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Time: All Things Come to an End

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Andy Phillips

GAME DEVELOPER:Freeware

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 1996, Andy Phillips

Time: All Thing Come to An End is a tough, puzzle-oriented IF game that boasts a lot of challenging-but-always-logical puzzles, but suffers from a very unforgiving design. Specifically, you can get irrevocably stuck in some places if you didnt collect the right inventory item earlier in the game and there is no way to go back short of restoring a previous save. Carl Muckenhoupt summarizes the games shortcomings very well in this short review at his site:

“…a time-travel game with a Doctor Who-ish story involving a dystopian future, the ruins of Atlantis, Nazi England, Time’s Guardian and Time’s Enemy. A huge game with diverse settings, but ruined by unduly hard puzzles and bad design. If you don’t know why “linearity” is considered a bad thing in adventure games, give this one a try – it persistently locks the player into small areas, where you must already have the right equipment (often hidden where it’s easily missed) to do the thing that takes you to the next small area (often within a time limit). No going back to regions you visited before, either – perhaps this is meant as indicative of the nature of time, but it hardly makes a good game. Other than that, competently built, with a high code-to-bug ratio, weak prose (it describes things as “feeling evil” so often it becomes funny), and a few nice puzzles amidst all the mediocre ones.

Like all Andy Philips games before Heroines Mantle, TATCTAE suffers from being far too unforgiving to the player, with an extremely linear plot and even parser (many puzzles can only be solved by wording your sentence in one specific way). Its one of those games that I had more fun playing with a walkthrough comfortably in hand, than trying to solve entirely on my own (because when I tried, it led to a very frustrating gaming experience that shouldnt be what playing game is all about). If you want to play it, be prepared to save and restore often, because its a guess, die, then restore kind of game. But shortcomings notwithstanding, Time is still a Top Dog with some very tough, but also quite interesting, puzzles that manage to hold my attention to the very end walkthrough in hand, of course. Recommended, but check out Graham Nelson’s Jigsaw instead for a better-written and more forgiving time travel title.



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