Difference between revisions of "Times of Lore"

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[[Image:Times of Lore - DOS - USA.jpg|thumb|256x256px|Box art.]]
 
[[Image:Times of Lore - DOS - USA.jpg|thumb|256x256px|Box art.]]
  
'''''Times of Lore''''' is an action adventure game developed and published by [[Origin Systems]] and first released on the [[Commodore 64]] in October 1988, and later ported to several other platforms. The game was sold as a role-playing game, but it's far more an action-adventure.
+
'''''Times of Lore''''' is an action adventure game developed and published by [[Origin Systems]] and first released on the [[Commodore 64]] in October 1988, and later ported to several other platforms. The game was described as a role-playing game, but it's really an action-adventure game with a [[fantasy]] theme.
  
I first played Times of Lore after renting the [[Nintendo Entertainment System|NES]] version in the early mid-1990s. I didn't get too far in it before having to return the game, but I found it to be quite interesting. About 15 years later, I replayed the game and beat it. I later found that it had been released for several other platforms, and, while each usually had better graphics, I found their interface and audio to be far worse. After learning more about the computer ports of the game, I found that the NES port, even with all its flaws, was vastly superior! The game has an interesting mechanic set, but the developers should have spent a couple more months honing the game.
+
==Personal==
 +
I first played ''Times of Lore'' after renting the [[Nintendo Entertainment System|NES]] version in the early 1990s. I didn't get too far in it before having to return the game, but I found it to be quite interesting and saved my password on the unlikely chance I would rent the game in the future. About 15 years later, I replayed the game and beat it. I later found that it had been released for several other platforms, and, while each usually had better graphics, I found their interface and audio to be far worse. After learning more about the various computer ports of the game, for the [[Video Game Music Preservation Foundation|VGMPF]], I found that the NES port, even with all its flaws, was vastly superior! Overall, the game has some novel features, but it has so many faults, it's very difficult to play. This is a shame because, many of the faults could have been fixed without much difficulty, and, had they been rectified, the game would have been much more enjoyable.
  
 
==Status==
 
==Status==
Line 14: Line 15:
  
 
===Good===
 
===Good===
* The game world is enormous and seamless, a very impressive feature for 1988. And the game's quests do a pretty good job of sending you all over the land.
+
* The game world is enormous and seamless, a very impressive feat for 1988. And the game's quests do a good job of sending you all over the land.
* [[Martin Galway]]'s composed a couple nice tracks for the game and impressively used a randomizer in the title music. [[Katsuhiro Hayashi]] nicely arranged his songs for the NES and added some good tracks of his own.
+
* [[Martin Galway]]'s composed a couple nice tracks for the game, even employing a randomizer in the title music. [[Katsuhiro Hayashi]] nicely arranged his songs for the NES and added some good tracks of his own.
 
* [[Denis Loubet]] made some pretty impressive full-screen graphics for the game, and the title sequence of chiseling out a mold and filling it with molten gold is pretty great.
 
* [[Denis Loubet]] made some pretty impressive full-screen graphics for the game, and the title sequence of chiseling out a mold and filling it with molten gold is pretty great.
* The appearance of the icon-driven interface was a good idea, too bad it functions terribly.
+
* The appearance of the icon-driven interface to simply dull text menus was a good idea, too bad it functions terribly.
 
* The day-night transition and hunger factor really makes you feel like you're on a real journey.
 
* The day-night transition and hunger factor really makes you feel like you're on a real journey.
* Almost the entire map is open to you from the beginning making the game, so it feels less like following a script, and more like real exploration.
+
* Almost the entire map is open to you from the beginning, so the game feels less like following a script, and more like real exploration.
  
 
===Bad===
 
===Bad===
* Overall, the game has some novel features, but it has a lot of faults that could have been fixed without much difficulty, and, had these been rectified, the game would have been much more enjoyable.
+
* The graphics are pretty dull, and the top-down perspective makes it difficult to identify what you're looking at. The NES color palette is especially ugly with the over world consisting almost entirely of brown and olive green.
* The graphics are pretty dull, and the top-down perspective makes it difficult to identify what you're looking at.
+
* The map, though it is enormous, is very repetitive and empty which makes travel boring and navigation difficult. Forest travel is especially dull (although the NES port fixes this problem).
* The map, though it is enormous, is very repetitive and empty which makes travel boring and navigation difficult.
 
 
* In every version except the NES, music only plays at the beginning and end of the game, never during the game, and the sound effects are pretty bad.
 
