Time Zone: More Whinging

Several hours into Time Zone, I’m just starting to get past the initial exploration phase and start finding solutions to problems. In most adventures, the exploration phase includes a certain amount of experimental poking at objects and scenery. That hasn’t really been the case here, as there aren’t very many objects around, and those few have limited pokability. Exploration has been a matter of exploring the map, with its neat grid of hundreds of filler rooms, each of which pauses to stroke in its graphics whenever you enter. I should turn off my emulator’s governor.

time_zone-surpriseThen there’s the instant-death areas. Since this game is both (a) old-school and (b) written by Roberta Williams, there are plenty of them. It’s easy to forget, in the post-Monkey Island age, about the ubiquity of death in the old days. The way that games would kill you for walking in the wrong direction, off a cliff or into a river, where newer games would stop you with a warning. And no “undo” feature. When you die, you have to start over, which means swapping back to disk 1, even if you’ll want to immediately restore a game on a different disk. Of course, since I’m running the game under emulation, there are no actual floppy disks involved. Swapping disks is a matter of selecting a disk image from a file-selection dialog. Still, this is a minor nuisance, and not something I want to do very often. Perhaps I should look for a better emulator, one that has its own snapshot quicksave/quickload interface, so I don’t have to rely on the in-game save/load system.

I really have to close this post, though — I’m running out of time until my self-imposed deadline, because I’ve been spending so much time playing the thing. I’ll try to have something more to say about the content next time, after I’ve seen some more of it.

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