Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Timequest - A Rogue Agent (Headquarters)

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #1: "My first big mission: save the world ten times over, catch a raving lunatic, and be back in time for dinner! No pressure, right? Is this a normal day on the job? Fortunately, the madman left his time machine programmed for all the places he went. It's like he wants someone to unravel his crazy scheme..."

Note: I jumped into the game and wrote the first several gameplay posts blind, without reading any reviews or any information on the game, so I "reason out" some things that I obviously knew when I wrote the intro post.

The opening to the story is very simple. General Drexler has handed me briefing papers and ordered me to follow another time agent through time to intervene before history can be changed. With a name like "Timequest" how could it not be a time travel story? The rogue agent's note said, "Beware the Ides of March." I assume this means I'll have to go visit Roman times at some point. Somehow his machine is still available, so I'm supposed to use it to return to each of the places the rogue agent has gone. All of this is conveyed in one screen of text before I'm dropped into the main game layout.

Yeah, why are you sending a lowly private on this critical mission?

At the beginning, I'm in General Drexler's office with the opportunity to ask him questions before I set out. I've "achieved a score of 0 out of 1000" (that's a lot of potential points) and I "haven't completed any of the ten missions outlined in your briefing papers" and I "haven't tracked down Lieutenant Vettenmyer". I try to read the briefing papers in-game, but the text is only available in the game package. According to the status bar in the middle, the game started at 12:00 noon in 2090 AD, although it doesn't give an actual date.

Before I have a chance to do anything else, after only two minutes (two turns, basically), a time window appears and Vettenmyer himself shows up to gloat in true evil genius style and then run away again. Aside from the delusions of destroying all civilization, one thing he says is probably true: he says I'm not a "full key-member of the Corps". So he has his own time travel machine (or "interkron") besides the one I'm going to use to follow his original trail and prevent time distortion. Who knows where in history he might be hiding, then.

This guy is such a jerk. And probably insane.

Plus it's one of those "new kid saves the world" type plots, I see. I examine myself just to see if there's any description about how old I'm supposed to be or anything, but no, it just says, "Not a pretty sight by any standards." Why am I the first one expected to try to catch this rogue agent? They even say they'll send out another agent if I fail. Why send out the least experienced agent first?

Then the general dismisses me, but not before handing over a little yellow pill that's supposed to skip the dramatics of time jumps. I'm guessing there will be a somewhat lengthy sequence that can be skipped after the first jump or two, but just so I don't miss anything important, I'll hold onto the pill for now. Anyway, Vettenmeyer was right about my rank, because he's a Lieutenant and I'm referred to as only a Private. I guess this is a military agency to safeguard time, although I don't seem to have a weapon or anything, which might be helpful when facing a rogue agent who's determined to destroy civilization? Maybe?

I ask the general about the interkron and Vettenmeyer, but he doesn't really have anything more to say, so I leave his office and enter Vettenmeyer's quarters. Here at headquarters, it looks like these are the only two places I can go, and from here I'll use the interkron to follow Vettenmeyer's trail. First I'll take a look at the desk. There's a drawer, which I open to find a card that looks like a hotel key-card. This gets me the first five points of the game. Maybe 1000 points represents more like 100-200 key actions then, which still seems like a lot, but not quite so vast as I thought.

No bed, only a desk...does Vettenmyer sleep on the floor or something?

Before I go any farther, I hunt down the briefing notes. The text of the briefing can be found here:,146/id,390/type,docs/. From that I learn what the ten missions are and what I'll be expected to do in order to thwart Vettenmyer's plans. What I don't really get at this point is why there are so many different things going on. The first mission is to go to Rome in 44 BC to prevent an early assassination attempt on Julius Caesar which, if successful, would avoid the power struggle among his actual killers that eventually led to the fall of the Roman Empire. If the Roman Empire falls that early, then all of the history following it would already be extremely different, and the rest of the interventions later in history would never happen at all. Maybe he's just hedging his bets and trying to make so many interventions that nobody could possibly stop them all. Plus it's a longer game that way, of course.

I also skim the manual (available at,145/id,390/type,docs/), which tells me that the game is even bigger than I originally thought, as it's possible to visit most of the cities in most of the time periods, not just the ones that are specified by the ten missions. Probably Vettenmeyer's done more damage than we even know. Well, I have my work cut out for me, for sure. And I might learn something about history, too.

I enter the interkron, and immediately I get ten more points. The interkron is already set such that I can only go to the places and times that Vettenmyer already went, and I'll arrive seconds after he left previously. There's a map showing the cities of interest and a timeline showing the years of interest. Only six places are labeled on the map besides headquarters, which looks like it's in DC or New York City or something. Nearly half the missions take place in Rome, though.

Six cities times nine time periods is 54 combinations...but not all of them are available.

I'll try starting with the oldest mission and working my way forward. After all, if the oldest one is successful, then most likely the newer ones will be pointless anyway. As the note next to the map indicates, I use the command "timeset Rome 44" to go to Rome in 44 BC. And ... nothing happens except the red light next to the slot flashes. Right, the key card. I stick it in the slot, the light turns green, and I execute the timeset command again. Now there's a copy protection sequence before I can actually go anywhere. Fortunately, that same site has the codes too (

Whee, now we’re time travellers! Next time, let's explore ancient Rome and prevent an assassination.

