Skip to main content

The Time Machine

3D adventure game previewed

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The third person 3D adventure genre is well and truly thriving. Games such as Nocturne, Fear Effect and Martian Gothic : Unification have all helped to feed our addiction. With titles such as "Alone In The Dark 4", "Myst 3 : Exile" and "Escape From Monkey Island" on the horizon, the adventurer has never had it so good.

Quietly walking on to the stage though is Cryo's "Time Machine". What does this game have in store for you? Read on...

A superb introductory video sets the scene

Sands Of Time

There are many stops and starts in life. The birth of a child, the death of an elder... But there is one element that continues on regardless .. Time - The most fascinating force of them all.

Herbert George Wells, author of such classics as "The Invisible Man" and the famous "War of the Worlds", wrote an equally prestigious tome called "The Time Machine". It is this book that Cryo have based their game around. The hero, Wells himself, has been teleported into the year 800,000. His time machine disappears on arrival.

Temporal storms now ravage the lands. Powerful energy waves sweep the surface, robbing the people of their memories, and returning them to their youth. There is only one being that can restore the balance of time and get Wells back to his own era - the mythical master of the hour glass, Khronos.

The Time Machine about to transport


Time Machine is a 3D adventure game of the pre-rendered backdrop variety. Wait a second though, there is more to this one than just static backdrops!

Ever wondered what it would be like to wander around a graphical environment akin to that of Myst or Riven? Ever got frustrated with one fixed camera position stopping you from seeing the full picture? Time Machine goes a long way to solving both problems...

Yes, the background graphics are still 2D pre-rendered scenes, but what brings them alive is the fact that they all pan around the central character, who is a real time 3D animated character. Moving Wells will rotate the background around him, providing a totally believable environment that gives you the best of both worlds.

Where am I? How do I get home?

Real World

The backdrops are absolutely stunning, if a little blurred around the edges. I assume this is a method used to maximise the speed of the panning. After all, even in 1600x1200 resolution there is very little slow down.

It is this blurred edge to the backdrops that makes the foreground characters look a little false by comparison, but in no way does this spoil the overall look though.

In addition to Wells, you will meet lots of town folk going about their business, although very few of them will have time to spend talking to you let alone help. From market sellers to priests, young children to the older generation grumbling, great lengths have gone into making as real a world as possible.

There is a great feeling that nothing in the game is contrived, with the characters following their own irregular paths through the town instead of standing around like zombies waiting for you to talk to them. If you see somebody in one area, you might meet them again on the other side of town later in the game.

The giant hour-glass looks stunning as you walk around it


You only have to view the screenshots to see the quality of presentation of this game. It looks and moves along like a dream, and you control Wells via the keyboard, which is responsive enough and easy to get to grips with.

The music score is also impressive, and refreshingly different, sounding like a cross between Indian and Chinese styles. Voice acting is a little hammed up and long winded at times, but is good in the main. It's hard to describe the atmosphere generated by the game, but it's an addictive one. I can't wait to get my hands on the full review code.

Time Machine is currently due for release by Cryo near the end of June in the UK, and is due out in the USA through DreamCatcher this Autumn. But in the meantime, why not check out the bonus page of eye candy following this preview?

Eye Candy        

Download The Demo

Try before you buy! Download the French language only Time Machine demo (165Mb!)

Read this next