Amstrad Action


Time Trax

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: Mind Games
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #16

Time Trax

Argus Press seems to be getting its act together at last. First its Quicksilva label produces a couple of decent games and now Mind Games has come up with one as well. It's a derivative of Impossible Mission but with plenty of new features to make it stand out.

Your aim is to return eight items to different characters in the game and to close off portals in time by creating a cosmic pattern out of four rune tiles. There are only 21 screens in the game but these are spread over seven time zones and contain many things.

Hidden in the time zones are eight characters, to whom you have to give a particular item, and 15 rune tiles that can be used to cast spells and to create the pattern that brings the game to an end.

Time Trax

The screens are all two-dimensional and split into three floors, with a status panel beneath. The floors are connected by ladders or other types of handhold, depending on the zone you're in. The time zones are connected by portals, which appear as flashing squares. When you walk into them they flip you to another zone. The connections between zones run to an ordered timetable: by looking at a table and the game clock you should be able to tell when a portal is going to appear on the screen you're on and where it will take you.

Each screen has a detailed background on which there are many objects relevant to the time zone. These include furniture, ornaments, machines and containers which you can search for objects. Up to four objects at a time can be carried and ten runes, but you'll have a lot of searching to do. When you've got an object you can try to trade it with one of the eight characters.

They are found throughout the time zones and if you offer them their correct item they'll force you to deal with them. If you offer them something they don't want they'll just refuse to deal. There are other objects as well that are useful including weapons, scrolls, potions and keys. The weapons are specific to a time zone, the scrolls allow you to cast one of ten spells (if you have the right runes), the potions restore energy, and the keys open chests.

To get between the three screens in a time zone you use connecting doors, but there are obstacles in some places that you can't get past. If you hang around on screens, monsters will appear that drain your energy when they touch you. They can be killed with a weapon but you'll have to find the supplies of ammunition first. You can also jump around but this doesn't usually achieve much.

The graphics are pleasing, as is the excellent soundtrack that plays throughout the game. The gameplay is fairly simple - just search everything - but the addition of characters to trade with, portals and monsters makes it much more interesting.

Because of the lengthy instructions, awkward menu system and need for a lot of searching, the game takes some time to get into, but once you've done that it presents an intriguing challenge.

Second Opinion

Another program with decent music played throughout the game. Your ears are certainly in for a treat with this one. So are your eyes: very colourful and detailed graphics. I was rather disappointed with the rest of the game, though. Dying too many untimely deaths eventually leads to frustration and boredom. Will appeal to Impossible Mission fanatics - I am not one of them!

First Day Target Score

Jester.

Green Screen View

Couid have been better.

Good News

P. Nice multi-coloured screens.
P. Plenty of objects and characters.
P. Good strategy and puzzling element.
P. Excellent soundtrack during play.

Bad News

N. Takes time to get into.
N. Relies on random searching element.

Bob Wade

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