* In every version except the NES, music only plays at the beginning and end of the game, never during the game, and the sound effects are pretty bad.
* There are only three weapons in the entire game, you start with one, you get the second shortly after starting, and the third can be bought fairly early in the game, so you're stuck with it until the end.
+
* There are only three weapons in the entire game, you start with one, you get the second shortly after starting, and the third can be bought fairly early in the game, so you're stuck with it for the rest of the game.
* Most of the enemies in the game exist simply to damage you. They don't drop items or increase your power in anyway.
+
* Most of the enemies in the game exist simply to damage you. They don't drop items or increase your power in anyway. In fact, in most ports of the game, killing enemies actually hurts you in the long run.
* The usable items are uninspired. They're just scrolls and potions of differing color that have basic effects.
+
* The usable items are uninspired. Most of them are just scrolls and potions of differing colors that have basic effects.
* You're given the option of choosing a class, which is nice, but it's pointless because they all function identically.
+
* You're given the option of choosing a class, which is nice, but it's entirely pointless because they all function identically.
* The game allows you to attack non-violent NPCs. The story could have taken advantage of this with a mystery where a non-violent NPC is secretly evil and should be attacked, but it never does. What actually happens is you often accidentally attack an NPC and the guards attack you, so this is merely a hazard with no benefit.
+
* The game allows you to attack non-violent NPCs. The story could have taken advantage of this with a mystery where a non-violent NPC is secretly evil and should be attacked, but it never does. Instead, you'll find yourself frequently attacking an NPC on accidentally and having the guards attack you. This is merely a hazard with no benefit.
  
 
===Ugly===
 
===Ugly===
* The controls for the whole game are awful and should have made better:
+
* The controls for every aspect of the game are awful and should have been fixed:
** The menu interface slows everything down. For example, there is never a time in the game when you wouldn't want to pick up an item left behind by a monster, but, rather than adding it to your inventory when you walk over it like most games of this type, you have to stop, open the menu, choose "pick up," and finally select the item from the list. The other menu options are similarly tedious. Talking could have be initiated by simply walking up to an NPC and hitting a button, etc.
+
** The menu interface slows everything down. For example, there is never a time in the game when you wouldn't want to pick up an item, but, rather than adding it to your inventory simply by walking over it like most games of this type, you have to stop, open the menu, choose "pick up," and finally select the item from the list. The other menu options are similarly tedious. Talking could have be initiated by simply walking up to an NPC and hitting a button, etc.
** Movement begins painfully slow and takes too long to get up to speed. At first I thought this was a neat feature, but I quickly became annoyed with it. The magic boots fix the movement problem, but, unless you already know about them, you will spend most of the game very slowly building up speed.
+
** Movement begins painfully slow and takes too long to get up to speed. At first I thought this was a neat feature, but I quickly became annoyed with it. The magic boots fix the movement problem, but the first time you play the game you probably won't find them until many hours later.
* Combat is also tedious. Enemies have different graphics, but they mostly fight in the same way. Other than a handful of special items, combat is just button-mashing without any strategy.
+
** If even a single pixel of your character collides with a solid object, you will stop moving. Most games of this type will nudge the player around the solid object to aide
* Other than the NES release, every version of the game, especially the DOS port, has a tiny display window to see the action. This makes bumping into things a common problem, and, with the sluggish walking speed, an extreme annoyance.
+
* Combat is tedious. Enemies have different graphics, but they mostly fight in the same way. Other than a handful of special items, combat is just button-mashing without any strategy. And, again, for the sake of realism, half the monsters don't drop anything. If they at least gave experience, this would be something, but half of the battles in the game are totally useless.
 +
* Other than the NES release, every version of the game, especially the DOS port, has a tiny display window which you must view the action. This makes bumping into things an even more common problem, and, with the sluggish walking speed, an extreme annoyance.
 
* Most ports have some realistic, but tedious, "features" that should have been cut.
 
* Most ports have some realistic, but tedious, "features" that should have been cut.
** Every time you throw the dagger, you have to find it and pick it up using the slow menu system every time.
+
** Every time you throw the dagger, you have to find it and pick it up using the slow menu system... every time.
 
** If you throw the magic axe and it hits a tree, it will lodge itself into it requiring you to pick it up with the slow menu system.
 
** If you throw the magic axe and it hits a tree, it will lodge itself into it requiring you to pick it up with the slow menu system.
 
** If you have the magic boots, every time you sleep, you have to re-equip them.
 
** If you have the magic boots, every time you sleep, you have to re-equip them.
* The game maintains a score, which doesn't fit with the theme, and, as the score increases, enemies appear more frequently and become harder. Since the games doesn't level you up at all, it becomes necessary to avoid combat as much as possible to prevent the monsters from becoming to hard. This is basically the opposite of most RPGs.
+
* The game maintains a score, which doesn't fit with the theme, and, as the score increases, enemies appear more frequently and become harder. Since the game doesn't level you up at all, it becomes necessary to avoid combat as much as possible to prevent the monsters from becoming too hard. This is basically the opposite of most RPGs.
  
