Legacy of Time
featuring Michele Scarabelli as Agent 3
In a land of fairy tales and legends, there is only one rule. The beautiful represents good while the ugly represents evil…
How refreshing, then, that in a land of high adventure and wistful imagination, the beautiful can be equally representative of evil.
Your nemesis in Buried In Time was revealed to be Agent 3 of the TSA. Here we saw the beautiful – cunningly portrayed in a remarkable piece of aesthetically accurate casting by Michele Scarabelli – frame the hero Gage Blackwood (portrayed with rather dubious casting by the games-player but physically depicted in the traditional square-jawed mould by Jerry Rector). With the assistance of his long term A.I. buddy Arthur (portrayed with clandestine aptitude by a Royal Pain in the Butt but with the melodic vocal skills of Matt Weinhold), Gage was able to foil Agent 3’s plans. This had the result of sending Agent 3 (together with Arthur) spinning through the time streams.
After an exhaustive search, Agent 3 was declared dead. However, due to her misuse of the time stream, the TSA was closed down to prevent any similar actions in the future. As the final jump-suit (Agent 5’s) is deactivated Gage is the first to protest that Agent 3 is still “out there” and could still threaten history. For, as an ex-TSA agent, she has the knowledge to avoid detection.
However, the ruling is final and the last suit is deactivated. Just as it is consigned to the archive, the time/space detectors activate as a time ripple is detected. Agent 3! Going against the ruling, Gage acquires the prototype “Chameleon Jump Suit” and races off into the past.
Gage discovers Agent 3’s jump-suit and, despite his previous mind-wipe, is pleased to learn that Arthur is still alive. Having annoyed Agent 3 to the point of abjection (let’s face it, anyone with even half the intelligence of Agent 3 would get fed up with Arthur’s nonsensical waffle), Agent 3 left Arthur within the jump-suit when she set the suit to snare a wary TSA Agent.
Let’s get something clear from the outset. Legacy Of Time is not a game. Forget all of your preconceptions about computer games. This is a game in name only. What this is, is a virtual reality tour of mythical history. The fact that there is a plot somewhere requiring you (as the hero) to save the Earth is a mere formality. Soon after beginning this game, it’s easy to become convinced that the puzzles and the threat of world destruction was only put in as a marketing ploy. No, just sit back and have a wander around Atlantis, Shangri-La and El Dorado. Talk to the patrons and inhabitants. Visit the temples and entrancing sights. And if you’ve an ego to boost, why not go and have a punch-up with Genghis Khan?
Okay, so what about the game? If you’ve already played Buried In Time (and, if you haven’t, I suggest you do so because it’s brilliant!) you will know what to expect. Various different locations that you can “time-jump” to in order to solve puzzles and mysteries. Virtual environments which you can examine and walk through. Well, forget it. If the visual aspect of Buried In Time could be regarded as a perfectly formed flower, then Legacy Of Time is a whole field full of such flowers! It would take many, many pages of text to describe the visual awe of Legacy Of Time but it would still be just so many words unless you play the “game”. Let us limit ourselves to a few comparisons. Buried In Time had the facility to walk through environments, stop, and look around. Although this was, in itself, awe-inspiring, the limited “jerky” movements were not very lifelike. This has been improved upon immensely in Legacy Of Time. The movements are much smoother; when you look around you have a true 360-degree fluid field of view. Added to this the actual screen size has been increased for added realism. Before, interaction with characters – any characters – was limited and brief. Although live action actors were incorporated into Buried In Time, the only occasion it felt real was when you came face-to-face with Agent 3 in the missile silo – and even that was limited. Now, in Legacy Of Time you can interact with all the characters during the gameplay. You can talk to them. Using the chameleon suit you can even talk to them as different characters and elicit different responses. (Just be careful how you speak to Genghis Khan!) The “game” also features many full-length video sequences which are a lot less tedious than the INN bulletins of the previous game.
For more information, click on the Legacy Of Time banner above.
THE MICHELE SCARABELLI FACTOR
As before, Michele forms part of the cast of professional actors as she plays Michelle Visard, Temporal Security Agent 3. This time, however, Michele’s character is much more of a key character – rather than just appearing at the end as with Buried In Time.
The “game” opens with a lengthy video sequence which sees Agent 3 “jumping” beside a wrecked windmill. The more observant will notice a curious hairstyle change of Michele’s – but I suppose if you can travel through time you can visit the very best of hair stylist experts! As with Buried In Time, to reveal much more would begin to reveal some of the mysteries of the game but if you do not wish to remain in suspense, – continue only if you want to read more about Michele’s appearances throughout the game.
The game begins with a scene-setting movie sequence. Initially, this consists of a heated argument between Agent 3 and Arthur (“Mister Bug”). Arthur tells Michelle how he can’t leave the suit but that there’s nothing stopping her from leaving. Michelle, agrees and, against Arthur‘s warnings that she’ll be left unprotected, she causes the suit to dematerialise and reappear a short distance away.
