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Note: Review originally posted November 10, 1998

I’m not ashamed to admit it, though it makes me sound a bit like I’m at a twelve-step meeting: “Hello, my name is Ray. And … I … like Myst clones!”

Friend, Myst was incredibly popular for a reason. It’s games like Myst that brought me to this genre.

That having been said, I must say that Timelapse is, as clones go, quite a nice one indeed. It’s another first-person, pretty slide-show game with mysterious puzzles and lovely, empty worlds to skulk about in.

And what lovely worlds they are! Your character is following in the path of an iconoclastic archaeologist (would we find any other kind in an adventure game?) who’s discovered a time machine hidden in a cave on, of all places, Easter Island.

Through the course of the story you will travel around Easter Island, ancient Egypt, Mayan temples, an Anasazi settlement, and, finally, that perennial favorite of our genre: Atlantis!

It must be said that these environments are absolutely gorgeous, with renderings so beautifully detailed I could actually smell the flowers, the Nile, the beach. Subtle and atmospheric sound effects and music add greatly to the ambience. Like Myst, a large part of the appeal of this game is simply that it plops you down in a place that’s fun to spend time in.

I have a tendency to gobble games too quickly, and I found Timelapse slowed me down. I enjoyed its languid pace.

The interface is quite simple and Myst-like, except that you have the option of keyboard or mouse navigation. I found myself using the keyboard, because it gives you more information about your possible routes of travel. Like Myst, you can basically only hold one item at a time.

The puzzles and obstacles are challenging but seldom as obtuse as the more infuriating ones in Myst.There is a lot of symbolism and translating, and a couple of “arcade” puzzles which, as an adventure game purist, I resented. I don’t pick up a game like Timelapse to see how good my bow-and-arrow aim is, if you know what I mean. And there is one dreaded slider puzzle that’s not only difficult, but (due to a not-smart-enough-randomizer program) is sometimes actually impossible! Considering the game’s many virtues, however, these are very minor complaints.

Timelapse was like a lovely dream from which I was sorry to wake.

Final Grade: A-

System Requirements:

Microsoft Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 (Windows 95 strongly recommended)
Pentium 60 MHz processor or faster (Pentium 100 MHz processor strongly recommended)
16 MB RAM (32 MB RAM recommended for better performance)
Quad-speed CD-ROM drive or faster
Super VGA graphics card (local bus video card recommended) and color monitor
100% Windows-compatible sound card and external speakers
Mouse and keyboard
About 90 MB of hard disk drive space for full installation

MacOS 7.0 or later
Motorola 68040 processor or faster (PowerPC processor strongly recommended)
16 MB RAM (32 MB RAM recommended for better performance)
Quad-speed CD-ROM drive or faster
640×480 with 256 colors (8-bit) display and color monitor
Mouse and keyboard
About 90 MB of hard disk drive space for full installation

This review is copyright Ray Ivey and Just Adventure and may not be republished elsewhere without the express written consent of the author. Republication of said review must also contain a link back to Just Adventure.

Ray Ivey

Ray Ivey

A gaming freakazoid, Ray enjoys games on all platforms. Also loves board games, mind games, and all puzzles. Co-wrote the Entertainment Tonight trivia game and designed puzzles for two Law & Order PC games. Also a movie freak, bookworm, and travel bug. Thinks games of all kinds are a highly underappreciated force for social good, not to mention mental and psychological health.   Ray's favorite adventures include the "Broken Sword" and "Journeyman Project" franchises, "The Dark Eye," "The Feeble Files," "Sanitarium," "Limbo," "Machinarium," "Riven," "The Neverhood," and "Azrael's Tear." His favorite non-adventures include the "Thief," "Uncharted," and "Ratchet & Clank" franchises, all of the Bioware RPGs, Skyrim, and Final Fantasy XII.   Ray writes about the movies for the Bryan/College Station Daily Eagle, which is the old-fashioned thing called a "newspaper." He's been on eight game shows. He's taught in seven countries and has visited twenty-one. His favorite classic movie star is Barbara Stanwyck and his favorite novel is "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving.

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