 
==Media==
 
==Media==
 
===Box Art===
 
===Box Art===
Every release uses this box art with minor layout differences. I really like [[Dennis Loubet]]'s work here. The axe-wielding barbarian walking through the doors of the dark castle into the bright world outside gives a perfect indication of what you're going to experience in the game, and the molten gold logo is very nice.
+
Every release uses this box art with minor layout differences. I really like [[Denis Loubet]]'s work here. The axe-wielding barbarian walking through the doors of the dark castle into the bright world outside gives a perfect indication of what you're going to experience in the game, and the molten gold logo is very nice.
 
<gallery>
 
<gallery>
 
Times of Lore - DOS - USA.jpg|Standard art.
 
Times of Lore - DOS - USA.jpg|Standard art.
Line 56: Line 57:
 
Times of Lore - NES - Manual.pdf|NES manual.
 
Times of Lore - NES - Manual.pdf|NES manual.
 
Times of Lore - ZXS - Map.jpg|ZX Spectrum map by [[Denise Therrien]].
 
Times of Lore - ZXS - Map.jpg|ZX Spectrum map by [[Denise Therrien]].
Times of Lore - UK Ad.jpg|UK advertisement with horrible artwork.
+
Times of Lore - UK Ad.jpg|UK advertisement with horrible artwork that doesn't match the game at all.
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
Line 63: Line 64:
 
Times of Lore - DOS - Map.png|DOS map.
 
Times of Lore - DOS - Map.png|DOS map.
 
Times of Lore - DOS - Map - With Labels.png|DOS map with labels.
 
Times of Lore - DOS - Map - With Labels.png|DOS map with labels.
 +
Times of Lore - NES - Map.png|NES map.
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
 
===Videos===
 
===Videos===
* [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vziAU8vsBIY youtube.com/watch?v=vziAU8vsBIY] - Longplay, NES.
+
{{YouTube|vziAU8vsBIY|Longplay - NES.}}
* [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lufvWzzkcQ youtube.com/watch?v=6lufvWzzkcQ] - Longplay, ZX Spectrum.
+
{{YouTube|6lufvWzzkcQ|Longplay - ZX Spectrum.}}
  
 
==Titles==
 
==Titles==
Line 83: Line 85:
 
{{Link|StrategyWiki|https://strategywiki.org/wiki/Times_of_Lore}}
 
{{Link|StrategyWiki|https://strategywiki.org/wiki/Times_of_Lore}}
 
{{Link|VGMPF|2=http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore}}
 
{{Link|VGMPF|2=http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore}}
{{Link|NESHacker|2=http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Games/Hacking/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore}}
+
{{Link|ROMDetectives|2=http://www.romdetectives.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore_(NES)}}
 
{{Link|TCRF|https://tcrf.net/Times_of_Lore_(ZX_Spectrum)}}
 
{{Link|TCRF|https://tcrf.net/Times_of_Lore_(ZX_Spectrum)}}
  
Line 89: Line 91:
 
[[Category: Games]]
 
[[Category: Games]]
 
[[Category: Video Games]]
 
[[Category: Video Games]]
 +
[[Category: 1988 Video Games]]
 
[[Category: Video Game Prime Order - Adventure, Action, Strategy]]
 
[[Category: Video Game Prime Order - Adventure, Action, Strategy]]
 
[[Category: Game Mechanic - Playable Female Character]]
 
[[Category: Game Mechanic - Playable Female Character]]
Line 99: Line 102:
 
[[Category: NES Games]]
 
[[Category: NES Games]]
 
[[Category: ZX Spectrum Games]]
 
[[Category: ZX Spectrum Games]]
[[Category: Action]]
+
[[Category: Media Theme - Action]]
[[Category: Adventure]]
+
[[Category: Media Theme - Adventure]]
[[Category: Fantasy]]
+
[[Category: Media Theme - Fantasy]]
[[Category: Games I've Beaten]]
+
[[Category: Video Games I've Beaten]]
 
[[Category: Monochrome Graphics]]
 
[[Category: Monochrome Graphics]]
 
[[Category: 4-bit Color Graphics]]
 
[[Category: 4-bit Color Graphics]]
 +
[[Category: Video Games That Fail the Bechdel Test]]

Latest revision as of 22:07, 20 July 2021

Box art.

Times of Lore is an action adventure game developed and published by Origin Systems and first released on the Commodore 64 in October 1988, and later ported to several other platforms. The game was described as a role-playing game, but it's really an action-adventure game with a fantasy theme.

Personal

I first played Times of Lore after renting the NES version in the early 1990s. I didn't get too far in it before having to return the game, but I found it to be quite interesting and saved my password on the unlikely chance I would rent the game in the future. About 15 years later, I replayed the game and beat it. I later found that it had been released for several other platforms, and, while each usually had better graphics, I found their interface and audio to be far worse. After learning more about the various computer ports of the game, for the VGMPF, I found that the NES port, even with all its flaws, was vastly superior! Overall, the game has some novel features, but it has so many faults, it's very difficult to play. This is a shame because, many of the faults could have been fixed without much difficulty, and, had they been rectified, the game would have been much more enjoyable.

