The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time
|a game by||Red Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Having just experienced the thrill of Riven a short while back, I looked forward with considerable interest to playing Journeyman 3: Legacy of Time, which unlike the earlier installments is released by the same publisher Red Orb. Legacy of Time is definitely likely to appeal to the same adventure game audience as Riven, although each has a distinctly different feel (for example, Legacy of Time has a uniquely religious orientation). You play the role of Gage Blackwood of the Temporal Security Agency, and your mission is to travel into the past to three mythical cities long since destroyed to find artifacts which will save the future from destruction. Because the designers of the game (Presto Studios) had experience with two previous efforts, Legacy of Time shows considerable polish and confidence in its approach.
The controls in this game are so intuitive that I never once had to look up how to do anything during the game. Given that you maintain a sizable inventory and frequently perform different kinds of actions interacting with characters or the environment, all while moving about and listening to Arthur (an artificially intelligent sidekick), the clarity of the game's interface is truly remarkable. I did find one minor glitch—if you amassed too much in your inventory, on occasion something would disappear, but I quickly found a workaround to solve the problem.
Unlike in Riven, where there is almost no human interaction, in _Legacy of Time- you find yourself constantly chatting with a wide variety of characters to uncover information needed to succeed. The distinctive and sometimes quirky personalities encountered add a lot of spice and excitement to the game, along with your ability through a chameleon suit to assume different identities. While the acting is consistently overdone, as is common in computer games, this component of the game is integrated nicely into the game and is a real plus. Interacting with Arthur can be a real kick, as he consistently provides a touch of humor, and the game options allow you to render him silent if you find his mode of communication to be too annoying.
The puzzles in this game are very well integrated into the plot (with the possible exception of the final puzzle combining the three artifacts): if you get frustrated or confused, Arthur always helps you out, and in any case you feel little time pressure as you progress through them. You do need to be careful, though; objects from one civilization are required in another, and retracing your steps can become a tedious task (particularly when going through the underground tunnels in the Himalayan setting). The animations that are displayed when you perform the right sequence of moves are always highly satisfying, and there are no unfair "hunt-for-the single-obscure-pixel" difficulties here.
Despite the absence of 3D hardware acceleration support in the game, the graphics are spectacular. Each of the three worlds -- Atlantis, Shangri-La and El Dorado -- is displayed with remarkable beauty and creativity. Every scene seems lush with gorgeous color, with lighting effects particularly well done, and even blazing fire and running water are handled amazingly well. The ability to pan 360 degrees vertically and horizontally provides an extra element of realism and fun in discovering clues and secrets. While the level of visual detail in each scene cannot compare to Riven, the ability to explore smoothly the panoramic views in Legacy of Time (rather than progress through a series of still shots) more than compensates for this. There are many full-motion video segments in the game, including the longest introduction I have ever seen and a wonderful game ending sequence, and all augment the game nicely.
The background music in this game is among the very best I have ever heard, comparable in many ways to the orchestral brilliance found in Segasoft's Obsidian. While the sound effects in Legacy of Time are more than adequate, they are not in the same league as the superb ambient noise found in Riven, and even with my SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold sound card there was occasional crackling or popping static in the background.
The 36-page black-and-white CD jewel case user's manual is better written and illustrated than most. It nicely contains the pictures and backgrounds of all of the major characters, something noticeably missing from many computer adventure game manuals, and it includes a number of useful hints for playing the game. Rather than being full of hype or promotional material, this manual is actually useful as a reference guide to the game.
System Requirements and Comments
PC, Minimum: Pentium 90 CPU, 16 MB RAM, 70 MB hard disk space, a 4X CD-ROM drive, a video card supporting 640 by 480 pixels in high color (16-bit) mode, a 16-bit SoundBlaster compatible sound card, and the Windows 95 operating system. These requirements are about average for games of this type.
MAC, Minimum: Macintosh® CD-ROM*, PowerPC processor required, 80MHz or faster recommended, System 7.5 or higher, 16 MB RAM (10 MB free), 4X CD-ROM drive or faster, 60 MB free hard disk space, 640x480 display, thousands of colors
While playing Riven made me feel like I was reading an interactive book, playing Legacy of Time makes me feel like I am watching an interactive movie. Although there is nothing truly innovative about the plot here, everything is done well, and you have a feeling of real accomplishment when you make it to the end of the game. Red Orb has done well in this game to carry on its superior tradition in this particular gaming niche.