Cleaning windows isn't the ideal qualification for the job of saving mankind. True, there's the occasional danger of being thirty floors up in high winds, but the most hassle you usually get is from your boss.
Not any more. It's the future, and an alien race called the Crughons is slowly wiping out all the earth colonies. The final part of their plan involves travelling back in time and corrupting earth's history - they want to rub out every last trace of humanity. This is the plot you stumble on. Innocently discovering a Chronoporter (for time travel), you're whisked off to the Middle Ages before you can drop your plastic bag. Zap.
The action is entirely mouse-controlled, with six basic operations accessed from a menu. Once you decipher the odder combinations ("operate tree" to shake it), it's a reasonably flexible way of exploring the environment.
Saving the world is where most of the fun lies. Exploring time zones and solving puzzles in the style of a Lucasfilm adventure game is challenging but enjoyable. Even so, the new Cinematique system has a few teething troubles. For a start, too often you want to perform an action, only to be told "come a little closer". Instead of the game doing the hard work - as it does in Indy or Maniac Mansion, for example - you've got to work your way round its little faults, and this can become very annoying.
Other minor niggles include the scarcity of adequate commands and the difficulty level: you have to save the same on every other screen because there are so many occasions on which you can fry, drown or get gobbled up for just one wrong move. The problems aren't too tough, but sorting them out using the game's system is.
Apart from these little faults, Future Wars is an excellent thinker's game. There are a lot of ingenious puzzles, plenty of depth, and a great scenario. The graphics are superb, with some detailed animation and cut-scenes, and the excellent sound effects create exactly the right atmosphere - whether it's the crunch of footsteps on a forest floor or the electric buzz of a transporter. Worth checking out.
Brilliant graphics and sound effects are let down by niggling faults in the Cinematique system. Even so, if you like mind-taxing puzzles or you've enjoyed the Lucasfilm adventures, take a look.