Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Time Lord: A Ghost from Rare's Mediocre Past

One of Science Fiction's great mainstays has always been time travel. From the classic H.G. Wells novel to Doctor Who, we have always been attracted to the notion of going through time to explore our past, repair our present, and save our future. This premise has also been explored in the realm of video games. Two games I practically grew up with, Turtles In Time and Time Lord, both focused on the idea of a time travelling hero to great effect. The only problem is only one of these games decided to age gracefully. Turtles In Time is an action game masterwork, a great beat em up in every sense of the word, however, Turtles In Time isn't the focus of this post. I will however, discuss my experience with one of the many games developed by Rare in the late 80s, Time Lord.

Time Lord is quite a peculiar game, as it attempts to combine a few different genres yet it never gets any of them quite right. Rare had this problem from time to time back in the 80s as they were getting into the mold of pumping out great games consistently. Back to my point though, Time Lords gameplay revolved around a character who had one year in game time to eliminate enemies in four time periods, return to his own time and defeat the Drakkon King. The four time periods are: Medieval England, The Old West USA, The Caribbean during the age of Pirates, and France during World War II. The levels look really good, as does the games soundtrack, but the character animations seem extra loose at times. There is also and issue with some of the boss fights taking forever. this wouldn't be a bad thing, but considering the one year of game time translates to about 24 minutes of actual time, you can get a bit frustrated trying to defeat a boss that takes 5 minutes to dispatch.

All in all, Time Lord is a pretty straight forward game that honestly could have been one of the better games of the 8Bit system generation, but a few nagging problems keeps it from being truly great. This would be a great game for Rare to resurrect on Xbox Live Arcade, but it would need a lot of polish.

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