publisher: Eidos Interactive
developer: Timeline Computer Entertainment
PII-266, 64MB RAM, 600MB HDD, 8MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Nov 12, 00 (released)
|» All About Timeline on ActionTrip|
Watch out! Crappy game at twelve o'clock! It's in my site! I got a good lock on the target! Firing! Boooom! And the new so-called adventurous 3D first-person game, Timeline, is no more! We disintegrated it! Wahhahaha (Boy, if only I could do this in real life). Unfortunately, being a professional review writer I have to lay out the pros and cons in a dignified and proficient manner. Well, here it goes. Bollocks, I can't do it! My good old granny would finish this game in two shakes of a lamb's tale. My kind, but otherwise slow-witted mom would solve the puzzles, and my sister, the braniac in the family (who doesn't no zilch about games anyway) would say: 'geeeez this is one extremely boring game'! Timeline Computer Entertainment & Eidos got together to create a fabulously tedious game that can be completed in a single hour, with as much difficulty as when you turn your computer on or off. Seriously though, if this product was meant to be an educating interactive encyclopedia, then maybe it could pass as an original way of showing people what the world was actually like at that specific time and place. The scenario represents an adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel Timeline. This author of Jurassic Park is also the founder of Timeline Computer Entertainment.
After the short introduction, your are given a series of tasks. One after the other they seem to almost solve themselves. I think we can safely say that we've had enough of on-the-rails gameplay issues. The basic fairy-tale is this: being an archeologist you partake in an excavation of a certain region in modern France. Things got a bit complicated (oh horror of horrors) and you're sent back in time, to the 14th century in feudal France to rescue a certain professor Johnston, a character that somehow managed to get stuck in that explicit time and place. And you have to retrieve the small gadget that is used for time travel. Before your co-travelers through time brief you, you have a choice of participating in a small tutorial for gathering the basic movements and actions. After this, you receive a stun-staff, because you can't kill anyone while in the past (hmpf! Great, that means I can use the electric cattle prod whenever I want to - actually this is one of the most spectacular and most exhilarating things in the game!).
After loosing one of your teammates, you begin to play the game by sliding down the mountainsides. Avoiding rocks and stuff is very exciting if you've never ever played a game before in your entire life (and even then you have a chance to get bloody bored). When you pick up your first sword you begin to imagine thrusting and poking every living thing that walks through this damn game. Now you see yourself as the Highlander: 'there can be only one!' - well guess again. Injuring your enemies and friends (by accident) is the only thing you can do with the few weapons that you get during the game. The variety of these armaments consist of a nice, silver glittering sword, a bow with a few arrows, and of course the obligatory cattle prod. No shining armor and no selection of assorted middle age weaponry. What a turn off!
A few obvious qualities remain; the light and shadow effects, and the bright and nice colors of the environment. The animations of the characters are good, and 3D models are also OK, but there are only a couple of moves you can perform. For example, while fighting against the French soldiers you will notice their limited amount of action and defense movements. Holding down the left mouse-button causes an effect of constant bashing, and you will be lucky if at the same time your sword clashes with the enemy's sword and defends your ass. Another major putdown is that your rival doesn't have an energy scale, so you don't know at what stage his health is during battle. The visibility of the injuries is also not present, which makes playing very unrealistic. I guess this whole Timeline project would have been a lot more interesting if the developers paid more attention to the general purpose of this kind of game. This specific type of game genre needs a more composite plot. Hardly any puzzles can be found, and the few existing catches tend to solve themselves. If you have any difficulty whatsoever, your cute little travel companion will help you out.
The description of the significant history events are designed in an interesting and unique fashion. Some of the environment animations are quite beautiful...
The game is deficient in adventure elements and too short, small variety of fighting moves, a poor selection of weapons, a few insufficient movements of the main characters. If you step aside and notice how the knights fight on their own, you will observe that they use only one particular move. This looks rather pathetic.