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Capt. Sage's Review of
The Journeyman Project 3
Legacy of Time

It seems only appropriate to give some historical background on a game whose main premise is time travel. "The Journeyman Project 3: The Legacy of Time" is the third game in a series of adventure games that began around the same time as "Myst". "The Journeyman Project 3" turned out to be the last game in the Journeyman Project series, as the fourth game never got a publisher.

We ought to begin with the gameplay, which is where many players will decide either to purchase the game or not. First, it is a first person adventure game, where you play the role of Gage Blackwood, Agent 5 of the Temporal Security Agency. Second, you cannot die. Third, there are no action sequences, no timed sequences, no jumping puzzles, and certainly not any arcade games.

The game does involve inventory puzzles, one maze puzzle, and conversation puzzles. Most puzzles are inventory based, and may require either backtracking within the area to gain an item, or solving quite a bit of an otherwise unrelated area in order to retrieve an item. One large and rather involved maze puzzle exists, but fortunately the game gives you many aids in its completion. In a departure from previous Journeyman Project games, the worlds have quite a few characters in them, and you interact quite a bit with them. The interactions are both for the sheer joy of talking to other people, and to solve several conversation puzzles.

In the earlier games in the series, talking to people from history would distort time. People from the past would think that a bizarre metal monster was talking to them. Now, thanks to the Chameleon Suit your player character wears, your player character looks like a next-door neighbor. A player clicks on a character they meet within the game in order to record what the character looks and sounds like. The player can then use the Chameleon Suit to create the illusion that they are that character. Players are therefore able to converse with the various people that they meet.

Using the Chameleon Suit and conversing are two of the most fun aspects of gameplay, fortunate because you will spend a great deal of time experiencing both. You can get totally different reactions from a character, depending on your disguise. This is both amusing and useful for getting information.

All of the classes of puzzles have very good feedback. When you solve the puzzles, you are quickly and obviously informed that you have indeed solved the puzzle.

The game properly records your progress when saving puzzles, and you can save at any time (except perhaps when youíre zoomed in on something, like some puzzles.)

Aid throughout the entire game is provided by a built-in hint system, cleverly implemented in the form of- Arthur the Artificial Intelligence! Yes, he has indeed returned from the last game, "Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time." Arthur is a hint system, but is also a character in his own right, your loyal and constant companion. For most of the game, heíll live in the lower-right hand corner of your interface.

Arthur has grown in gameplay significance since the last game. In addition to his hint system duties, he now occasionally and spontaneously points out things important to the story. Arthur is also your translator, meaning he will be your voice when you talk to people in the historical eras that you visit with your time machine. The other characters have their own voices, but we are meant to understand that Arthur is translating their speech for us.

Apart from his translation duties, Arthur's amount of speech is fully controllable. You can get a hint from him by clicking on a light bulb icon when it is available, and you can hear his comments on the current scene by clicking on thought button icons when they appear. His comments range from erudite historical commentary to jokes. The main menu offers more overarching control over his speech. Default settings have him speak spontaneously only at important plot points, and otherwise only speak when you click on his icons or when he translates for you. He can also be prevented from speaking at important plot points, but I believe he will speak if you click on his icons. Arthur will always speak in order to translate for you. The final main menu setting is one that makes him automatically say the first comment available to him. It's amazing effective at simulating the effect of Arthur saying whatever comes into his mind when you enter a new area.

He is quite possibly the character that you will interact most with during this game, which makes me very happy. I should note, however, that many people simply hate Arthur, and will doubtless proceed to the main menu to silence him. I myself choose the menu option where he says whatever is first in his mind when he moves into an area. There are a few rare times where his humor might be considered inappropriate, but otherwise itís generally family-friendly. Arthur is more than the sum of his parts and his jokes; he has a personality too, making him an enjoyable sidekick for the whole game.

Next, we may proceed to the graphics. The graphics were astounding at the time of the gameís release, and really look pretty good now. I write this as a person who needs only an aesthetic pleasure from a game's graphics, and not necessarily the graphics produced through the best technology. That is why I can write that games ranging from "Myst" to "Exile III: Ruined World" to "Myst IV: Revelation" all have good graphics.

The graphics are not only functional, but also pleasant to look at. You're able to see quite a bit of them thanks to the 360 degree panning interface. The actors are integrated well into the background, both in their acting and in the blue screening.

Cinematics for the game are well done and form an integral part of the story. You can skip them, but for full comprehension of the plot, you should watch them all. The game even nicely lets you review them after they have occurred with the Cinematics menu during the game.

At this point, I am bound by honesty to tell you that while I have long loved the cinematics, some people think that they are cheesy. They pour scorn unmitigated upon them. I, on the other hand, have watched them over and over, can still remember nearly all of them off the top of my head, and really love them.

Some people I have read did not really like the cinematics because they advance the framing story for the whole game, which they felt to be rather weak. These reviewers therefore felt that the storytelling in the cinematics was weak. They felt that the individual stories for the places that you visit are much stronger.

Personally, I thought that the storytelling in the cinematics and in each place you visit was very good. Considering this wide range of opinion here, from absolute hate to absolute love to displeasure, I honestly cannot tell how you will react to the story.

Music, as always in the Journeyman Project series, is excellent. In a departure from the previous games, it is now done with an orchestra and not a synthesizer. There are many different instruments used to capture the regional flavor of the places that you will visit. The mood is perfectly matched and created in each scene.

Overall, "The Journeyman Project 3" is an excellent game, quite possibly the best in the series thanks to an excellent interface. The player also gets more time with Arthur, and the ability to speak to characters, as well as the opportunity to explore the interesting possibilities of the Chameleon device. While people may disagree on how well the framing story and cinematics were done, the gameplay is very clear and fun. This has been and continues to be one of my favorite games of all time.

Journeyman Project Trilogy Packaging: The box is large. It was big for its day, and in this modern era of miniboxes it is gargantuan. The biggest problem with the packaging is the folder in which the Compact Discs (CDs) are kept. The CDs are not well secured, and so they move, meaning that most of them will be scratched. The Trilogy edition is affordable and quite possibly the only way in which any of the three Journeyman Project games are still available, so it is unfortunate that the packaging almost ensures scratches. Fortunately, the discs may still be playable despite their scratches.

SPOILERS

Don't be too worried about the maze puzzle. You can pick up a detailed map that keeps track of your progress and modifications you make to the maze.