Anybody will tell you that, when Times of Lore was released ion the C*mm*d*r* 64, just before Christmas, it leaped instantly into my top ten fave games of all time, and I couldn't wait to see how it would come out on the Spectrum. To me, it had all the makings of a perfect game, and indeed, it still does.
One thing Origin have done incredibly well, especially when you consider this is their first Spectrum game, is capture all the best elements from three genre of computer game, and put them together to create a game that requires a bit of thought to play, but still has enough widespread appeal to make it an instant hit.
Times of Lore casts you an an adventurer (you choose which: Knight, barbarian of valkyrie), who, at the start of the game, as with so many of Origins earlier products, has no aim. This is soon rectified as, when you stagger out of bed and walk down to the first floor of the tavern where you have slept the night, you bump into a local priest, who gives you your first job. Rescue a treasure from a band of orcs, who are camped north of the city. You accept this task, and set of instantly.
There are really two ways to play TOL. Firstly, you can play it as a straight arcade game, just running around the 13,000 (yes, you read correctly) locations, killing everyone in sight. Fun though this may be, it can get boring. Alternatively, you can start taking advantage of the real game.
Part arcade, part RPG, part adventure, TOL is full of puzzles, but never confusing or illogical. Most of the game has you following orders, completing tasks and not getting killed. This may sound a little dull, but there's a bit more to it than that.
Conversation is the key to gaining information, and words are the key to winning the game. You can chat with everybody you meet, via the icon system at the bottom of the screen. Click on the icon of the mouth, and a menu will appeal with a number of options. Select 'Ask Question' and another menu will appear. This contains all the things you can currently ask people about. Select one, and if you are talking to the right person they will tell you something of interest. The original topic now dealt with, it disappears from the menu to be replaced by a new keyword.
The graphics are fine. Large, well drawn sprites walk around realistic looking scenery that scrolls quite well in four directions. Colour has been used to excellent effect, and it basically looks a lot better than I ever expected.
An incredibly competent conversion. Still, more or less a perfect game. Wonderful graphic, sound and playability and enough game hidden away in there to keep anyone going for weeks. Looks like Origin are going to have a good time in the Spectrum market.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
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