Times of Lore
Times of Lore is an action adventure game developed and published by Origin Systems and first released on the Commodore 64 in 1988, and later ported to several other platforms. The game was sold as an role-playing game, but it's far more an action-adventure.
I first played Times of Lore after renting the 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 ended up beating 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.
I do not own this game, but I have beaten it on the NES.
- Overall: 2/10
- Best Version: NES
- The game world is enormous and seamless. This was a very impressive feature for 1988.
- The music is quite nice.
- The appearance of the icon-driven interface is good, 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 making the game feel less like following a script, and more like real exploration.
- The graphics are pretty dull, and the top-down perspective makes them difficult to identify.
- Combat is tedious. Enemies have different graphics, but they all fight in pretty much the same manner, and attacking is just button mashing without any strategy whatsoever. And picking up treasure is a pain.
- The map, though it is enormous, is very repetitive and boring, and it makes navigation quite 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.
- There are only three weapons in the entire game, you start with one, and you get the second shortly after starting the game.
- The usable items are uninspired. They're just scrolls and potions of differing color 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.
- Walking beings at a slow speed and gradually becomes faster and remains faster as you don't bump into anything or reverse course. This is neat at first, but quickly becomes a tedious. It's best to seek out the magic boots as soon as possible.
- The interface is pretty awful. There are very few items in the game, and you always want to pick them up, but rather than just picking them up by walking over them, you have to open a menu, highlight "take," select it, highlight the item from a list, and select the item. Other options are similarly tedious.
- 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.
- In the PC ports, you have to pick up the dagger every time you throw it, which is painfully annoying.
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.
- youtube.com/watch?v=vziAU8vsBIY - Longplay, NES.
- youtube.com/watch?v=6lufvWzzkcQ - Longplay, ZX Spectrum.
- mobygames.com/game/times-of-lore - MobyGames.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_of_Lore - Wikipedia.
- vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore - Music.
- thealmightyguru.com/Games/Hacking/Wiki/index.php?title=Times_of_Lore - NES Hacker Database.