The Journeyman Project 3 : Legacy of Time.
Developer Presto, 1998
Publisher, Red Orb
Re-released G.O.G. 2012?
G.O.G. stated system requirements: Minimum system requirements: Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7, 1.8 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), 2GB HDD, Mouse, Keyboard.
Introduction, Justifications and Credit Given
The question becomes why write a review of a game released 14 years ago? In my search a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this game offered at G.O.G. for $5.95, their regular price. This game is the third in a series that I never played. My curiosity was piqued by a review at Adventure Gamers written in 2004 by Jack Allin. I recommend reading it if you are considering this game. An essential point he made is you do not have to play the first two to enjoy this game. It is a stand alone adventure with just enough back story included. You can follow it without wondering what it is all about. Mr. Bill at his Adventure Land web site also reviewed the game. He focused primarily on the story while offering several very nice screen shots. That review is a must as well if you are considering this game.
There are two “Boomer” reviews on this site, one from 2002 by Skinter and another by Mad offered a year earlier. With that said this becomes the perfect spot to mention without Mad’s assistance I could not have finished the game. Most likely I would have blown it up and spent my time cursing about a lousy bug. Hey, I follow current events so I know it is never my fault. Whatever caused the problem remains undiscovered. Either I missed something or there is a bug. Mad sent me a save which literally provided the bridge to the other side. Again thank you Mad, she is one of the people who makes this site a great place.
Back to the original question. With the good reviews I cited why add another? G.O.G’s is a new issue designed to work without drm, without a disc to scratch or wear out and to function on newer systems. That brings the game to life for those who truly liked it and do not wish to struggle trying to get Journeyman to run on newer systems. It opens up yet another game for those who have fond memories or those who are looking for an older game to experience. The second game of the series is also available.
Previous reviews focused primarily on the story. I will avoid that discussion other than add it is a well fleshed out tale capable of holding your interest. Granted there are a few weak points that could have been fleshed out in greater detail. Let it suffice to say the story, though good, was not written by Jane Jensen. I will examine the mechanics and discuss how the G.O.G. version works with Win-7.
To begin it is a first person hybrid. That is to say you play as your character in first person but your story is advanced through F.M.V. cut scenes providing a third person aspect. The game screens are also F.M.V. fully 3D with total three-sixty degree panning. There, I uttered the terrible off putting words, Full Motion Video. Right away many people are running for the exits. First of all Presto did it right. For those of you familiar with Journeyman 1 and 2 the interface of this game has been streamlined running much smoother than its predecessors. A comparison can be made to a couple highly popular games. They did not copy Gabriel Knight 3 where you wander up and down poorly defined hills with graphics so horrible paths and grassy areas appeared as green mud. None of that in this game. Everything is bright, clear and well defined. They also avoided the clumsy interface found in Tex Murphy. To be clear I am not dissing Tex, I love Tex and Chelsea too. In the last three games of the Murphy series, you had to shift from mouse to keyboard controls. I never tried Murphy 1 or 2 so clunky may fit there as well. You may recall movement resulted from sliding your mouse around then slapping the spacebar to shift into keyboard mode. You had to do that to interact with objects and people. Often if you were not quick enough death resulted and James Earle Jones appeared in front of a tombstone calling you a dolt. Or you slid right past the object you wanted to examine and had to spin around to try again. Presto opted for a simple, clean interface with user friendly controls. Everything is done with the mouse. The viewing screen is much larger and less cluttered than the first two games of the series.
That is not to say it is without issues. Unlike games of that era, pixel hunting is not a problem here. However, the game can be clunky. You move from place to place by clicking an arrow on the screen appearing in front of you. Journeyman’s pixel hunting is in the form of finding your exit. You pan searching for that arrow to appear, sometimes it really is a search. That is minor compared pixilated scrolling required in other games from its era. Movement often can be frustrating as you must walk in straight lines following the arrows. There is a bright red arrow pointing to an exit or to a possible area you can walk to. Every stroll is squared off. You may see the alcove where the Lama sits at an angle to your right. In front of you is a Buddah. The logical thing is to walk diagonally toward alcove. Especially as nothing is in your way. I mean it is one massive room. Not gonna happen. You either walk straight toward the wall turn a 90 degree angle to the left then walk to another wall before turning another 90 degrees to the alcove. Or using the same process straight ahead toward the Buddah, a 90 degree right turn followed by another before you reach the alcove. It reminds you of Gabriel’s laboriously slow ambling.
I only mention this because what is a review without some nit picking? It is no big deal but it does get old after awhile. To sum up the graphics are exceptionally good without the negatives that accompany all those FMV games. The mechanics of the game respond quite well in Windows 7 without any tweaking. In that regard G.O.G. exceeded expectations. If you enjoy the story type, science fiction through time travel, there is no reason not to buy this version of the game. The game downloads in three files and an 18 page pdf manual is included.
How Does This Version Work?
