Author: Matthew Reilly
Published by:

The second novel from Australian author Matthew Reilly, Ice Station is an action-packed read from start to finish. I tend to think of Matthew Reilly's book as Jerry Bruckheimer movies on paper - action, well-done. What Reilly lacks in literary finesse and character development he more than makes up for in complex yet engaging plotlines and well-scripted and well-executed action sequences. Of course, as with any action story a certain suspension of disbelief is required (some of the sequences and science involved are somewhat dodgy) and if you are prepared to just sit-back and enjoy the ride then you're in for a great time.

The story begins with two divers from Wilkes Ice Station in Antarctica stumbling upon what appears to be a spacecraft. But before they can radio any further details, they are killed by an unknown force. The remaning scientists back at the Station send a distress signal, which is picked up by a United States Navy cruise ship currently docked in Sydney, Australia for repairs. A United States Marine Corps Marine Force Reconaissance Unit, led by Lieutenant Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield, is dispatched to investigate. Unknown to them, the distress signal has also been picked up by other countries, who send elite military units of their own in order to secure the object. To survive, Scarecrow and his 11-man team must fight off French paratroopers, elite SAS soldiers lead by his former mentor Brigadier-General Trevor J. Barnaby, his own countrymen and even enemies from within.

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Timesplitters 2

The Ice Station is the second map in the Timesplitters 2 Arcade Mode. Available immediately, it does not need to be unlocked to be played.

The Ice Station is built upon an asteroid, and exists for no apparent reason other than for use as a battleground. Other than its snowy terrain, the most obvious features of this map are the three bunkers. Two of them, the red and the green, are identical in construction. They are two stories tall, with a solid floor on ground level and a small walkway around the walls on the second level. Long, short windows allow a sniper to fire out of one of these bunkers into either the other, or the central one, provided he is willing to break the glass.

The central bunker is a virtual tower, standing three stories over the surrounding snowscape. The ground level features heavy concrete walls, with small, glassless windows, and a large ramp leading to the second. Up here, there is a walkway circling the interior, and large glass windows face outwards in all directions. There are also two stationary guns, pointed at the landing pad. These can fire standard bullets as well as homing missiles. Another ramp leads to the third and final story, which is surrounded by concrete walls and small long windows. Also, a look upward reveals that the structure actually has no roof, and affords a view of the starry, nebulous sky above.

The landing pad is a large metal structure, extending past the cliff that marks the edge of the asteroid. It is mostly barren, but has a few raised sections along the perimeter. Looking back at the asteroid, the red bunker is visible to the left, and the central bunker stands prominently ahead.

There are also three entrances to a simple series of underground tunnels. These connect and merge directly beneath the center of the main bunker. The tunnels are shielded by large blast doors that will open when a person nears, but will block any weapons fire.

Of course, this is a FPS, so there are weapons scattered throughout the map. On the default settings, the five weapons are (in order): SBP90 Machinegun, Tactical 12-Gague, Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Homing Launcher. The machinegun is the initial weapon, which all players receive. The shotgun can be found at the entrances to the large bunker. Sniper Rifles are present on the second story of all three bunkers, and the rocket launchers can be found on the ground level of the smaller two. The homing launcher is found in three places: at the end of the landing pad, the center of the underground tunnels, and at the top of the central bunker. It is worth noting that atop the bunker there are actually 2 homing launchers, each with 8 missiles.

There are also a number of powerups to be found within the map. Although no Health nor Armor is available here, there is a multitude of Speed spheres, as well as a Shrink and a Cloak. The speedups are found beside the smaller bunkers, while the shrinker is opposite the red bunker across the path to the landing pad. The invisibility is located where the landing pad meets the path.

This map is definitely my favorite. It is more open than any other map in the game (possibly excluding The Hanger), and the freedom allows for a wider range in play styles. For instance, one of my family’s favorite setups involves setting all the weapons to sniper rifles, and playing a game without any other weapons. Although we all know all the hiding places, it is very fun and challenging trying to snipe while avoiding being sniped yourself. Alternatively, we will use the Explosives weapons preset, and place Proximity Mines over the entrance ways to all the bunkers. It is also very fun to throw Remote Mines onto other character’s backs, and detonate after you are clear. It is possible to accumulate many simultaneous kills through this method.

  • My own play experience, verified at:

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