For any science fiction plot to really work, the illusion of belief must be maintained, otherwise the player never buys into the believability of the story. Unfortunately, Lost in Time fails to create that aura of believability, thus leaving the player with a firm realization that he or she is doing nothing more than playing a computer game.
The association with the character just doesn't grow so the story unwinds with the player watching the action in a detached frame of mind. The interface is an easy to use point-and-click affair with manipulation of onscreen items and interactions to further the story and a panel of functional keys to take care of the administrative aspects. Getting around in the game is made easy by the availability of an area overview at any given time with simple selection of locations moving the character from place to place.
There are three main locations to explore and interact with in the game. During your time travels, you'll visit the year 1992 (the present year at time the game was released) at the Manor de la Pruneliere on the Atlantic coast and in Europe. You'll also travel to the year 1840 and be in two different locations in that year. Destinations include an ancient ship (galleon) in the Caribbean Sea from which you'll have to escape and the Island of St. Cristobald (Caribbean Islands) where you'll face dense jungles and dark caves.
The plot holds together in a convoluted sort of way and carries off the difficult task of merging past, present and future in a fairly straightforward way. Gameplay is fairly smooth, although the graphical presentation is dated and somewhat primitive looking in design. Much of the artwork has a cartoon-like flavor which is not surprising considering a French comic strip artist hand-painted some of the backgrounds.
The effect of live characters interposed on hand-painted backgrounds never comes off as quite believable and inventory management leaves a bit to be desired. Some items only appear once and you'd better grab and use them properly at the right time or you may find yourself rebooting to recover lost time. The game has a built-in hint system that only allows you three hints then inexplicably punishes you by requiring a re-installation. The puzzles in the game aren't particularly difficult to work through but you're advised to save the request for hints (called jokers on the control panel) for the toughest spots.
All things considered, Lost in Time is an entertaining science fiction-based romp that is carried off rather smoothly by the design and interface. The plot can get confusing and is somewhat twisty so some concentration is required to keep up with the proceedings. Adequate music and sound is not particularly effective in adding to the atmosphere of the game nor is it overly clear at times. Lost in Time should be a decent diversion for fans of the genre looking for an offbeat story.
Graphics: Somewhat blocky looking, merge of live actors on hand-painted backgrounds doesn't always translate well.
Sound: Uninspiring and not always apropos to the action.
Enjoyment: Interesting storyline and decent game play.
Replay Value: Once the adventure and puzzles are solved, it's shelf time.
Lost in Time is an "Interactive Action Adventure Movie" in which you must travel through time solving puzzles and find the man who is plotting to kill your ancestors.
The game has standard graphic adventure game fare with small animated movies contained within scenes. It also features unique first-person semi-animated movement between locations.
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