By Al Giovetti
This game was first released for the 3DO platform and the title was considered by many to be one of the good titles. With the current rash of conversions many things get messed up when trying to adapt a console game to the PC. Many of the conversions just are less satifying than the original game release. Killing Time seems to maintain its intrigue even after conversion.
Company LineAs a student of Egyptology searching for an ancient waterclock from the dynasty of the Pharaoh Ramses, you are the first person to walk onto the island of Matinicus, closed to visitors for more than 60 years. Meet young heiress Tess Conway, lost with her high society friends on the Summer Solstice, 1932. Tess was obsessed with the occult, and the water clock was rumored to grant everlasting life.
Can you find the secret of youth and still escape alive? You are trapped in a first-person passage through unspeakable evil. Surrounded by hosts of the undead, use your wits and your weapons to make your way to the heart of this terrible mystery. Creep through dark hallways into the dim rooms of the past, speak to the video-real shades of former residents, and kill or be killed until you solve the mystery of Matinicus Isle.
The Mayhem of Duke Nukem(TM) meets problem solving of Myst(TM)
This was an attempt to combine the action game play of a Doom clone and the problem solving seen in a puzzle game. The game has artifacts, keys, doors, and puzzles, some features only seen in one genre and not in the other. Another seemless addition to the game was the Full Motion Video sequences which, contrary to what you often find, actually enhances the action and does not interfere with it. Collecting vessels provides player character power ups. The lack of an onscreen compass makes finding your way around more difficult than it needs to be. The game maps for each of the 45 levels is larger than in the 3DO version. The levels can be accessed at any time by wandering about the island and blundering into them. The levels include a lighthouse, lookout, docks, water clock room, gardens, hunting lodge, caverns, mausoleum, and topiary. There are five different types of problems to solve. The game has 22 enemies including killer clowns. There are eight weapons including shotgun, crowbar, Molotov Cocktail, Ankh, and Flamethrower. Careful searching reveals more than 20 types of power-ups
In the 1930s Tess Conway, a member of the class of idle rich, gave a weird party at her island estate house. The party goers all disappeared and have never been seen again. You are a student of Egyptology who is called into investigate only to be stranded in the house. You must destroy thousands of undead, solve puzzles, solve the mystery of the waterclock device which may grant eternal life, and escape alive. The plot is odd since if this Pharaoh Ramses waterclock confers eternal life, why is this beautiful house loaded with such ugly and poorly drawn and animated undead monsters? This is the mystery that you have to solve in this game with more plot and less bullets than other Doom clones.
Unique, 1930's style art at a stunning 640x480 resolution. The graphics for the art-deco and Egyptian archetecture is quite good, but the character graphics and the graphics seen in the full motion video is very primitiveand highly pixelated. It appears that the game designers wanted the ghosts to appear in stark contrast to the ultra-realistic backgrounds.
The character animations and the full motion video (FMV) is very rough and poorly drawn with extreme grainy texture and blockyness. These very primitive cartoons stand appear poorly drawn and animated, especially against the ultra realistic archetecture of the buildings and grounds. The FMV helps to establish the plot location, and characterization of the game and effectively does so without interfering with the action. FMV also supplies us with the hints, instructions and explanations for the setting. The animation is very smooth if impossibly indestinct.
Voice ActorsVoice actors did a good job, but it is very weird to listen to the primitively animated and drawn ghostly characters when they speak. You will really begin to wonder if cartoons can talk. The killer clown cries, "tickle, tickle."
Music ScoreThe music includes jazz and some great mood music that is most appropriate for a haunted house with a dark and mysterious tone. The music does not detract from the game play as seen in many other games, each room has its own theme: the piano music in the Water Clock room, the baladic siren song of the docks, and the energetic music of the gardens.
Sound EffectsSound effects have very interesting haunting sounds that work well with the game.
Multi-player FeaturesThis is a single player Doom clone.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
JournalistsPeter seems to like this more than Jason and Jim, because he found it fun to play. Jim says, "Kill time playing something else."
References3DO Studio Killing Time PC Web Site
Jason D'Aprile, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 73, 60%.
Peter Olafson, PC Games, volume 4, issue 3, March, 1997, pg. 95, 85%.
Jim Loftus, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 11, April, 1997, pg. 56, 60%.