The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time
First posted on 10 June 1998. Last updated on 31 December 2012.
In the original The Journeyman Project, you prevent a mad scientist from disrupting Earth's invitation to join the Symbiotry of Peaceful Beings. In the sequel The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time, you foil an attempt by a rogue temporal agent to frame you for tampering with time but lose her during your chase in the time stream. Now, in The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, you travel back in time to catch the same rogue agent but, in the process, discover a larger plot that connects the entire trilogy and forces you to view all your past experiences in a completely different light.
In The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, you return as Gage Blackwood of Temporal Security Agent. The story begins when you detect a severe temporal distortion in the Mediterranean island circa 1262 BC that is caused by the rouge Agent 3. In pursuit, you locate the abandoned time travel JumpSuit of Agent 3 and recover your lost artificial intelligence companion Arthur. Using the prototype Chameleon JumpSuit to travel back in time, you discover a mysterious link between the aliens and the destruction of 3 of Earth's lost civilizations—Atlantis, El Dorado, and Shangri-La. The story unfolds in 2 layers. In the first layer, you must go back to 3 different time periods in pursuit of the rogue agent. At each time juncture you witness the presence of aliens who are involved in a struggle that decimates Earth's legendary cities and forces you to reevaluate Earth's relationship with its alien allies in the present. In the second layer, you must find 3 pieces of an alien artifact that are hidden in each of the 3 destroyed cities. This time, however, you return to the cities before they are decimated to engage in an in-depth search of the land and its people. In the end, you must return to the present with all the pieces of the sacred artifact in order to stop the looming war between 2 alien races and Earth.
Each of past titles in The Journeyman Project series typically lies at the top of the technological curve for its time. With the advent of 3D graphics, The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time may no longer lie at the top of the curve (since it lacks 3D enhancements), but the game still holds its own well against other graphic adventures of its time. The game relies heavily on Full Motion Video sequences for character interaction and cut scenes and uses rendered animations for movement within the game world. The screenshots on the box and even the demo do not do full justice to the actual experience of playing this game and witnessing the detail and attention into creating a "you are there" experience.
The sound, the music, and the voiceovers are all done smoothly without noticeable flaws. The actors and costumes are credible, particularly those that involve past time periods. The actors from the present time period are the ones that lean more towards overacting. The actor who plays you, Gage, gives a more palatable performance than the stand-in from The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time. An Enhanced DVD version of this game is released in August 1998 by Reb Orb Entertainment. This version contains enhanced graphics and animations that support the MPEG-2 standard.
The game interface in The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time is icon driven and easy to navigate. Half of the screen makes up the action field where you can look around your present location and interact with people or manipulate objects. Below the action field is your utility field that consists of 3 sections—your inventory, the characters your suit can mimic, and your onboard computer Arthur. Arthur is an artificial intelligence carried over from the previous title and provides commentary, hints, and comedy relief during the game. Your cursor, when positioned on the action field, turns into arrows to indicate the directions you can turn or move towards as well as the objects you can pick up or use. In The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, you can turn 360° and also look up and down. The depth of the backgrounds combined with this panoramic effect is quite impressive in giving the player a sense of truly moving around in a fictional world. The only grievance I have with the movement system is that each step forward I take is typically just a small step so that many steps are often needed to get to a place of interest. The player ends up doing a lot of searching for hotspots at transitional locations that exist merely to get you a step closer to where there is anything meaningful to interact with.
A common complaint among gamers has been on the game's difficulty, or lack of. Some criticize the game for the fact that many of the solutions are given away too easily by your companion Arthur who provides constant commentary. However, this criticism is unfounded since the game has a configuration option that allows you to set the level of help you get from Arthur. Typically, the help you get is identified in an icon form as either a commentary or a clue to a solution. If you do not want help, simply do not click on the clue icon! On average, the difficulty of the puzzles your encounter ranges between easy to moderate. The game is mostly logical. My experience playing this game has been a very pleasant one of moving through a deep story at a steady pace. If there is not much else to the game it may have led to a short and an unhappy end; but there are plenty of areas to occupy your explorations and information to be digested from each of the time periods you travel. I have never been a history buff, but this form of delivery has the redeeming quality of giving you a sense of being educated without it being forced on you.
This game does not try to mix genres. There are no role-playing or arcade elements. It is a straight forward exploratory adventure. An added dimension to this sequel is the use of your Chameleon JumpSuit. In the previous games, your suit functions to transport you through time and may gain extra abilities by chips that you find during the quest. In contrast, your suit in this game has an unique ability—it can imitate any character you come in contact with by capturing images of these characters, giving you the appearance of the character you choose. The game will not allow you to adopt an image of someone who is still in your presence or change images in front of another (except on a single occasion). In both The Journeyman Project and The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time, you wander through abandoned rooms and locations with little or no interaction. In contrast, in The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, the inclusion of characters as integral parts to the puzzles adds a depth to the game that the earlier title do not allow.
Thankfully, disc swapping is at a minimum and depends on how efficient you are at solving the puzzles. The plot is nonlinear and you can jump back and forth between time periods without penalty. In many instances, you need objects from a time period to solve the puzzle in another. The first layer of the game takes place over a single disc. When you return to the cities for the second layer of the game, each of the 3 pre-holocaust cities (Atlantis, Shangri-La, and El Dorado) occupies a separate disc. In other words, whenever you jump to another time you are prompted for a different disc. You do not need to save or load very often. This is because I can find no dead-ends and your character does not meet many untimely deaths as in the case with the previous titles.
The strongest elements of this game are the well developed story and the good use of full motion videos to enhance character interaction. Graphically, the panoramic views and the pre-rendered animation and background artworks have created a very believable playground to move around in. The puzzles are all logical and not overly difficult. For gamers who have played both previous titles, the enjoyment of how the entire trilogy comes together and makes an even larger story as a whole, much like a large puzzle piecing together with no pieces left out, is rather impressive and very satisfying. The amount of depth and research put into recreating the time periods is commendable and show an obvious labor of love in its detail.
The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time is a title that has been underrated by many game critics. I find playing this game to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Much energy and talent has been put into making a game that tells a detailed and well developed story which both compliments and concludes both previous titles of this series. Believable graphics, credible character interactions, and logical puzzles all make this game a solid recommendation for fans who love a solid graphic adventure.