Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Daniel B.
Would it impress you if I said 19 programmers developed this game? What about having 32 voice actors? This action-adventure game is, simply put, perfect. Everything in the game was custom designed. It was written and produced by Alain Tascan, and every last detail is tailor-made for the story. The music composition, by Robbi Finkel, is stellar. The multi-faceted storyline will make anyone feel a host of emotions, including joy, extreme sorrow, and everything in between. Ladies and gentlemen, 'Hype, The Time Quest' is a work of art. This one is definitely not to be missed. And once you have played through the game, I also recommend reading the PDF file on the CD to learn more about Hype the Valiant, and other key characters in the game. For example you will learn that Hype is about 22 years old, and Vibe, his betrothed, is about 18. This information is not covered in the game itself, and is very interesting to read.
The game takes place over 4 generations of Taskan rule (note the similarity with the producer's name). Hype, our hero, is from the era of King Taskan IV. One day a black knight, Barnak, flies in on his dragon Voydh. Barnak, a banished god, has come to Hype's era to start his own kingdom and take what everyone has by force. Hype, a knight of King Taskan IV, attempts to protect the king and queen from the evil invader. Seemingly all powerful, Barnak turns Hype into stone, and then sends him 200 years into the past. Ultimately Hype gets sent to the era of King Taskan I. Here Hype meets Gogoud, an apprentice magician who later becomes the Guardian of Time, and an important fixture in Hype's quest as well as in his life. The game is about time travel through four generations of Taskan rule. Time travel is made possible by the combination of two elements: Hype's sword (The Sword of Peace) and the Royal Jewel. As long as the two elements are in your possession, time travel can occur at the sundials located at Gogoud's Manor and in the city of Torras.
Inevitably Hype becomes a legend to people from all generations of Taskan rule. You will meet many people in the game, and many of them are people you will count on time and time again. But as Hype hops from era to era, many of these individuals will die due to old age, etc. You will lose many dear friends that you have made in the game, so the game is an emotional roller coaster. You will meet new people but then hop to other eras, where the children of the individuals you met have learned of your quest and hold you in high regard... almost god-like. Some admire your greatness, while others fall in love with you simply from knowing your story. However because you know that you must continue your quest, you will leave and re-visit these same individuals in a later era. For example you learn of one individual who never recovered from her infatuation, and leads a solitary life into her old age. Meeting up with her in the later era is heart wrenching. It is very hard to play through a new era knowing that one of your friends is no longer there, or that they have aged greatly. This element is saddening, but it is also what makes this game's storyline second to none. But all is not grim, because there is one character that stays with you from era to era. That character is Zatila, a friendly dragon. Zatila tells you of changes that happen from era to era, and you will do some flying on his back for parts of the game. Page 22 of the manual (HypeManual.pdf), located on the CD, explains how to pilot Zatila if you need assistance.
The save system in this game is rather unique in that you are only allowed to save when you come across a save lectern. You cannot save your progress at any other time. The save lecterns are located in different areas from era to era, but once you learn where they are there should be no problem with saving your games along the way.
This game will take a long time to play through. There are many tasks to accomplish, and you will also run many races in order to restock your inventory. Era 1 = Day, Era 2 = Night, Era 3 = Fall Day, and Era 4 = Hazy Day. Ultimately you will play through all four eras, and when you have completed all of your tasks, you will finally go to the black tower to fight 3 final foes (I will only say a certain magician, then Voydh, and finally Barnak himself). Compared to other 1 CD games, Hype is one of the longest games I have ever played. And every minute that you spend playing this gem is a delight.
In my opinion, about the only negative aspect of the game is the lack of support for Windows XP. This game runs perfectly on Windows 98 (and perhaps Windows ME), but I had absolutely no luck running this game on Windows XP. I read somewhere that someone was able to get the game running by using Windows 2000 compatibility, but they could not save at the save lecterns. So even if you can get the game running in Windows XP, you will probably face severe problems along the way. I'd recommend playing this game using Windows 98.
It is definitely an action-adventure game: I would say about 98% action and 2% adventure. And there is absolutely no mouse usage in the game; even the options in the game menu are selected with the cursor keys. Some may cringe at the notion of having to utilize a lot of keys to play the game, and for those with severe arthritis that is understandable. However if you are ever going to try such a game, then it should most definitely be this one! The game is meant for all ages. Children will enjoy it because of the LEGO look of the characters, teenagers will enjoy it because of its challenging gameplay, and adults will enjoy it because of its second-to-none storyline, emotional content, and occasional puzzles. So despite the game looking like one that is solely for children, it is not. And it's fine for children to play, because there is no profanity or bloodshed. In fact, when you defeat an enemy, the enemy gets stunned and then vanishes. So this truly is an all-around magnificent game that is cross generational.
There is one other thing I'd like to mention in closing. ALT+TAB to get back to Windows will cause the game to crash. So if you want to get back to Windows, to say save some screenshots, then hit your Windows key (between left control and left alt), and you will be able to successfully get back into the game without it crashing.
Final thoughts... My primary operating system is Windows XP, and I was unable to get the game to work in XP, even with compatibility mode configured. But in my opinion, it is most definitely worth installing Windows 98 just to play this game. If you have never played it before, I recommend finding a copy and doing so. It is a masterpiece, and should be in everyone's collection!
© 2003 Daniel B.
Developed (1999) by Playmobil Interactive and published by Ubi Soft Entertainment.
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: Pentium 200 MHz MMX Processor (Pentium 233 MHz MMX Recommended); Windows 95 / 98 / NT; 32 MB RAM (64 MB Recommended); 12X CD-ROM Drive; 16 Bit 3D Accelerator Video Card Glide 3 Compatible or DirectX 6.1 Compatible with 4 MB of On-Board Memory; 16 Million Color Screen; 16 Bit, DirectX 6.1 Compatible Sound Card; DirectX 6.1 or Higher; 100 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Keyboard or Gamepad
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