Videogame (1982). On-Line Systems. Designed by Roberta Williams. Platforms: AppleII (1982); PC88, PC98 (1985).
Time Zone is an illustrated text Adventure with a highly linear plot (see Interactive Narrative). The player begins the game in possession of a Time Machine, having been chosen by a mysterious figure to save the future Earth from an extraterrestrial enemy. They must travel to a wide variety of points in space and time, acquiring items which can be used to solve puzzles elsewhere (and elsewhen) until they can finish the final problem and win the game. Unfortunately, Time Zone is clumsily structured, unconvincing, and presented in questionable prose. Some of the available locations are unavoidably lethal or contain nothing of use, adding markedly to the complexity of the game. Aggravatingly, vital items which are anachronistic for a particular time period will disappear without warning and forever if transported there. Overall, the game is very difficult, partly as a result of its exceptional size; many actions must be performed in various locations in exactly the right sequence if all the puzzles are to be solved. Time Zone was well regarded at the time of its original release, but it is hard to see it now as anything other than greatly inferior to its designer's best work, notably the fairytale graphical Adventures of the King's Quest series. [NT]
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