Timescape:Journey to Pompeii

Posted by: lasanidine

Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 02/27/02 12:48 AM


Timescape:Journey to Pompeii

In 1954 just afterthe revolution I have escaped from Hungary and some friends of mine arranged a trip for me to Italy. I have spent six wonderful months in Rome and have taken many side trips to interesting places such as Lake Como, Florence and Pompeii (destruction of Pompeii http://www.windows.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/tour_def/earth/interior/Mt_Vesuvius.html).

I spent a whole day wandering around in the ruins of the once great city at the foot of the volcano (http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/pompeii/pmpVesu.html) that has made the Campagnia such a fertile valley and wiped out a great and beautiful city in a wink of an eye.

It was with great interest that I revisited Pompeii in this game and I cannot say that I was disappointed with the graphics. The places were authentic enough and the story had both human interest and urgency.

The Story

Adrian, and unusual human male repulses the advances of the goddess Isis (does fat chance ring a bell), he is ill (that could be one explanation) and she is spitting mad (Adrian is kind of cute it is later that he gets too good to be true). To punish him Isis spirits his fiancée away the night before the wedding and plunks her down in Pompeii as a slave girl in an aristocratic Roman household and tells Adrian that in four days Vesuvius will erupt and wipe out the city. He has very little time to orient himself, find Sophia and escape the pyroclastic flow that is imminent.

Adrian awakes in the atrium of his host's house and sets forth to find Sophia and do good. He runs into a bad tempered mule at once and here he shows the stuff he is made of. He actually acts as a fix it all trouble shooter, where ever he goes if there is trouble he helps, solves, advises and admonished all this with a sort of French song froid (he is from Marseilles). He visits the tavern, the baker, the paint shop, the perfume boutique and voila all problems are fixed. He stays true to form when he goes to the forum and sheds light on a batch of inferior merchandise and sees Sophia the first time.

The Game

The game is slower than what we generally expect and the puzzles are not really hard. The city acts as a kind of maze but it is not hard to navigate and there are not enough places to go to. I would have liked to take a few side trips here and there and see a little of the country side. Vesuvius was too benign looking for words. Not even a little puff of smoke escaped its crater and the few tectonic shocks we suffered were very mild.

Adrian finds Sophia and finally talks her into escaping with him but before that happens several conditions must be met and a timed a puzzle to be solved with and asp as a protagonist (I had some trouble here snakes are not exactly my favorite things).

In this game you meet some interesting characters and perform some interesting functions such as collecting ingredients for magical potions, freeing a mad prophet and smoothing the ruffled feathers of a egotistical chef and learn something about the Latin cuisine. It is a pleasant, light game that will not tax your intellect or make you loose sleep over illogical puzzles, neither will it raise you I. Q. a notch.

I have not run into any problems, glitches with this game, the sound effects are OK and there are plenty of saved games slots to satisfy anybody.

What is there is quit nice but there is not enough there to make this a memorable game.

I have played it on a Pentium III chip
Nvidia Riva TNT2/TNT2 Pro graphics board
Sound Blaster PCI 128 Legacy Device

Minimum System Requirements
Windows 98/95
Pentium 200 MMX*32 MB RAM
12x CD ROM Drive
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 02/27/02 07:39 AM


First, I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful link to the interactive Pompei/Vesuvius page. I got sidetracked there for a bit. smile

Second, I was moved by your personal attachment to the area. 1954 was a shocking year for many brave people. The courage and grace of the Hungarian olympians who competed under their beloved flag, despite the invasion that had left them stranded, has always been a personal source of inspiration and spirit. smile

Pompei - the game was not bad - not great but as you said, a nicely rendered game that doesn't over tax the brain. My complaint with the game was just that the plot conception was truly unique and could have been developed much better. That and some of the dialogue I found wooden and distracting.

The best part of the game was the detail of Pompei. I truly enjoyed walking around the city. Reminded me of SPQR the game. It had little game to it - but the city was just enthralling.

I agree with you about the puzzles. Though the donkey was a pain - I thought the puzzles were one of the better aspects of the game. They were realistic and true to the environment and time period of the game.

Great review. I always look forward to your thoughts on games now - as your writing is such a pleasure to read. Thank you for this glimpse into this game, Pompei and in part yourself as well. smile smile smile

Posted by: lasanidine

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 02/27/02 11:27 AM

Thank you Laura for your kind words.
I totally agree with you in that this story could have been developed into a really good game instead of a small glimpse of what there was before the eruption. This is another link, a letter form a real person who witnessed all of it from a "safe" distance. We had to translate part of in school and I hated it at that time but now I find it interesting. Kathy eruption.http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/tut/final/pliny.html
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 02/27/02 01:30 PM

Another cool link.

I knew of Pliny the younger's account of the Vesuvius eruption - but had never actually read it. Fascinating.

It must have been so wonderful to have seen the actual ruins. I love wandering in locales like that. You can touch something and shut your eyes -and for a heart beat you can imagine all the people who once lived, loved and died there. It is magical and sad at the same time.

Ah well.

Posted by: Butterfly

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 04/11/02 07:02 PM

Not sure if this will be read or not since the review was posted some time ago, but I just finished Timescape. I did enjoy it, but I'm not good with directions, so would have been more comfortable with right, left, etc. Sometimes it took me a while to get back to some place I had been before. Also the mouths did not move when they spoke. Not sure if Sophia was injured or not, but she always looked like she hurt all over. I enjoyed looking at the scenery and the theater. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Razz]" src="tongue.gif" />
Posted by: lasanidine

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 04/11/02 09:31 PM

I agree with you Butterfly the city was well done but there was not enough of it and Vesuvius did not look dangerous,it is well known from contemporary writings that it was rumbling for weeks before the explosion.
Posted by: RichAlexis

Re: Timescape:Journey to Pompeii - 07/19/13 12:28 PM

I know this is an old thread about an old game, but since I just played it and wrote a review about it on this site, I felt compelled to reply.

I really enjoyed reading Lasanadine's review and the comments, and must say I agreed with all of them!

The idea behind the game is great, the city reconstruction is fine, if limited (you have to take into account that it is from 2000 of course, and may have been designed even before that), but I share the view that it could have been better, a longer game than just a few hours, with more places to visit, and making more use of Adrian's talents as a barterer and negotiator.

Instead, he is faced with pretty random requests that require him to act like Little Mr. Fix-it, and if he fails, even in the most trivial sense, he gets arrested, injured or killed, and the game abruptly ends!

So this is really underdeveloped, which is a shame. I know games like these are a small niche market, but especially since this is bound to be the only game of its kind for a few decades because of that, get all the subsidies from government agencies and NGOs you can apply for, and make sure it's GOOD!

Turn your weaknesses into strengths by, for instance, stylizing your characters in 2D, or using live action like the Myst series, Schizm or these old CD-i games, instead of going for inept-looking 3D-animations.

Just some thoughts ...


P.S. The eyewitness account of the Vesuvius eruption by Pliny the Younger can be read here now:

Pliny Letter 6.16

Pliny Letter 6.20

YouTube playlist of Pompeii gameplay videos:

Spanish version of Pompeii game