of the game into a sentence.

I'm told that Killing Time is the pinnacle of 3DO gaming (don't laugh!). Every household owning a 3DO must own a copy of Killing Time, else they'd be missing out, they said. Be they true?

According to the FMV montage intro sequence, I play an Egyptologist who's decided to conduct an armed raid on an abandoned mansion in search of a Mysterious Egyptian Thing. A friend of mine found the Thing on an expedition, but the patron of said expedition decided to take it for themselves. As far as I can tell, they were entitled to take it if they wanted, so I'm playing as a jealous, cold blooded psychopath who can't accept other people having nice things.

This post contains scenes of violence, gore and 3DO graphics.

I'm torn whether these screens look more like the Oddworld games or The Chaos Engine. Don't quite see anybody getting very far trying to play an FPS with a great big flight stick, though.

Okay, just started, I'm already lost. I'm facing a bunch of bushes and I can't go forward.

The green orb is a health pickup. You start at 50% health, so I don't know why my guy didn't pick it up before the game started. Perhaps it fell out of his pocket just before the game began.

When you're lost and you don't know your way home, find an FMV policeman. If you can't find a living policeman, ghost policemen are an acceptable substitute. The virtua cop is warning me to stay away from Tess, but I cannot rest until I've recovered the Mysterious Thing.

I found these two fellows having an argument about where they should store the guns and ammunition as they smuggle them through here. They agree on 'more or less everywhere'.

I don't know whether this cutscene is designed to set the scene, or to serve as an explanation for why there would be ammunition crates spread around the grounds of the mansion. It's almost certainly the second one.

Before we reach the mansion, I must first master a vast, featureless, orangey-pink maze filled with digitized shotgun-wielding hunters. They're the only foe here, but they're dangerous enough.

They can shoot you from a great distance and they'll get one or two shots off before you can get them centred in your view. It's nearly impossible to sneak up on them. They take up to six pistol shots, and they rarely drop ammo.

The best strategy is to weave and bob about the place as fast as you can, considering the 3DO pad. For some reason, moving towards and away from them is more effective than dodging from side to side and it keeps them in front of you.

The combat in Killing Time is incredibly fast paced. If you're not running about the place like a mad thing, you're dead.

They're almost as dangerous the ducks.

Hundreds upon hundreds of ducks.

I thought the ducks were an enemy at first, which is why I have no ammo and one percent health. Turns out they're actually harmless and you can squash them by running over them.

Whatever part of the game which handles duck stomping isn't restricted to the player. Run around the outer edge of the room and the ducks will end up squashing each other to death.

When you kill an enemy, they'll either drop ammo, a small health pickup (a white orb) or a small un-health pickup (a red orb). There's a small delay before the pickup appears, so you're best running head-first into these duck groups then spinning around and seeing if you've uncovered anything of use. If you fumble around, you'll end up picking up the un-health powerups and missing the health powerups.

Those crates of smuggled ammunition we were promised are few and far between. I can only guess the ducks must have ate them.

After many hardships, I've found the mansion.

The FMV ghost butler tells me I'm not allowed in because I don't have an invitation. He doesn't do anything physically to stop me, nor is there any kind of apparent barrier. The character simply is too polite to raid the mansion uninvited.

Good job we've got a map, so we can figure out where the heck we have and haven't been.

This level is called 'Duck and Cover', ho ho.

Mysterious Egyptian Thing obtained!

This particular one allows me to see enemies on the map. It only lasts a couple of minutes, but it's a lifesaver. It doesn't distinguish between hunters and ducks, but it's better than stumbling into a room unprepared, giving the hunters a free shot while try to spin around to face them.

Damn straight, ghost butler. We're in the mansion!

Look at that massive open space up ahead, this would be a perfect time for a boss battle! Or perhaps a frantic stand-off against the mansion's insane residents! (Not that I would stand a chance in either situation. I have very little ammo and can't see a damned thing.)

Nothing. This place is completely empty. There's no enemies, ammo or powerups. I'm not even getting mocked by a evil spooky voice. I'm starting to lose my enthusiasm.