I may as well get it out of the way right now. The game installed without issue and ran with zero crashes, bumps or burps. Score one for G.O.G. Regarding my bug, if it is a bug. You are supposed to give a specific answer to a question asked by the Lama. Without that answer you cannot get an object required to continue in the game. In other words one massive dead end. No matter what I did I could not get the guy to ask the question. He kept asking a different question. The same tired question. There were only three available responses you could give. None of them were the required answer our hero is supposed to utter. I went so far as to go back to the beginning of the sequence more than once. This occurred in another of G.O.G.‘s releases, Torin’s Passage where simply replaying the scene doing the same thing generated a different result. We have been repeatedly told that is not supposed to happen. When that ploy failed with this game, out of frustration, I went step by step following a walk through. I examined three different walk throughs and none of them varied regarding what you needed to do. Again the same result. One of the answers highlights the random humor of this game. I selected “womanizer” as my answer. The character said “I’ll take what is womanizing for $1000 Alex.” It was funny the first time, three days later it brought tears. I cannot state with certainty this is a bug. I could have missed something not at all obvious, sometimes triggers are subtle. Sometimes zeros and ones get confused in the digital world. Thanks again for that save Mad, it truly saved the game resulting in this review.
Some Mechanics, or What To Expect
This exercise answered some mechanical questions. The use of walk throughs showed the game is not alt/tab or windows key friendly. Bad news for walk through users requiring lots of printing, taking notes or shutting the game down often to consult the cheat sheet. I discovered saves from older versions of the game are compatible with this release. That is good news for people with a stash of saves from yesteryear. Saves slots appear to be unlimited. Speaking of saves, where did Windows 7 hide them? It seems there are several possible nooks and crannies the little rascals fit into. As a public service here is the location for the G.O.G. version in Win 7. Be warned, XP and Vista may have other ideas where saves belong. They are placed on your win 7 system under C:\Documents and settings\User name\ local settings\virtual store\program files x86\GOG.com\Journeyman project 3\J3 Saved Games. Talk about pixel hunting Sierra had nothing on Win 7.
Here is another mechanical observation. The game does not like the internet. If you leave the net connection on and the firewall or virus program pops up the game screen freezes. You cannot shut off anything. No control/alt/delete, no task manager, no reboot. A cold shut down is your only option. That is a last resort as you know but there is no other choice. So pull the plug on the net or instruct your firewall to block the net. If you are really trusting, Zone Alarm has a game option where it allows everything that asks to connect avoiding this issue. For me I am not trusting, nothing connects without me saying so. I opted to shut the net down. You cannot set the game to open in a window. Doing that may allow you to have access to the taskbar icon. Insert referral here. At GRC.com Steve Gibson, a security expert offers some free tools. One is called Wizmo, a one KB file. You can place a wizmo icon on your taskbar. Typing a simple line in Wizmo will allow the tool to serve as an instant reboot command. Click on it and you can instantly reboot. A really handy gadget to have at bottom of your screen. Also you can put a second Wizmo down there with the instructions to open or close your cd drive. One click your drive opens or closes. A game played in window mode leaves your task bar visible allowing use of such tools. Take a look at that when you have nothing better to do. Back to the game.
There is no way you can get killed. There are no timed puzzles or action sequences. There is not an excessive amount of conversation. These are all pluses for many people. You do have many interactions with characters and some of the conversations contain triggers. There are several long cut scenes to advance the story. Be warned there is a maze. One you have to do twice. In my case because of the unasked question, seven times. It is not a particularly friendly maze. You are given a map with a handy red arrow noting your location. A warning the arrow points in the direction you came from not the direction you are going. The puzzles are of medium to easy difficulty and you do not ever have to combine things in inventory. It is a one item at a time operation. A word about the inventory, you can only see one item in your box at a time. It is permanently displayed on the bottom of your screen. When you click on it a transparent box appears above it showing what else you have. The inventory is drag and drop. Your cursor turns into a hand where you drag the item into you inventory box. To use it you drag it from your box dropping it onto the target. Your cursor faintly lights when you have the proper item over the place you intend to use it. Do not rely on that because sometimes it does not light and sometimes it is barely noticeable when it does. Take your time to scroll over everything because your cursor changes into a small magnifying glass informing you to examine closely. Again triggers hidden inside.
Game play is in two divisions each with the same three locations which you visit in both parts. The first part your visit is to view events, gather information and yes pick up a few items. Part two is returning to each area in search of an artifact hidden in each locale. When you get the artifact from an area you return to home base. Then jump to the next area to locate another artifact. When you have all three you put them together and save the world. You can visit and complete your mission in any order you wish. You can jump from one location to another if you need to. The game is well done with surprisingly good graphics, decent to bad acting and with a good story. You can hardly go wrong for six bucks. In fact there are some forty dollar clunkers out there that make Journeyman look like the bargain of the year.
I would not have bought this game at full retail because I am not attracted to the style presented for this game. For $5.95 and a serious lack of games to play I said why not. Now that I saved the world with Mr. Gage’s help I can clearly say I would pay the average retail of $30 for this game in a heart beat. It is far better than 90% of games I bought this year. That is high praise. It may have sounded like nit picking as I found some faults. However, none of it was major or a game breaker. In fact when you consider very good graphics, a smooth interface that cause little to no difficulty and an engaging story line this game gets almost an A. Well perhaps an A-. For me that is generous as almost nobody gets an A.