The Time Machine is one of Digital Fantasia's series of adventures which use text and graphics to neat effect. You are a local reporter in this one, finally getting to grips with a truly challenging assignment - strange goings on have been reported from the fog-shrouded moors. A Dr Potter has recently purchased a lonely house out there, and since then strange lights and sights have been seen by locals round the eccentric scientist's abode. All this causes a lot of concern, and you are sent to explore the situation for the local gazette. The quest starts with you stumbling around in the fog. If you manage to come across the house in question, you are led into an intricate search through a handful of time layers to find the missing - but that would give the game away.
Graphics: optional, but well drawn and reasonably detailed
'All in all a very entertaining adventure for both novice and experienced adventurer alike, because if you're new to this sort of game Digital Fantasia helpfully offer you the option of sending for advice sheets which provide just enough clues to the various stages of the plot to see any thinking greenhorn on his or her way. So there's much less chance of 28 CRASH May 1984 your getting inextricably stuck in the early stages and giving up altogether, as with so many other adventure games.'
'What's good about this game, as with others by the same company, is that you have the option of switching between text only and graphics included mode at the press of the ENTER key. This avoids the waiting time for the pictures to form (which they do quite quickly) should you be impatient to get on. Descriptions are short and to the point. Computer response time is fast and jolly, creating a nice relationship between player and machine. There is plenty to do on this quest if you succeed in getting out of the fog at the beginning.'
'Time Machine lives up to its expectations beautifully from the stylish graphic scene setters to the snappy text. A great plot with a real sense of purpose which involves getting useful objects from one time zone which may well be needed in another. This makes for different stages of success until the final denouement and it all adds up to a high addictivity rating. H.G. Wells would have loved it, despite the slightly high price.'
|Use of Computer||80%|
|Value For Money||60%|
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
In an adventure that could have been written by H.G. Wells, you take the Part of a local news reporter for the Tulkingham & Dunsby Gazette - hardly a thrilling job until strange goings-on are reported around the old house on the moors which belongs to an eccentric scientist by the name of Potter. The game starts in a dense foggy moor as you search for the old house itself. It is easy to die in a bog before finally finding the house where the real adventure gets under way. You may eventually get to several destinations in time and space to locate prisms and rescue the time machine's owner. Objects collected in one dimension may well be needed in another, so it all takes a lot of working out. Bad language results in admonishment to wash your mouth out! Excellent, atmospheric descriptions and a graphics on/off facility. Overall CRASH rating 65%
MYSTERY OF THE MACHINE
MICRO: BBC B, Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Digital Fantasia, 24 Norbreck Road, Norbreck, Blackpool, Lancashire
Time Machine is one of a series of Mysterious Adventures, all currently available.
The cassette case came in a huge cardboard box with the publisher's name all over it. (I suspect most people would throw this away). There is also a booklet enclosed, which is a general guide to mysterious adventuring.
The program is text only, written in machine code, so screen updates are near instantaneous. The screen is divided in two. In the top half is a brief room description and list of objects, while the rest of the screen is a text window for commands. These follow the usual GET LAMP format, and if the program cannot understand it gives some indication why.
There are no specific instructions given in the packaging so you have to find out for yourself, by playing the game or reading Digital Fantasia's advertising, that the object is to rescue a professor by finding the three missing prisms which control his time machine.
The machine is the integral part of the adventure, and using it you must travel (somewhat erratically) through time to eventually find all three prisms.
The machine's behaviour is perhaps the most infuriating part of the whole game, as to get anywhere you must ENTER MACH, PUSH one of the two controls, and LEAVE MACH to see where you are. As far as I can see there is no logic to the machine's travel.
Time Machine could be described as a passive adventure, that is there are no dwarves to axe, or dragons to slice up. This is a puzzle-solving game, sometimes easy, sometimes hard. All of the puzzles are logical, which is the one criticism I have of this adventure. Everything is there for a purpose. I like this in itself, but would welcome a few red herrings along the way, and so far I have found none. After two days I had found two of the prisms and was on the way to the third.
You will find no dreaded spelling mistakes, or bugs in the adventure. It is very playable, including SAVE of position. There is nothing really wrong with any of it but at nearly £10 I believe that it is slightly overpriced.
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