Here's an exciting cutscene where the ghost butler has an argument with another man about a large box that they're having trouble getting through a narrow door.

You're free to walk away from these ghost cutscenes, which is neat. They only appear if you're in the exact right place and it's tricky to get some of them to work.

Upstairs, a locked door.

Downstairs, a locked door.

Excuse me, I'm lost again. Can you help me?


Even though they're visually indistinguishable from the FMV cutscene ghost characters, these ladies smack me in the face and kill me.

I was also being attacked by two foot tall bipedal ants. They're dark brown and so is the carpet.

Killing Time is a hideous pile of mistakes tied together and called a game. Everything about it is pretty much bad. The strangest thing about it is that the level of bad is so consistent, it kinda works. If you can imagine how the ideal horror-themed first person shooter would be like within the limits of the 3DO's crappy hardware and crappy pad, you'd have Killing Time.

If you have a 3DO, get Killing Time. Then get help.


  1. Too bad! You just suck at this game and you blame it for that. Learn to play like a good old FPS game, not like CoD, which take you by the hand.

    1. I had a go at playing it like a Doom speed run: shoulder barging past all the enemies and leaping through the exit door. I actually found a completely different route through the mansion that the one I took in this post two years ago. I didn't find the 'invitation' key for the front entrance, but instead found myself going through sewers full of crushy boulders, armadillos, crones throwing wine bottles at me and gawd knows what else.

      The levels of KT are all interconnected, so it works out a bit like Harlequin... or Dizzy (brr). You get a map of the level you're on, but when you leave it's erased, you've really got to make your own level maps and what-level-links-to-where atlas to stand any chance. I loaded up my old save and was immediately hopelessly lost.

      I could totally see myself staying up, night after night, finding different routes through the mansion, making a note of where to find all the different coloured artifacts and keys until I'd mapped out the entire game, and was ready to hit New Game for one last incredible dash through the game, hitting all the targets and recovering that clock from the dastardly wosserface once and for all... if the game didn't look like the insides of a septic tank.

    2. And KT's enemies are nearly impossible to kill, of course, regardless of difficulty.

      One thing I'd like to revise about my post is that the 3DO's pad really isn't that crappy. I've played dozens more games on it since then and it's grown on me. KT was just innately awful to try to play.

    3. I've played it all the way thru twice and think it is a great game. Granted the graphics aren't great IF you compare it to xbox and ps2. If you compare it to PS1 it is 90% as good and two years earlier. The ONLY thing I agree with you on is the difficulty in aiming. I thought I was just having a bad time but will have to play it again to see if you were right about variations in the turn rate. For the time this is an awesome game.

  2. One of the best game on 3DO.

  3. BUMP

    The 3DO verson sucks, but there exists a PC verson which is pretty awesome. It looks slightly nicer and plays better; although its still a frustrating keyhunt through labyrinths with back tracking involved.

    Newer versons of windows (vista/7) wont run it; I hear the mac version might work. I use virtualbox running windows 98 to play a host of old games.

  4. Got stuck on hopscotch on the rocks where the exit was blocked by a keyed door just past the teleporting box area. Decided to back track and got stuck on the elevator shoes level coz theres a pit you fall into and need to raise a bridge anyone know how to get out of this problem

    1. The wine barrels on the walls are keys to raising the elevator shoes. There are 3 on the upper levels and 1 in the pit. Do the 1 last as you hit it and back up a little to ride the elevator platform up. There are 2 more key barrels on this level which open the two small blocks you will see on the map in a wall. Another suggestion is to save the game and figure out which of the blue gems activates FIND HIDDEN. Then reload game as the gem only works once and for 2 minutes. With reload this can be used on every level so just note where they are and restart game. Works for the barrels I mentioned also. They show up as lighter wall areas of map.

  5. It's a great game, even though it has it's flaws. It seems like you failed to understand the game mechanics and disliked it as a result. Getting into such games takes time, it's not like Doom where you can simply pick up and play. Don't judge a book by it's cover.

  6. Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack


Semi-Random Game Box