|That tagline could be referring to so many people in our government, past or present.
That said, I’m glad to be back, and we’ll be playing Lost in Time, a first-person adventure game released by Coktel Vision just after they were swallowed up by Sierra On-Line. In 1993, the original floppy disk version was released overseas in two parts, but here stateside, it was released just as one game. Later CD releases with enhancements came the next year, but holding with blog tradition, I’ll be playing the version that came out in 1993.From the back of the box: Lost in Time is an “Interactive Action Adventure Movie” that “offers suspense, romance, and inquiry into the meaning and nature of time.” We will be visiting France and the Carribean, and in different times, including the present day (1992, based on the manual), 2092, and 1840. Well, that sounds interesting so far. Amongst the other reviewers, there was a positive attitude as well.
|Simpsons did it. Or, at least, Robert Zemekis did.
First, Questbusters, my favorite magazine of the time, never even mentioned the game. Not even in their annual CES reports of what the game companies were doing. In early 1993, they covered two Coktel Vision games in the same issue, so it’s not like they weren’t on the radar.
|Even from this small clipping, you can see it was being overshadowed by another game release.
More amazingly, Sierra’s own advertising juggernaut, InterAction Magazine, didn’t get around to “reviewing” the game until Christmas of 1993, pushing both the DOS and CD releases. On page 30. In an issue that started off with features of, in order: Police Quest: Open Season, Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, Leisure Suit Larry 6, and Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist. Just maybe, it had trouble sharing the limelight with these other titles.
So, I don’t feel bad about never hearing about this game at the time. But, if I had, my next step would have been to check out the demo. Perhaps a download from the Sierra On-Line BBS.
|If you think Gen-Z doesn’t understand payphones, Computer BBSs are really going to be tough to explain.
So, without further delay, let’s step into this world.
|Not the most in-depth intro I’ve encountered
From there, it goes straight into the game. No introduction. So, I’m going to hit reverse and do something we used to do in the old days of gaming: RTFM.
|Thank you, MOCAGH, for preserving documents like this for us. Seriously.
The English in this manual is rather good, with just a few choices of terms or grammar that seems off. The description of our heroine, Doralice Prunelier, shares many of my own traits. I also prefer “spicy hot dishes”, playing Scrabble, and share a passion for old American TV shows. They mention MacGyver as one, and based on the comments I’ve encountered about this game, I’ll need to be a fan of it as well.
Curiously, a trait of hers mentioned is that “she touches everything, but does not take the time to examine things more closely.” This is not a promising attitude for an adventure game ego to have; fortunately, I control her, so I will have to try to overcome her limitations.
The manual also gives us an overview of what we are going to experience in this game, on behalf of our unknowingly being used as a tool for the Space-Time Police:
“...the events that lead to the arrest of Jarlath Equs, who was responsible for stealing a valuable sample of the element Americium 1492. He hid the radioactive material in the past, endangering the equilibrium of the time continuum. For this reason, the Space-Time Police were assigned to handle the case. The disks enclosed with this manual will allow you to relive this mission as Doralice Prunelier. She is a woman who was selected without her awareness by the Central Computer of the Space-Time Police because of her historical-temporal ties with Jarlath Equs.”
|After clearing your head, this is what you see
|The future is unwritten
|I’m not playing with a full deck
|An early start on my day off.
So, let’s test out the interface a little. I see a stool in the room. I click on it, and see a close-up.
|Hey, it has legs, why can’t it walk?
|I’m resisting the urge to make an inappropriate joke right now, Al Lowe style.
|Could someone please explain to me why this young lady is walking around with pliers and acid?
|Doralice the Explorer is being a little snippy with me.
The last games by Coktel Vision played on this blog were earlier in 1993, being Ween: The Prophecy and Gobliins 2, earning scores of 48 and 44. The interface is certainly a descendant of that from Ween, which earned a rating of 4 from Alfred n the Fettuc, so it will be interesting to see how it has evolved since then. Other Coktel Vision games have ranged as low as 15, but never higher than 48. And this game shares the lead designer, Muriel Tramis, with that trainwreck of a game, as well as some of the successes as well. The reviewers have been from both sides of the pond, so I dare you to guess how this country boy from upstate New York will score this game.
Session Time: 1 minute (well, actually, 1 minute and 13 seconds. But who’s counting?)
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 CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introductory post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 20 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.