Anyone who has played one of the many Legend Entertainment Company's adventure games from the early part of the decade (1990's) will be familiar with the style of TimeQuest. The unique design has a distinctive interface and is made up of a windows type environment. The tool of choice to play TimeQuest is the mouse, however, screen "radio" keys can be emulated by keyboard strokes. The main screen is divided into several sections which mesh and create a smooth operating game experience. The main action window is the Graphics Window (which normally is a quarter screen but can be enlarged to nearly full screen) where static artwork (with occasional animation) is displayed and represents the player's location. Beneath this is the Status Line which textually lists location and the local time of day. The Story Window is below the Status Line and serves to further the action through various uses, such as text descriptions or a command line where you either type in commands or build them via various available word lists. The left side of the screen (when not in full-screen mode) displays several word lists including verbs, prepositions or the object menu (consisting of game related objects you've encountered) which is a great step up from the old parser text games that caused frustrating parser guesses as to word syntax. At the top of the screen on the left side is the Compass Rose which can be used for directional commands and a list of Command Buttons that emulate the function keys (see Controls section).
As to game play in TimeQuest, the storyline is both rich in substance and detail. The story is absorbing, text intensive and is well supported by the artwork. Using an Interkron time machine, you must follow the protagonist's Zeke Vettenmyer trail using the coordinates reprogrammed by the Temporal Corps Headquarters technicians. It has been programmed to go to six historical locations and nine different years that Vettenmyer visited -- all years corresponding to a significant historical event during the last three thousand years. Ostensibly this gives you 54 possible choices but in reality only 49 are available since visits to Cairo, Baghdad and Mexico are limited. The game logic puzzles are a mix of easy-to-difficult and some are interdependent on objects or equipment collected in other places and times. During your travels you will meet an astonishing array of historical figures (e.g., Hitler, Mussolini, Attila, Napoleon and many more) and visit many of the world's greatest locations and structures, such as Stonehenge, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Great Pyramid and others. TimeQuest is a huge step forward from the early computer days of text only adventures. Although an enormous amount of text (supplemented by terrific artwork) is encountered during the game, instead of being detracting it is the core of the game. Veteran gamers who remember and enjoy the old text games will feel very comfortable with TimeQuest and fans of the adventure genre in general will appreciate the subtle yet tasteful mix of text and graphics.
Graphics: VGA 256-color, high-res artwork is well done with an impressive level of detail.
Sound: Music score supports game play in an unobtrusive yet complementary way. Sounds are well done.
Enjoyment: For those with a healthy interest in historical situations, people, times and events that have shaped our current societies, TimeQuest is a terrific diversion. Be aware that you must enjoy intensive text-related games to get the most out of this one. The major flaw in the game is the lack of a quality ending as it is too abrupt and probably won't satisfy those who crave splashy rewards for completing computer games. But, in this case, just getting there is most of the fun anyway.
Replay Value: Nothing much will change in a subsequent replay.
Time Quest, written by Bob Bates (Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur) who served his apprenticeship at Infocom), is a text/graphical interactive fiction game.
You have to travel through time and solve various problems in that time period to correct the time stream.
This masterpiece by Bob Bates is almost flawless, except for the fact that the plot is outlined almost entirely in the documentation, and there is little plot development as the game progresses. As futuristic cop, you must journey back to different time periods to stop a mad scientist from altering history. Time Quest is one of my most favorite adventure games ever, and also one of the hardest. Be prepared for a lot of note-taking... which will pay off handsomely as you watch one of the best endings ever seen in a computer game. A true classic that noone should pass up.
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