YOU have seen the future, and it is not good. Not good at all. In fact, it's terrible. Everyone dies. Not very enjoyable. You've seen it because you've been there. In a time machine. Confusing things, time machines. If you've seen the future, can you go back to the past and change it? If so, how could you have seen it in the first place? It doesn't exist any more. Or does it? I had that Robert Heinlein in the back of my cab once...
All these paradoxes are quite rightly swept aside by Empire Software, which uses the old adage "never let physics get in the way of a good story". The only snag is that if time travel did indeed exist as described, the entire fabric of the space-time continuum would be in a constant state of non-conservational energy flux, and not in a fixed newtonian frame of reference. But what the heck, it's only a game.
Time is an adventure spanning several thousand years of Earth history, from the era of the Roman Emperors to a period in the possible future when Earth has been ecologically destroyed. To avoid the main character constantly getting old and dying, a major plot device is that brilliant H.G. Wells invention, the time machine.
An approach normally kept locked into shoot-'em-ups is the multiple game scenario, all linked via some central theme. Occasionally ideas spill over into other game formats, and Time is quite happy to plagiarise from as many sources as possible to produce a potentially original plot, tying several small games together into one.
Our hero arrives on the orbiting satellite. Historsat, a giant floating library of Earth history. Finding out exactly what is going on involves solving some simple puzzles, such as chatting up a secretary, choking a cat and visiting what is left of Earth via shuttle craft. Returning to the space station armed with a brief inkling of what is happening, the next task is to come to grips with is travelling into the past and meeting a few well known figures.
Each of these little adventurettes is a mini-quest in its own right, albeit of a rather simple nature. Mostly a case of walk over here, pick up this object and drop it over here, but they work well and are different enough to keep you waiting for the next.
The action is totally mouse-based, guiding the hero about a window of graphics and other characters. This window could most kindly be described as not large, but, believe it or not, it soon seems big enough. The majority of the screen is taken up by the action icons - the usual sort of stuff like drop, pick up and walk.
The speak icon usually merits a response from the other characters, as they chatter away in an good animated sequence with their words appearing as subtitles beneath them. This provides lots of scope for doing some silly voices as you play the game.
Unfortunately you cannot specify what your hero says - he appears to be the strong silent type and waits for everyone else to volunteer information. This gives the game that slightly pre-destined feel which detracts from gameplay.
The puzzles in Time are not tough. I usually get frustrated with adventures when I can't solve a problem, and throw them away. I didn't throw Time away - it is a good re-introduction to adventuring for those of us who either gave up on the genre after The Hobbit or couldn't be bothered with incredibly complex solutions.
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