Session Time: 1 hours 0 minutes (half gameplay, half reading manual and briefing)
Total Time: 1 hours 0 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. Two time travel games in a row! If only I had time to play Time Zone...

  2. "why are you sending a lowly private on this critical mission?"

    There's actually a good explanation why it had to be just this person to take the mission, but you probably haven't seen it yet.

    Now that I read the mission reports, some of them take quite a many historical shortcuts. Say, the Roman one: "Julius Caesar was stabbed and killed on the Ides of March. After his death, the
    conspirators in the assassination plot engaged in a bitter power struggle that
    split the Roman Empire and eventually led to its downfall."

    Firstly, this is a bit inaccurate, since it suggests that the conspirators would have begun fighting one another, although they actually fought Caesar's followers, Marc Antony and Octavian (who then later fought one another - but that's another story).

    Secondly, Caesar died 44 BC, and while it's a bit difficult to pinpoint, when exactly Rome fell, let's say first signs of the eventual downfall happened at the beginning of third century (and some might consider even that a bit of a stretch). That's more than two hundred years between these events! It's hard to see any relevant causal chain leading from one to the other.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that the civil war after Caesar's death would have made Rome somehow internally fragile - but there just isn't any evidence for it. Rome had internal power struggles and even civil wars well before Caesar's reign - and there were civil wars quite a lot after it. Perhaps all of them in unison weakened the empire, but how significant would one of them have been? (Not to mention how unlikely it would have been that Caesar dying at different time would have prevented some type of civil war.)

    1. I think what they meant is that Caesar's death led to the end of the Roman REPUBLIC. Most people don't realize that Caesar was not the first emperor (not in name, at any rate), but rather the last Dictator of the Roman Republic. Augustus was the first Emperor who succeeded Julius after his assassination.

      Rumulus Augustus was the final Roman Emperor and no, I do not believe that you can draw a through-line from Caesar to him. A lot happened between those two dates that they were hardly even the same empire.

    2. I am pretty sure the writer must have meant the end of the Roman Empire at the Migration Period, since the consequences of a mission failure are described thus: "Without the power struggle among Caesar's killers, the Roman Empire may remain united and resist all future barbarian incursions. It may, in fact, never fall."

      I just think the creators went for a bit of historical hyperbole. The bit with Charlemagne is even better. Supposedly his coronation by pope (probably just a political middle finger for Byzantine Empire) led to him uniting plenty of Europe (untrue, since his conquests predate the coronation) and without it "Europe may never emerge from the Dark Ages." (Yea, it would have been too boring, if scientific advances would have had something to do with the end of Dark Ages).

    3. I was actually kinda thinking that given it's time travel, they could be sending dozens upon dozens of people backwards in time - if one fails, they can just send another, right? So long as the timestream hasn't been destroyed to the point that the 'present' in 2090 no longer has time travel technology, anyhow.

      I'd say that the notion of Europe not really emerging from the Dark Ages can't really be true - even were the majority of it to have formed into a superpower pre-Renaissance, there was still gigantic marauding hordes from Asia (the Mongols?) along with the vast expanse of Africa. They would have ended up learning at least enough to counter the horseback terror raids without building enormous castles, as that really wasn't very efficient as it came to protecting food supplies et al. (Besides which - Civilization tells me that gunpowder is one of the key discoveries to furthering science, and the Chinese got there first anyway!)

    4. The history in this game is somewhat shaky, yes. I'll be mentioning some of the more egregious things I see as we go.

    5. I think that is an understatement. It seems that the authors did not have a basic understanding of European history.

    6. He is destined to fail because he can only succeed with the time traveling technology.

      If the research on time traveling technology is being wiped out by his actions to destroy civilization, then he wouldn't be able to travel in time to destroy civilization, right?

      So, if the agency is still around to talk about this rogue agent, they should know that he failed in his stupid plans and go out for a round of beer for a job well undone.

  3. Why are they sending the NOW you when they can send the FUTURE you, who had stopped this guy before and thus have the experience to do it again, back to stop Vettenmeyer again?

    In fact, how could you fail when the future you can come back to warn the past you, or even taking your place if you die? Hold on a minute. I think I'm on to something. There is only ONE Timecop. And that is YOU. The "other" agents who are supposed to cover your duties if you fail? YOU.

    1. I don't think that works. If you fail, there is no future you.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Sorry, had to remove the earlier message because it doesn't make sense to me either.

      What I'm saying is that, you could never fail in the first place because there is always another you from another timeline (every fraction of a second could create another copy of you) to make sure you did things correctly.

  4. It seems that we'll find out, but I want to guess why they are sending a private back in time: They aren't certain of the loyalty of the other agents that knew him better. You are new, don't know anyone here yet, but are technically qualified. So they are sure you aren't in a conspiracy with him, and you should be able to do the mission, making you the logical choice.

    Can't wait to see if I'm right, but I'm betting not. This would make sense though.

    1. That would have been a good explanation! The real one... well, I won't say anything, since you have so many posts to go still (well, I might say it's kind of scifi cliché).

      And nice to see you are still reading the blog! (Even if you still have quite a way to catch us).

    2. Thought up another one: perhaps there is a limit on when agents can visit to avoid paradoxes. More experienced agents have used up more of those eras, so the villain deliberately creates problems in places other agents can't go without causing paradoxes.