Titanic: Adventure Out of Time
Review by Al Giovetti
Price: $60 SRP,
Genre: animated graphic adventure
Release: November 12, 1996
Publisher: GTE Entertainment
Website: http://www.im.gte.com, www.cyberflix.com
Requirements: Minimum system requirements are a 486/66 MHz processor with 8 MB of RAM, super VGA monitor with 256 colors and Microsoft Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 for the PC. Macintosh computers must have an RGB color display monitor with 256 colors, a 68040 processor, 8 MB of RAM and System 7.1 or higher.
Company line: On the crest of a wave of Titanic-related events, including two television specials, the recent Discovery Channel expedition, the James Cameron feature film, an artifact tour and a Broadway musical, GTE Entertainment and CyberFlix have christened their Titanic and launched her into the channel. The CD-ROM suspense thriller, Titanic: Adventure Out of Time, set on board the doomed luxury liner, features a fully navigable environment that is a faithful recreation of the actual ship and an action-packed race against time that will change the course of human events forever.
Though billed as unsinkable, RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg and foundered on April 15, 1912, during her maiden voyage. More than 1,500 passengers drowned, including some of the world's richest notables. Based on the events of that tragic voyage, Titanic: Adventure Out of Time places the user in a history-altering adventure as a British secret agent on a mission that could alter the course of the 20th century. After the ship strikes the iceberg, the user begins a real-time race against the clock and has a limited amount of time to finish collecting clues and solve puzzles. Throughout the game, users interact with more than two dozen fictional characters including Edwardian aristocrats, steerage passengers and the ship's crew.
More than two years in the making, Titanic was reconstructed in "digital dry dock" at CyberFlix studios on a row of high end computer work stations. A team of 3D artists fashioned the ornate details and heavy machinery of the Industrial-Age behemoth fitting out more than 65 digital sets by "wrapping" hundreds of different metal, wood and other textures over a digital framework that consists of millions of computerized polygons. The finished result gives users the ability to explore the ship from bow to stern, including the magnificent staterooms, lounges and even a Turkish Bath.
Aiding gamers in their exploration of the ship is the "guided tour" option. Three interactive tour guides who ship out with the product help users to discover the ship with interesting historical facts and trivia. One of the first CD-ROM based adventures to utilize the World Wide Web to expand the content of the product following its release, Titanic will feature additional tour guides which can be downloaded from the game's web site (www.im.gte.com) over the coming months. The new tour guides will continually provide Titanic buffs with new things to see.
History: An interactive storytelling company and CD-ROM publisher (for Windows and Macintosh), CyberFlix was founded in 1993 and is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The company's first two releases were the critically acclaimed sci-fi action-arcade titles Lunicus and Jump Raven. Currently in release is the interactive Western saga, Dust: A Tale of the Wired West.
GTE Entertainment was founded in 1990 as a unit of GTE Corporation, the largest U.S.-based local telephone company. Based in Carlsbad, California, GTE Entertainment is a world-wide developer, publisher and distributor of digital entertainment.
Plot: The plot is based upon a journey which begins in London in 1942 and moves to a voyage on a ship (no this is not 1492 and the guy is not Columbus - Ed.). In this one you used to be in the British Secret Service but now you are fired because you failed in your Titanic mission. A bomb goes off in London which propels you back to April 15, 1912, and what is more bizarre, you have not filed your income taxes yet.
You wake up in your cabin with the Ship's steward who gives you instructions on how the game will be played. After a little exploration, Penny Pringle gives you some potato chips in the gymnasium, which you decipher to give you the instructions to steal the Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayam for Rocky and Bullwinkle from some German guy. Unlike anyone else on board you know you are in the twighlight zone and the boat will sink soon, so this is a timed mission you must not fail.
Game play: While wandering in the ship, you will meet with 25 very talkative characters who will flesh out the plot a bit for you. The characters you meet have two dimensional actors photos pasted on the three dimensional animated characters, a mixture which is just a little disconcerting. The answers are not very interesting and you will find yourself yawning and wishing they would get on with it.
Puzzles are of the treasure hunt variety where you accumulate tons of artifacts that you pick up from around the ship and figure how to use them in combination with or alone in various situations. You will spend more time in boring conversation than solving puzzles.
Graphics: The entire ship is reconstructed in brilliant color with patterned rugs, wooden paneling and other features only obtainable by the three dimensional modeling talents of 3D Studio or Silicon Graphics. Unlike Myst or Seventh Guest, you are free to explore the entire ship with full 360 degree freedom of movement.
Animation: The scenery scrolls by in three dimensions effortlessly.
Voice actors: The actors do an acceptable job.
Music score: Average
Sound effects: Average
Utilities: There is no automap or autotravel system, an unforgivable mistake in an animated graphic adventure.
Multi-player: There are regrettably no multi-player options.
Future plans: Keep you eyes peeled for other Titanic related events: the CBS miniseries to air later this week, the James Cameron film slated for release next Spring, the Broadway play and more. Also, check out our web site: www.im.gte.com for downloadable tour guides, contests, game forums and other exciting stuff.
Ethan Lane, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 9, February, 1997, pg. 80, 80%.