Aware of the nearby dilapidated windmill, Agent 3 enters through a smashed wall and climbs the stairway to the top.
Reaching an overhead trapdoor, Michelle steps out and views the ruins that are spread out before her.
Puzzled by what she sees, Michelle finds her curiosity further enhanced when a huge shadow blocks out the sunlight.
A loud roar can be heard and as she looks overhead Michelle is startled by the threatening appearance of an unfamiliar and yet powerful spaceship.
A bright light shoots out… What happens next is known only to Agent 3.
As Gage Blackwood you have had to race into the past to find the source of a time disturbance. This trail leads you to the windmill whereupon you discover Agent 3’s jump-suit. After regaining Arthur you receive a message from Agent 3 telling you that she has discovered something that could affect Earth’s future. Even so much that she is willing to give herself up. She tells you that she has left clues which will enable you to learn her location. As you obtain each clue, you receive a new message – and Arthur gets annoyed with having his circuits overtaken by the messages.
Having found the clues, Arthur helps you to decipher the location of Agent 3. During the discovery of the clues, Gage has been witness to the destruction of Atlantis, El Dorado and Shangri-La by aliens – the same alien ships that Agent 3 had first seen at the windmill. Gage jumps to Agent 3’s location!
Michelle is surprised to see that the TSA had sent Gage after her. She tries to convince him of the threat to history posed by the aliens but Gage finds it difficult to be persuaded by a labelled traitor.
As Gage prepares to arrest Agent 3, Michelle tells him that the reason she’s lured him to this location is because there is someone else here who may be able to convince him that what she says is true.
Gage looks down at a nearby infirmary bed only to see the wizened figure of Dr Eliott Sinclair. This was the man responsible for the original Pegasus time travel device and had previously tried to prevent the Cyrollans from becoming friends with Earth. More recently, Gage has seen a figure resembling Sinclair escaping from the destruction of Atlantis during his tracing of Agent 3’s clues.
Sinclair tells Gage that he was witness to the alien fleet destroying Atlantis but before he can reveal more he drifts away into unconsciousness. With the alarm raised, Gage has much to think about. He turns to face the impassioned plea on the face of Michelle…
Donning his jump-suit helmet, Gage activates the suit and he jumps back to the TSA with Michelle.
As Agent 3 is placed under arrest, Gage is informed of an unknown fleet of warships attacking the Symbiotry as it heads towards Earth. Gage recalls that the Symbiotry hasn’t been attacked in years…
An analysis of the ships is displayed on the scanners and Agent 3 recognises them as those that had been fighting the Cyrollans in the past. She urges Gage to remember what he’s seen but immediately she’s manhandled to her prison cell. Gage reveals what he saw as the Cyrollan Ambassador informs him that Earth’s only salvation lies with the Legacy which is hidden in the past. Gage volunteers to go into the past to attempt to retrieve it.
When Gage returned with the first of the three segments of the Legacy artefact, he was told that they would have trouble translating the symbols. The one person who is an expert in historical hieroglyphics, Gage pointed out, is Agent 3. After his prompting, Michelle is released.
When Gage returns with the second of the segments, Michelle reveals that the hieroglyphics relate to a formula. This formula in turn relates to time travel technology. The same time travel technology that Dr Sinclair discovered centuries later.
Gage places the second segment next to the first and they react together as a beam of energy streaks out around the lab. Noticing the detectors, Gage sees that the enemy fleet has almost reached Earth – nothing seems able to stop them! He prepares for another trip into the past.
The moment Gage brings the final segment back to the TSA, he is informed that the alien warships have moved into Earth’s orbit.
Before he can do anything with the third segment, the Cyrollan Ambassador communicates with them. The Ambassador tells them that if the Cyrollans were able to detect the energy build-up of the three segments then the attacking aliens – the Qou’Thalas – would have detected it too.
The warships begin blasting the planet so Gage and Agent 3 take the third segment of the Legacy to the first two. The energy increase is clearly evident.
Gage prepares to place the segments in the correct orientation but before things become even more chaotic, Michelle wishes him luck…
The third segment is placed in line with the first two and the energy increases higher and higher. Now all Gage has to do is to orient them correctly to activate the Legacy…
Once Gage has put the segments in the correct orientation, the Legacy activates as a powerful beam of energy explodes from the segments…
Michelle and Gage watch in marvel as the Legacy begins to form. A huge circle of light appears before them. Before they can react, one of the Qou’Thalas materialises and insists that the TSA hands over the Legacy.
Gage shouts back that the Legacy belongs to “all races”. But at that moment, a delegation of armed Cyrollans materialise at the other side of the lab.
The Cyrollans warn that the Qou’Thalas will destroy the galaxy if they get the Legacy and that Gage must hand it over to the Cyrollans for safe-keeping.
Gage tells them that if both races fight over the Legacy once more the cycle of the past will continue. This must not happen but representatives of both races approach the Legacy. They are ruthlessly thrown back by energy bolts. Gage approaches the circle of light.
