Release date: 1996
Developer/publisher: Microvalue/Flair Software
Game languages: German/English/French
USK: For all ages
A review by André 20th October 2002
From time to time the classic 3rd-person-comic-adventure "Time Paradox" is offered on the internet in online-auctions. It was produced by "Flair Software", that I didn't know until that point and probably already has been shut down long ago. You can get hold of the game at present for very little money, because it seems to have fallen into oblivion. I bought it at an auction and was curious, whether people were no more interested in the game rightly, or whether I excavated a classic. Well, to say it directly: "Time Paradox" is probably not a classic, because it has its weaknesses. But one can get some positive aspects out of this game with a bit good will and consideration of its age.
"Time Paradox" was designed for DOS and WIN 95, but it could be installed on my PC problem-free too under WIN 98. Probably a result of the installation under WIN98 were two unpleasant errors. On the one hand in about half of the dialogues ugly cracks could be heard, since the game didn't get along with my relative new sound card. In addition my mouse pointer froze after saving, so that I had to start again each time! Since there were however no other bugs (neither technical nor ingame), I exeptionally saved rather seldom. Once installed, the game can only be started from CD. I don't mind. But what did matter and was really complicated, that one has to select and confirm the game language as well as the sound card with each game start.
On the whole "Time Paradox" is a fantasy- or fairytale adventure, to be perhaps compared most likely with King's Quest 7 or Legend of Kyrandia. The story is simply and fast described. In the very short intro (which is interestingly in contrast to the actual game only supplied with sub-titles and also shows graphics, that are not nearly as beautiful as the ingame graphics) our heroine with the for German ears quite masculine sounding name Kay, gets the governmental order, to travel to the past to stop Morgana Le Fay, a former, likewise female, however rather malicious councillor. Mentioned Morgana threatens to destroy the past, what of course would also threaten the present.
The story is, as said, very simple and from now on Kay puzzles through numerous scenes, until she finally meets Morgana in a castle and eliminates her. Beautiful the many fairy-taleful and imaginative creatures, whom Kay meets. Because one must pass numerous obstacles, outwit cave people, dinos, a dragon, a little devil and many other obscure beings to approach the end. But unfortunately one is looking for a thought out story and more complex plot strands in vain. Mentioned little devil reminded me by the way strongly of the two dopey devils in Simon the Sorcerer. The typical humor, which can be found in so many comic adventures as for example Simon the Sorcerer, looks however rather pale in "Time Paradox" compared with many other games. But it can be, because of the bad German translation.
The graphics are probably the best of the whole game and really more than impressing. After the intro, which is relative simple compared to the ingame graphics, the developers had a nice idea: first of all you see the protagonist half covered behind bushes. After a mouse-click she appears. And what you can see, really succeeded: I was surprised, how the designers managed to create a long-legged beauty with many curves using only a few pixels. (besides I was surprised about me, that so simple, primary charms of a coarse-pixeled comic lady could easily impress me). Suitable her movements are very delicate and outstandingly animated, what you cannot say of the other characters necessarily, which were clearly not so well animated.
But still more beautiful than our heroine dressed in only a tight jungle outfit, is the really outstanding environment. The jungle landscapes, lakes and forests are represented in detail and very playful in the most diverse green and brown shades. The whole picture is animated by individual colour spots in the shape of different colored flowers which form a beautiful contrast. Additionally multicolored butterflies and similar creatures fly around in many scenes or dinosaurs populate the picture. The positive impression is strengthened even more, when our heroine seems to sink into nature and is covered by plants in the foreground when walking. I have seldom seen so impressing landscapes in an old game, which are partial more beautiful than nature itself. Starting from approximately the second half the game takes however place in a village as well as in old walls. That still looks nice, but I found the "nature scenes" still more attractive.
