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If further American arcade adventures are going to make their way across the Atlantic, they will have to be better than this if they are to compete with the quality of British software. However,
Time Tunnel isn't so bad and it did prove an enjoyable romp for a short while, despite the poor graphics and abysmal sound (although having said that, I do like the backdrops in Mythological Greece).
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Time Tunnel just about sums up this game perfectly -- it looks like a Commodore has been sent back several years into the past and brought back to the present with an ancient program loaded into it. The primitive graphics are really pathetic, with no depth or detail to the backdrops. The sprites are just as bad and the goblin looks like a demented hunchback cripple. The program allows one game to go on until you either solve it or switch off, making it all rather boring. I'm surprised that US Gold have released this -- it's awful.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Time Tunnel
1985 US Gold
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twelfth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: March 13th, 1986).
 

TIME TUNNEL
US Gold, 9.95 cass, joystick only


As you might have guessed, Time Tunnel is all about travelling through time. But did you guess that it's an arcade adventure starring a gnome? No? Well stroll on clever clogs, because it is. Anyway, playing that Gnome you must recover the parts of a map which, when assembled, explains how he can become Gnome king. The pieces are scattered throughout history, so quite a bit of travelling needs to be done before the task is completed.

To recover the map you have to solve seven torturous puzzles within the game (one in each time zone). These puzzles are completed by using the various objects found in different times. Quite a few of the puzzle-solving items need to be taken from one period of history to another before a problem can be solved -- quite a hefty task.

One of the most impressive backdrops -- Mythological Greece.

The game commences with the Gnome relaxing in his living room in Gnome Mansion. Starting from here you must first get the time machine operational before you are able to whizz off through time. The Gnome is completely joystick controlled and can accomplish quite a few actions, depending on the situation he's in. Objects can be picked up, dropped, set in motion or moved if he's standing near them (doors, lifts etc). Also, a lightning bolt can be fired when facing left or right. However, the Gnome has a problem as he can only carry one object at a time, but don't despair -- Gnome has a closet! This can be entered by holding down the fire button for a few seconds. An object can then be dropped there for retrieval later in the game, but unfortunately only eight items can be left in the closet at once. The closet can be called up at any time, no matter where Gnome is in history.

Once you have the time machine fully operational, the adventure proper can begin. There are seven varied and very different periods of time to be visited -- eight if you include the present The seven time zones are the Slone Age (9,600 BC), Magical Persia (893 BC), Mythological Greece (86 BC), Colonial Salem (1692), California Gold Rush (1849), Intergalactic Spaceship (3456) and finally The Black Hole (9999). The various locations in each period 'flick' when moving from one to the other.

There are many objects within each time zone, but the player must sort out the wheat from the chaff before being able to solve the puzzles. The instructions give some clues about what you're supposed to do in each period, but if you really get stuck then you can send off to US Gold for a hint sheet (although it does cost fifty pence).

     

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It would be so easy just to slag
Time Tunnel. Graphically it is awful and in the audio dept things aren't much better, but there's something about it that makes you want to keep on playing. Weird. One of the nice points about Time Tunnel is the gnome's ability to interact wish the background quite freely. The 'obscure obviousness' of the solutions is great, so you really feel like you've achieved something when a puzzle is solved. I wouldn't actually recommend Time Tunnel to anyone other than a real arcade adventurer, but there is some addictive streak in it if you feel that you can bear to play a game without mega graphics and sound; and if you haven't lost sight of the fact that in the end you buy a game just for that, then this may be one for you.
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Presentation 61%
Large, informative and colourful poster-style instructions, but not much else.

Graphics 44%
Poor sprites and generally simple, drab backdrops, although some are very good.

Sound 23%
The volume knob on the telly is a God-send.

Hookability 60%
Although it doesn't look anything special and you know it isn't, there is some initial appeal.

Lastability 51%
The game is quite addictive and the puzzles aren't overly difficult, but they are rewarding to solve.

Value For Money 43%
Overpriced for what it has to offer.

Overall 49%
A barely average arcade adventure.

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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (27 Jan 2005)

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