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The Labyrinth of Time
The Labyrinth of Time

1993 saw the original release of Terra Nova Developmentís first person adventure game The Labyrinth of Time. Even though The Labyrinth of Time was overshadowed by the release of the incredibly successful Myst, the game still offered beautiful graphics and an engaging storyline to adventure gamers who did not overlook it. Now, thanks to The Wyrmkeep Entertainment, a reprogrammed version of the game is available, 12 years after its first release...

The Labyrinth of Time pays tribute to the legendary architect Daedalus and King Minos. According to Greek mythology, Daedalus works in Crete under King Minos and Queen Pasiphae. In order to settle a dispute over his right to be the king, Minos seeks the god Poseidonís help. To prove Minosís right to sovereignty, Poseidon sends a pure white bull for Minos to sacrifice in the godís name. However, after seeing the bull, Minos refuses the sacrifice. Poseidon punishes the king by giving Pasiphae uncontrollable lust for the bull. Eventually, Pasiphae and the bull mate, leading to the birth of the half man half bull beast known as the Minotaur. Minos forces Daedalus to create a maze to contain the Minotaur. Every year Minos orders young people to be fed to the beast as tribute. Eventually, with Daedalusís help, the hero Theseus slays the Minotaur.

The Labyrinth of Time starts as the player is on the way home from a long, dull day at work. The spirit of Daedalus suddenly appears at the subway station, bearing grim news. It turns out that after his death, King Minos has only grown stronger. He is now forcing Daedalus to construct a labyrinth that surpasses the boundaries of space and time. Once the labyrinth is completed, Minos will be able to invade Earth in all its ages. It is up to the player to travel through the labyrinth and find a way to destroy it.

Traveling through the various locations in the game, players will discover an interesting subplot about an archeologist and his obsession to locate a Mayan artifact. Using clues from the various articles, notes, and the journal spread throughout the game, players will be challenged to piece together the clues and discover how the labyrinth can be destroyed. The story also successfully takes advantage of the fact that the labyrinth exists in many places throughout the course of time. By visiting certain locations in the past, players will be able to change the course of time, making more clues and items available in the future. While the time travel aspect of the game should have been explored further, The Labyrinth of Time does offer a solid story that should keep players interested.

The Labyrinth of Time also successfully delivers in terms of graphics and music. Compared to other games from the early 90ís, The Labyrinth of Time offers beautiful graphics and some impressive creative artwork. Even in a gaming arena of gorgeous 3-D environments and highly detailed character models, The Labyrinth of Time remains playable and sometimes even fairly pleasant to look at. Even though it feels a little overdone from time to time, the game features a nice soundtrack that does a good job of setting the mood.

The Labyrinth of Time does suffer from a number of illogical puzzles. Certain items are found in places where they do not belong. For instance, it is difficult to explain what a can of paint is doing in a secret compartment in a throne room, or what a key is doing in the coin return slot of a jukebox. Even though the illogical item placement and puzzles do not significantly take away from gameplay, they could have been avoided altogether. The game also features a significant number of inventory items that can be picked up even though they are never used. Especially since players will have to scroll through items one at a time, the unused items needlessly crowd the inventory.

The fundamental problem many gamers may have with The Labyrinth of Time is its core concept. If you cannot stand mazes, you should avoid this game, plain and simple. The Labyrinth of Time features a mirror maze, a medieval maze, a hedge maze, and a surreal maze. The average player should expect to navigate some of these mazes multiple times before beating the game. In fact, the entire game feels and plays like one intricate maze.

The Labyrinth of Time does feature an excellent mapping system that significantly reduces the difficulty of going through the game. As players explore the labyrinth, rooms are added to the map. Each alternative path is marked and an arrow clearly designates the playersí current location and the direction they are facing. Upon entering the mirror, medieval, or the hedge maze, the map expands to further help players find their way. The only area where the map is not available is the surreal maze. Fortunately, this maze consists of only nine rooms and players can expect to figure out the trick to get out fairly easily. Finally, The Labyrinth of Time allows players to place virtual breadcrumbs that can be traced back if they get lost while exploring a particular area. With all the help provided for navigating the mazes, navigating The Labyrinth of Time is not extremely challenging. The only real problem with the mazes is the need to navigate them multiple times throughout the course of the game.

Playing The Labyrinth of Time is like meeting an old, forgotten friend after many years. The gameplay will not dazzle you with its innovativeness. The puzzles will not make you spend many sleepless nights. Yet the interesting locations, the entertaining story, the pleasant music, and the old-school graphics give the game an inherent charm. If you can handle looking at aged graphics and if the thought of navigating mazes does not make you want to run away and hide, you should consider giving The Labyrinth of Time a try. This game has something to offer to the seasoned adventure gamer whoíd like a trip down memory lane.

For maze lovers (like me) the final grade is 83/100
For everyone else, the final grade is 78/100

Developer: Wyrmkeep Entertainment
Publisher: Wyrmkeep Entertainment
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: November 2004
Platform: PC-MAC-LINUX

System Requirements:

300 MHz or faster CPU
Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP or
Linux 2.4 (x86) and later or
Mac OS X 10.1.2 and later

*This article originally appeared on Just Adventure.