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Review by: Jonathan Houghton
Published: October 11, 2000
For the modern human, the concept of traversing the flow of time itself holds a peculiar fascination. The thought that we might be able to peek into the future of humanity, or change the wrongs of the past has been exploited in countless books and movies over the past fifty years. Undeniably, the literary work that opened up this line of thinking was H.G. Wells classic novel, “The Time Machine,” written over 100 years ago. Wells spun a tale of adventure and discovery, predicting many of modern history’s blunders such as satellites and atomic weapons, and indeed the collective consciousness of modern times embraces such stories as Back to the Future, Timecop and The Journeyman Project. The possibility of discerning the truth behind history by actually observing it as it occurs, or taking a trip into infinity to see the eventual supernova of Earth’s sun are just a few of the unlimited stretches of imagination possible with such a setting. Though Wells’ tale eventually ended with the mysterious traveler taking his machine permanently into the distant future after realizing the fruitlessness of modern life, Cryo Interactive, known for its adaptations of novels and other works of art, has taken the background setting from Wells timeless tale and created an alternate reality version of the story with The New Adventures of the Time Machine.
Though it doesn’t sport the Morlocks or Eloi from the novel, this rewrite does have a very interesting backstory. Anyone who has seen the 1960′s movie or read the book will immediately recognize the machine itself in the opening cinematic which shows the adventurers first journey though time. As this new story goes, the time traveler, who is called Wales (pronounced Wells throughout the game, curiously enough), finishes construction of his time machine and is about to throw the crystal switch when a strange object appears in his laboratory — a crystal nautilus. Thinking strangely of this event, Wales decides to carry on with his experiment and pulls the lever. As the streams of time engulf him, the counter begins to spiral upwards uncontrollably and the eddies in the flow of time begin to shake him violently. At last the tremulous ride throws him from his machine at the year 800,000 AD, and the machine vanishes into the temporal mists.
In place of Britain and his comfortable apartment, Wales finds a primitive city with virtually mindless people wandering around. It seems that Wales has stranded himself in an era where magic reigns, and those who speak of technology are heretics and blasphemers. Additionally, man has become immortal at a heavy price: The God of Sand/Time called Khronos has gifted mankind with everlasting life, but in return he will take the memories of the people at certain intervals with temporal storms that also cause everyone to shift ages. Wales is, quite naturally, desperate to find his way home — presumably so he can resume his jaunts through time — though since he is a default scientific personality, he desires to learn as much about the culture of the 8000th century as is humanly possible before his departure. Along the way he quickly notices that the language of this era is pure undiluted English. After a temporal storm changes him into a child, he decides that prudence would dictate an expedient departure. Unfortunately, the disappearance of Wales’ time machine leaves the God of Time as the only being with power enough to return him to his proper era. Thus the hero sets out on a quest to find Khronos and seek a way home.
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