Here they wanted to make it simple for the players following the slogan "less is more", because both the options and the inventory are reduced to the most necessary. A successful basic idea. One interactive bar lets you easily select the desired actions, the inventory and lets you save or load. Original and also practical that this interactive area disappears on mouse-click, so that one has free view on the whole screen and the beautiful graphics. A further mouse-clicks lets you select the position of the interactive bar - in the upper or lower half of the screen - depending on, where it's most handy at the moment.
However I would have wished myself a few more functions nevertheless. Thus an option menu is missing and one can otherwise only switch on/off the music with the F3-key. There are no sub-titles, what is very annoying with the indistinct speech. A volume controller for music would have been surely not wrong (also read at Sound). Also the monologues and dialogues cannot be clicked away. While Kay is talking and talking, I could have used the time to try out at least one or two things. It doesn't invite to experiment.
Kay is comfortably controlled by point&click with the mouse (people with masochistic nature are however allowed to use the keyboard alternatively).
First of all I fast switched off the music. Because one cannot adjust it, as said, and besides it's droning so loud that one cannot understand the German speech any longer. Making it more difficult is that the dubbing - carefully formulated - is nothing to shout about. On the one hand money was saved on the dubbing speakers or probably no money was spent at all on them. Because there are no professionals at the work. On the other hand the speakers sound not only dilettante, but were also technically badly converted. The whole partly sounds so indistinct that one does not understand at all, what the speakers want to tell us. And speech is particularly important in this game, since there are no sub-titles! One can only read the item description in the inventory and at hotspots.
Besides one also cannot hear the nice sound effects because of the background music. They were used suitable to the beautiful scenes. Thus there is for example a relaxing bird twitter in the jungle, supporting the beautiful atmosphere produced already by the pictures. Sometimes the characters in the background (e.g. a sausage salesman) speak in a continuous loop monotonously always the same two or three words in full volume. That's so penetrant, that you would like to make a quick getaway from some scenes.
The dialogues don't always have sense and sometimes really sound strange! Unfortunately I can't describe it in another way. Do I misunderstand the humor? Thus e.g. the papyrus plant becomes somehow Paparis or so, since the speaker doesn't know the German word?
The puzzles mainly are about combining objects. At first this still makes fun. However I felt many puzzles everything else than logical and after some time laughing was on the other side of my face. Because the area, in which Kay is moving around, continues to grow with increasing game process and thus also the possibility of illogical puzzles grows. You often have to try all inventory items hoping that from time to time one "fits". This clearly produces frustration.
Besides Kay runs so terribly slow, that the game is additionally lengthened. Within the inventory no items can be combined, what would have provided a little change. In addition you have to select the correct answers during multiple-choice dialogues to receive a new object from your interlocutor. Here you best go through all answers, until you find the correct one. This is quite monotonous too, since one must again and again listen to the same dialogues in full length. In one scene the developers omitted a hotspots intentionally, so that you could only find it, when running around for some time.
Since I found the game sometimes quite long-winded and illogical, I very often looked into the walkthrough. Therefore I can only estimate an exact length. I think, if you play the game without using a walkthrough, it will take approx. 15 to 20 hours.
Graphically "Time Paradox" is, corrresponding to its age, a real coarse pixeled splendour. Besides the graphics is also very independent and can therefore hardly be compared with other games. The fact that the puzzles are quite long-winded, due to the slow walking speed of Kay, can be explained and excused with the age of the game. Combining objects also often is, as said, not really logical. In addition I have to state the quite unprofessionel German dubbing and a partial very strange translation, which contribute to the fact that the game sometimes is inadvertently amusing. On the other hand "Time Paradox" is very imaginative, not least because of the many fairy tale characters. It was at least partly quite funny for me to outwit the most diverse opponents, so that I can finally recommend it with some reservations to patient players, who are fans of older 3rd-person-comic-adventures and tolerate some weak points.
Rating: 57 %
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- 486 SK25
- DOS 5.0 or higher or Windows 95 and compatible
- 4 MB RAM
- Sound Blaster compatible sound card
- VGA graphic card
- Windows 95
- Pentium 1
- 32 MB RAM
- Soundblaster 16