Michelle and the others watch as Gage is bathed in the energy and levitated from the ground. The Legacy reveals that it is the essence of an advanced race known as the Sosiqui. It goes on to reveal that its combined knowledge will be passed on to the many races of the galaxy but only when they are mature enough. That time has yet to come.
The team watch as Gage is released from the energy source to be replaced by a Sosiqui spirit. The spirit tells them that the Legacy will remain secured by those races already shown to be mature enough until the time is right for the galaxy to receive the knowledge. The two alien races agree to abide by the spirit’s words as the spirit fades from sight.
With a half-smile, Agent 3 helps Gage to regain his feet…
Later, at the cemetery, Michelle finds Gage mourning for Dr Sinclair. She tells him that he shouldn’t feel responsible for the man’s death. She also thanks Gage for speaking up for her during her hearing despite what she had done to him in the past.
Gage forgives Michelle by saying that that was all in the past – “…and we both know that we can’t change the past.” The two colleagues smile knowingly.
As they discuss Gage’s new job as Ambassador, they are met by a familiar voice. Arthur has found himself a body – by utilising Gage’s chameleon jump-suit.
Okay, so maybe I was wrong. Even in the land of high adventure and wistful imagination, the beautiful might not be quite so evil. Agent 3 turned out not to be so bad after all. This makes the ending of this segment of The Journeyman Project much more rewarding than the previous one.
It must have been extremely difficult to create a sense of realism in an environment that’s entirely computer-generated, but the ensemble cast of actors that help create The Legacy of Time make it seem easy. The worlds within the game are wonderful to behold. This is an interactive film more than a game – and all it requires is a Pentium 90 running Windows95 with 16Mb RAM or a 80MHz PowerMac with System 7.5 or higher. The already breath-taking visuals are further enhanced by the DVD version of the game.
Happy games-playing – and, if you find Agent 3 out there, don’t be too harsh on her because her heart’s in the right place..!
The Journeyman Project 3 – Legacy of Time is currently available from GOG.com at a very reasonable price. Click here for more information.
Before they became so widely available, CD-ROMs were being used by Jo Santini and the team in the series Airwolf. That was twelve years ago.
Today, CD-ROMs are about to be succeeded and, again, Michele Scarabelli is at the forefront of such technology. For The Journeyman Project 3 – Legacy Of Time is also available in DVD-ROM format.
So what advantages do you get from the “DVD Enhanced” version of Legacy Of Time..?
- If you’ve already played the CD-ROM version, don’t expect any changes to the actual gameplay. This is one part of Legacy Of Time that cannot be improved upon – or “enhanced” – and so they wisely left well enough alone.
- On a practical note, the four CD-ROMs of the original game now fit onto just one DVD-ROM disk. Disk-swapping is a thing of the past! Enjoy total uninterrupted gameplay…
- The original four CD-ROMs contained in excess of 2Gb of data – the new DVD-ROM contains 4Gb of data. Most of this enables the screen resolution to be DOUBLE the original quality – this is mostly noticeable in the movie sequences but you’ll also soon realise how much depth appears to have been added to the worlds you visit.
- Also included on the DVD-ROM is the full opening scene-setting sequence in DVD-VIDEO format. You’ll need your MPEG2 card for this one but this sequence is worth the price of the DVD alone. The quality is better than television broadcast quality. The sound quality is stunning. This is so fine that you truly will not believe your eyes..
- In DVD-VIDEO format you’ll also find the original trailer for Legacy of Time. This, too, shows the stunning quality of DVD-VIDEO (MPEG2 card on stand-by!).
- You want more? Okay, they’ve also included the trailer for Riven – The Sequel To Myst in DVD-VIDEO format.
But it isn’t all good news. There are some minor failings with this “Enhanced” package. These are…
- In comparison to the CD-ROM version, the “Enhanced DVD-ROM” version comes in an unprepossessing box. Not only is it smaller than the CD-ROM equivalent but it’s a whole lot less impressive. Where’s the gatefold sleeve guys?
- The DVD-VIDEO snippets leave you wanting more and you’re left with one huge unanswered question. If the game had been supplied on four DVD discs, would we have had the entire game in the quality of DVD-VIDEO..? Okay so the DVD-ROM quality is better than the CD-ROM quality but the DVD-VIDEO clips show that there is still better quality to be had. There’s probably some technical reason why the game can’t be based on DVD-VIDEO quality but if it IS possible – how about an “Enhanced Enhanced Version”..?
- Those players with computer systems just barely capable of running the CD-ROM version of the game will struggle to run the DVD version. Instead of a Pentium 90MHz, you’re going to want at least a Pentium 166MHz – other than that the PC specs are the same (obviously you’ll need the DVD drive – 2nd Generation – and MPEG2 card for the video trailers).
In conclusion, it’s worth the upgrade just to see TS Agent 3 in higher quality. How can Time’s Most Wanted Fugitive have Time’s Most Cutest Smile when she’s hidden behind low-resolution pixilation?
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