Judith Kane knelt on the dais and carefully read the plaque under the coffin. “Kill most of the birds!” the inscription is read. “Mmm!” Kane thought with his best Sam Spade cynicism showing through “looks like I’ll be able to attribute this to Howard the Duck.” She left the dais and faced the surrounding mist as Bertram Trench, an incredibly inept android assistant, followed her. Suddenly, a band of fog dwellers attack.

Judith fired her faithful Smith & Wesson, only to find that she had missed the squat little denizen of the mist that was approaching her. “Damn,” he cursed with a 1940s understatement, “Sam Spade wouldn’t have missed!” The mist dweller attacked and slashed his knee. “Wasn’t it supposed to be neck blackjack?” He fired again and saw the attacking mist dweller fall into the orange dust in agonizing death, then turned to face the next attacker.

TIME SHIP (TS) is not just another adventure game. It is a role play system. In TS, players can travel the stream of time through an ancient knowledge of mind power and universal energy. The system documentation is excellent for setting the parameters of the game environment.

Unlike many systems that are restricted to a certain period of time, the task and / or adventure modules that will be published at a later date will be free to explore any historical or historical epoch. The documentation helps the first-time player set up the system by guiding the newbie through the process of creating a data disc and player. The player disc can contain character files for up to 10 players. After creating the player’s data and discs, the program prepares the player for play and allows the character generation process to begin (Time Traveler’s Guild Registration). Like many role-playing systems, TS begins by quantifying attributes. Unlike some RPG systems, the amounts by which basic attributes are described are determined by the player (not randomized). These attributes are: strength, charisma, dexterity, endurance and intelligence. The experienced RPG player will be familiar with its functions within the system.

All five attributes start at a value of 50 (below average) and the player has 60 points to spend on creating the character with a Weapons to Hit Number (WTHN) that reflects the character’s proficiency with that weapon (within 19 different categories). Each WTHN starts at 60 and since the lower the WTHN, the more likely a character is to hit, the player receives 60 points to subtract from the 19 WTHN categories. That concludes the character generation process (or guild registration). Next, in the tradition of most RPG systems, it is the player’s responsibility to equip their character. Of course, it makes a difference where you go on time in terms of what you will need on the adventure. In MURDER AT THE END OF TIME, the introductory module included with the basic system, the player is warned that weaponry is likely limited to the standard 20th century detective problem. The player is also warned on the module datasheet that many items that were brought into the Time stream will be lost or diminished in effectiveness. These factors and the opportunity to choose one’s own team increase the interest in this game.

Unfortunately, the introductory module is not as well executed as the game system. The game system requires consideration of one’s “Charisma” value, but interaction with NPCs and suspects is extremely limited. For example, at one point the character meets a nymph in the forest. When attempting to initiate any form of dialogue and / or questioning with her, the character becomes discouraged with the assertion that she should not speak to strangers. At another point, when the character tries to question the deceased’s “butler”, he is told that Igor cannot hear. Also, one would think that after all the time spent creating a combat-ready character, one could start combat.

This is not always true. If one attempts to attack Igor, the player is told that Igor is unaffected by the character’s attack on his knee. I find it hard to believe that a revolver bullet is ignored as a pathetic attack, even if it is aimed at the victim’s knee. Why create an elaborate and well thought out combat system to use against the denizens of the mist and not against obstacles to one’s own investigation?

However, even the module has some cool features. I particularly enjoyed watching what the show does when writing obscenity. The show says, “Say you’re sorry, dummy.” It will not accept any additional keyboard input until the word “sorry” is entered. I also found the graphics in the module and the fast scrolling text pages for the basic system to be aesthetically pleasing.

However, the module contains too many dead ends, some of which act like a Deus ex machine. For example, knowing that pressing a certain button causes the character to fall through an opening in the iris into the cargo hold of an alien ship, Judith Kane tied a rope to a stationary object and pressed the button. When Judith was unable to find an exit from the cargo hold, she began to climb the rope, only for a denizen of the invisible mist to pull the rope up and out of her reach, moments before she grabbed it. Also, there are many times when it might be advantageous to do something destructive to escape or investigate, but the program simply will not allow one to do so. Spelling mistakes are also distracting. It is highly unlikely that the deceased was killed with a wooden “steak”, unless it was prop food with a very sharp edge. Also, one gets the impression that I noticed at the beginning of this review that the phrase “Killing most of the birds” is an important clue.

Watch for spelling mistakes and avoid frustration. I am impressed with TS as a potentially interesting game system, but was disappointed in how the introductory module did not take advantage of the system’s strengths. One can only hope that future task modules (where the character must perform an action, i.e. assassination, rescue, etc.) and adventure (where the character can explore a temporary environment to solve a given problem) will use more of the integrated system functions. If the modules of the future take advantage of those strengths, Five Star will give Info COM tremendous competition.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *