MC Lothlorien Ltd
1986
Adventure: Graphic
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

73,74
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

To put it bluntly this game is like a cut down version of Lords of Midnight without all the interesting bits. The graphical style could be described as 'art de la primary school' with blocky trees and characters depicted as small blobs. What with the large trees and small houses the whole thing looks out of proportion. What you do with the game is hardly awe-inspiring either, and its playability is limited and becomes boring.

Professor Mathius Calculus has been murdered and you, his closest assistant, are under suspicion as you alone possessed the security pass to the laboratory's security door. The prof's latest invention was a time machine and rather than stick around to face the inquisition you decide to take your chances on a trip through time. Perhaps you might be able to go back in time and prevent the murder from happening.

The time machine malfunctions before you can reach the Time Sanctuary. You end up in a strange land populated by tribes and the wizards which oversee them. There are villages, temples, forests, lakes and other Places that you must explore before you can seriously hope to find the time machine and the fuel to propel it. The local people are a very important factor in the game and a good relationship with them will see you progress smoothly. The natives and the monsters of the land each follow their own way of life but you are able to communicate with them. Some of these are friendly, others unhelpful. Their personalities are summed up between the attributes of stamina, health, intelligence, greediness, honesty, bravery and attitude.

An over-riding factor is the limited amount of time available for your quest. Should you take too long your flesh decomposes and you will have had your chips. For example, to search a house takes 15 minutes while scaring a person takes 5 minutes. This concept is a touch implausible but having the time count down on the main screen may have added something.

To move about you press 1 to turn left, 3 to turn right and 2 to move forward in the chosen direction. E enters a house, M has you talking to someone while I brings up your inventory displays the time remaining. Sub options allow you to search a house (which all look much the same) and scrolling windows give you the chance to bring two words together to say something meaningful to any character you might meet. The one thing wrong with the system is its apparent arbitrariness whereby a character alternatively looks scared or does not look scared and so on.

Time Sanctuary is a game let down by its looks and its playability. The characters all look the same and the game soon lapses into the familiar territory of all games which haven't quite been thought out properly boredom. Just as a book must hook a reader less he become disinterested, so a computer game must involve the player to an extent that he wishes to more than just see the game through.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: takes a long time to discover what you have to do
Graphics: simple
Input facility: scrolling windows
Response: average
General Rating: Flawed.

6/10
6/10
5/10
6/10

Screenshot Text

One of the rooms in TIME SANCTUARY, decorated according to the minimalist school of furnishing.