Status

I do not own this game, but I have beaten it on the NES.

Review

Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
2 3 5 5 3

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The game world is enormous and seamless, a very impressive feat for 1988. And the game's quests do a good job of sending you all over the land.
  • Martin Galway's composed a couple nice tracks for the game, even employing a randomizer in the title music. Katsuhiro Hayashi nicely arranged his songs for the NES and added some good tracks of his own.
  • Denis Loubet made some pretty impressive full-screen graphics for the game, and the title sequence of chiseling out a mold and filling it with molten gold is pretty great.
  • The appearance of the icon-driven interface to simply dull text menus was a good idea, too bad it functions terribly.
  • The day-night transition and hunger factor really makes you feel like you're on a real journey.
  • Almost the entire map is open to you from the beginning, so the game feels less like following a script, and more like real exploration.

Bad

  • The graphics are pretty dull, and the top-down perspective makes it difficult to identify what you're looking at. The NES color palette is especially ugly with the over world consisting almost entirely of brown and olive green.
  • The map, though it is enormous, is very repetitive and empty which makes travel boring and navigation difficult. Forest travel is especially dull (although the NES port fixes this problem).
  • In every version except the NES, music only plays at the beginning and end of the game, never during the game, and the sound effects are pretty bad.
  • There are only three weapons in the entire game, you start with one, you get the second shortly after starting, and the third can be bought fairly early in the game, so you're stuck with it for the rest of the game.
  • Most of the enemies in the game exist simply to damage you. They don't drop items or increase your power in anyway. In fact, in most ports of the game, killing enemies actually hurts you in the long run.
  • The usable items are uninspired. Most of them are just scrolls and potions of differing colors that have basic effects.
  • You're given the option of choosing a class, which is nice, but it's entirely pointless because they all function identically.
  • The game allows you to attack non-violent NPCs. The story could have taken advantage of this with a mystery where a non-violent NPC is secretly evil and should be attacked, but it never does. Instead, you'll find yourself frequently attacking an NPC on accidentally and having the guards attack you. This is merely a hazard with no benefit.

Ugly

  • The controls for every aspect of the game are awful and should have been fixed:
    • The menu interface slows everything down. For example, there is never a time in the game when you wouldn't want to pick up an item, but, rather than adding it to your inventory simply by walking over it like most games of this type, you have to stop, open the menu, choose "pick up," and finally select the item from the list. The other menu options are similarly tedious. Talking could have be initiated by simply walking up to an NPC and hitting a button, etc.
    • Movement begins painfully slow and takes too long to get up to speed. At first I thought this was a neat feature, but I quickly became annoyed with it. The magic boots fix the movement problem, but the first time you play the game you probably won't find them until many hours later.
    • If even a single pixel of your character collides with a solid object, you will stop moving. Most games of this type will nudge the player around the solid object to aide
  • Combat is tedious. Enemies have different graphics, but they mostly fight in the same way. Other than a handful of special items, combat is just button-mashing without any strategy. And, again, for the sake of realism, half the monsters don't drop anything. If they at least gave experience, this would be something, but half of the battles in the game are totally useless.
  • Other than the NES release, every version of the game, especially the DOS port, has a tiny display window which you must view the action. This makes bumping into things an even more common problem, and, with the sluggish walking speed, an extreme annoyance.
  • Most ports have some realistic, but tedious, "features" that should have been cut.
    • Every time you throw the dagger, you have to find it and pick it up using the slow menu system... every time.
    • If you throw the magic axe and it hits a tree, it will lodge itself into it requiring you to pick it up with the slow menu system.
    • If you have the magic boots, every time you sleep, you have to re-equip them.
  • The game maintains a score, which doesn't fit with the theme, and, as the score increases, enemies appear more frequently and become harder. Since the game doesn't level you up at all, it becomes necessary to avoid combat as much as possible to prevent the monsters from becoming too hard. This is basically the opposite of most RPGs.

Media

Box Art

Every release uses this box art with minor layout differences. I really like Denis Loubet's work here. The axe-wielding barbarian walking through the doors of the dark castle into the bright world outside gives a perfect indication of what you're going to experience in the game, and the molten gold logo is very nice.

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Longplay - NES.
Longplay - ZX Spectrum.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Times of Lore
Japanese タイムズオブロア 失われたメダリオン Taimuzu Obu Roa: Ushinawareta Medarion Times of Lore: Lost Medallion

Links

Link-MobyGames.png  Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-StrategyWiki.png  Link-VGMPF.png  Link-ROMDetectives.png  Link-TCRF.png