FEAR: Multiplayer mode revealed

Monolith have a tradition of doing things differently. First they gave us the chance to scamper across ceilings as an otherworldly assassin in Aliens vs Predator 2, then to camp it up in No One Lives Forever before resurrecting the legendary light cycle races in Tron 2.0.

But, despite making these three inventive and original first-person shooters, it is FEAR that looks like being their most intriguing game yet.

It stars a genetically-enhanced and all-round butch bunch of soldiers, known as First Encounter Assault Recon, who are sent into an aerospace compound to discover how a special forces team ended up with the consistency and combat effectiveness of tinned tomatoes.

And, if that wasn't a creepy enough opening, it quickly takes a turn for the worse when the Franken-infantry's technology fails and a spectral girl in a blood-red coat appears.

While the plot of the solo game sounds like Don't Look Now and Aliens gaffer-taped together, it's the multiplayer options that have pricked up our ears. For the major surprise in Monolith's tower of tricks is the arrival of a bullet-time effect that powers-up your entire clone army.

Collected through a special gun, this chronology-crumpling shooter will pervert the passage of time for everyone, slowing your rivals and accelerating your friends, but only for the briefest of moments.

Then once your foes have been slowed, you can dodge their fire (complete with Matrix-style bullet ripples) and fill their soft heads with lead. And to stop this Team Deathmatch-only weapon dominating every contest, an on-screen radar will show your foes who has the device and allow them to zero in on your time-splitting hero. Gulp.

But temporary temporal control isn't the only way to kill your fellow gamer as hand-to-hand combat is also set to play a part. Or perhaps that should be foot-to-head combat as a flying kick and a foot sweep are just two of the attacks on offer. Which should please people who like their kills quiet and just a little bit tricky when the other bloke has a nail gun.

FEAR will be released for PC later this year