|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.3.1 DVD-ROM Graphics: 640x480 @ 16-bit|
|The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time 10th Anniversary DVD|
January 3, 2010 | Richard Hallas
Ten years is a long time, especially in the world of technology. Think back to the computer you were using, and the games you were playing, a decade ago; it was a different era. Today, the diminutive iPhone features a touch-based interface and lots more raw power than the iMacs of the late 1990s, in a device that sits in the palm of your hand and is less than a centimetre thick. Desktop and laptop computers are incomparably more powerful.
As for games, we just don't seem to play the same sorts of things any more, in some genres at least. The adventure in particular has largely (though not completely) fallen out of favour, and the need for pre-rendered scenes and video to create an immersive environment has also fallen by the wayside as computers have become powerful enough to render convincing scenes dynamically. Technologically, things just don't need to be done in the same way any more, and the days of supplying large chunks of pre-rendered graphics on multiple CDs are a distant memory.
It's interesting, therefore, to be presented in late 2009 with the kind of blast from the past that the new reissue of The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time represents, because it's the kind of game that you just don't seem to see any more. Some of its original creators have lovingly resurrected it in a form that runs on modern Macs, and playing it creates a very similar experience to the one provided by the original a decade ago. That's a bit of a two-edged sword: if this game had been designed from scratch today, it would undoubtedly have been done in a different way, and the results would have been far more impressive for modern eyes. Nevertheless, what matters is the content and presentation within its own terms, and this is where Legacy of Time really scores. It was a good game a decade ago, and it's still a good game now; the technology may have aged but the content has not. The fact that it is a good game is clearly what makes the reissue worthwhile, and it's great that it can once again be played on modern systems.
The Journeyman ProjectLegacy of Time is actually the last part of a trilogy (a fourth instalment was sadly never completed). Although you will best appreciate the game if you happen to have played the first two games in the series, you don't miss too much by jumping in with part 3, and the manual helpfully provides some scene-setting information about the background story and central characters and events.
Speaking personally, I've had no experience of the first two games and, although I played Legacy of Time when it was new in the late 1990s, that's sufficiently long ago that I'd forgotten most of what I knew about it in any case, so I was largely a neophyte myself. All I really remembered about the game was that I enjoyed it first time around.
I don't want to say much about the story in this review because to reveal it would be to spoil it. The story is not only central and important, but actually surprisingly entertaining. Most games' background stories skirt dangerously close to (and often on the wrong side of) the borders of utter banality, so to play a game that actually has a decent story behind it makes for a pleasant change. Admittedly, the matter of the Chameleon Jumpsuit is not so much a convenient plot device as a massive leap beyond the bounds of the even vaguely plausible, to allow the game's plot to hang together, but never mind; as it provides the glue that the game needs to exist at all, one cannot be too critical.
The game involves temporal agent Gage Blackwood (you) travelling to various points in history in the Chameleon Jumpsuit. This body-hugging high-tech fashion statement is not only a time machine that can carry Gage to anywhere he needs to go in time and space, but (and here's the clever, chameleon bit) it can take snapshots of the people whom Gage encounters and mimic them with three-dimensional image projection and voice-acting so convincing that even the mimicked characters' own immediate relatives can't spot that they're being duped by a techno-bunyip.