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The Time Machine

Adventure game previewed

Wouldn't it be great to be able to travel through time?

You could go and stand behind the grassy knoll on the day JFK was assassinated, find out what really killed the dinosaurs, or just head forwards a few months to find out the result of the next Superbowl, and then put all your money on the winning team.

British author and inventor H.G. Wells has somewhat grander ideas though...

"This little Wells went to market..."

Everywhen

In Cryo's latest adventure game you take Wells on a voyage 800,000 years into the future.

But you soon discover that things have all gone a little pear shaped. Travelling through time has created paradoxes, and as you arrive in the far future you find a world ravaged by "temporal storms" and "time quakes".

Your time machine has disturbed the normally linear progression of cause and effect, and time is beginning to lose its grip on reality. People's memories are slipping away, and having lost its sense of future and past the world is slowly grinding to a halt.

Whoops.

And so it is up to you, in the guise of Wells, to put things right before time becomes completely unravelled. To achieve this you will need to track down the mythical Khronos, God of Time, and help him restore some sense of chronological order.

A giant gold-plated hourglass, yesterday

Everywhen

Although there will of course be a lot of puzzle solving and head scratching involved in completing the game, The Time Machine marks something of a departure for Cryo as it is the first game to use their new "Cryogen" engine.

The backgrounds are all still pre-rendered, but Wells and the other characters are all real time polygonal models, giving you (in theory at least) the best of both worlds. And instead of being a traditional Myst-style first person slide show, the world of The Time Machine will be viewed from external "cameras", with you guiding your alter-ego around the different locations.

This opens up the possibility of more action-oriented puzzles, as well as making the appearance of Wells himself more important in the game. Wells will be buffeted by time storms, with his apparent age changing throughout the game, and this in turn will effect how other characters react to you, and how the game plays out.

All of this means that The Time Machine should be a little less linear than most adventure games seem to be. Which is nice.

The pre-rendered backdrops are looking gorgeous

Conclusion

The Time Machine is certainly looking a treat graphically speaking, and the mix of real time characters and high resolution pre-rendered settings looks like it could bring a welcome breath of fresh air to adventure gaming.

If everything goes to plan, The Time Machine should be released in March 2000. Keep your browser pointed this way for a full review of the game as soon as we get final code...

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