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Mind Games
1986
Arcade: Platform
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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36
Chris Bourne

Just how do you avoid post-holocaust hassles? You seal up the portals in space and time which were ripped open when the bombs went off, that's how! To do this, though, you need to pacify the Eight Minds by returning their Character Items to them, and then seal the Portals Through Time by casting the correct spell…

The game starts in your living room, where you must find a weapon. So, you need to search behind the bookcases, under the settee, in the bins, and so on, until you find a gun and some ammunition. Thus equipped, you are ready to face the rigours of time travel. What this amounts to is yet more tramping around, searching everything in sight. There are many different time zones to explore, each with a distinctive graphical style.

To complete the quest you must find objects which will appease the Minds. The Minds will then feel in a generous mood and give you a rune or two. These runes must be correctly assembled in a cosmic pattern. Fortunately, scrolls can be found which give you a clue to the correct orientation of the runes, and you are also told how close you have got to the correct orientation.

You can move your character left or right and up or down ladders. You can also leap left or right, fire whatever weapon is in your possession or enter an options mode. This gives you access to a scrolling menu at the bottom of the screen which can be used to search, pick up, use or haggle with any minds you might meet.

Travelling around the three screens of a time zone is simple, you just go through various doors and openings. Getting between time zones is a little trickier you either have to cast a spell, which uses up precious runes, or wait until a time portal shows up. These turn up at regular intervals, so like many aspects of life, it's basically a case of being in the right place at the right time...

CRITICISM

'The graphics in this game are varied - some screens have lots of colour and detail, while others look like a bad case of whitewashing. The animation is fine but nothing worth shouting about. One annoying feature is that although your character always carries a gun, it's useless until the bullets are found and loaded. This can result in several very short games. The bullets and just about anything else are found by detailed searching. This leads to a very slow and frustrating game, and it's this lack of pace that spoils an otherwise well executed game. There's plenty to do but none of it is all that interesting. Suffice to say that those Interested in long, drawn out and difficult arcade adventures will find something to their liking. Others are less likely to be impressed'

'Time Trax is a strange game to play and until you begin to understand how the game works it can be very unrewarding. If you stick with it and learn the physics ' of the game it can become quite playable, however. The graphics are on the small and undetailed side but they are quite adequate. There is a lot of colour on screen, so when your character walks around a fair bit of attribute clash is generated. The sound is poor: there are no tunes and the use of effects is minimal. If you like strategy games then this one may well be for you, but as there is very little in the way of arcade action I couldn't play Time Trax for too long as it got fairly monotonous'

'What a strange game Time Trax is. At first it looks extremely complex and off-putting, but a few minutes play reveals that this is quite a simple little game to play. The graphics look very Young Ones-ish, and all the little characters are drawn with accuracy - but a bit too small for any decent animation. The screen layout is very smart and the options mode is extremely easy to use. I felt that the game was instantly addictive but the appeal soon wore off after a few games. The instruction book is well written and reveals all the little quirks of the game. The idea of swapping time zones was quite good, but I still wasn't too impressed with it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: a bit sluggish
Use of colour plentiful, at the expense of clash
Graphics: a little primitive
Sound: minimal effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 21
General Rating: An interesting game with strategic elements - strategists might complain, though.

67%
69%
70%
56%
65%
59%
63%

Screenshot Text

Right at the beginning of TIME TRAX, the first task is to find a weapon.

The hero wanders around a strange jungle in TIME TRAX. Below the main playscreen, the game control console reveals that some poison is in the inventory.