Chronomaster

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Chronomaster
Chronomaster cover.jpg
Developer(s) DreamForge Intertainment
Publisher(s) IntraCorp
Capstone Software
Designer(s) Roger Zelazny
Jane Lindskold
Platform(s) MS-DOS
Release 20 December 1995
Genre(s) Adventure game
Mode(s) Single-player

Chronomaster is an MS-DOS-based adventure game developed by DreamForge Intertainment and published by IntraCorp on 20 December 1995. Its main plot was written by novelist Roger Zelazny and was his last known work, as he died during the development of the game.

Chronomaster narrates the story of Rene Korda (voiced by Ron Perlman), a retired and formerly renowned designer of "pocket universes" — self-contained worlds developed according to the tastes of the person who finances their construction. Korda is hired by a representative of the "Terran Regional government" to restore two pocket universes from a state of "temporal stasis" and to find out who is responsible for the situation.

Gameplay[edit]

Generally speaking, each pocket universe contains a single solar system with anywhere from one to several worlds Korda can visit. Each world requires Korda to travel to magnetic North and use a "resonance tracer" to locate the universe's "world key". The world key (each protected by a unique puzzle) stops or starts the universe's temporal flow. Each pocket universe has a unique feel to it, reflecting the personality and interests of its owner. Verdry for example, owned by a woman known for creating a philosophical movement centered on nonsense and unreality, contains a world shaped and colored like an Easter egg.

In order to move within pocket universes in which time is stagnant, Korda employs "bottled time", a container which when opened provides him with a field in which times flows normally. Bottled time may also be used to activate objects and trigger ongoing events which were halted by the temporal stasis. He also counts on the help of a versatile context-sensitive tool which makes available different functions to him, depending on the pocket universe he visits. During his journey Korda is accompanied by his personal digital assistant (PDA) Jester (voiced by Lolita Davidovich), a flying blue spherical robot who provides more comic relief than help with gameplay. Korda is eventually joined by Milo, (voiced by Brent Spiner) a former student of Korda's and the sole survivor of a horrific pirate attack on his homeworld.

Chronomaster makes heavy use of CG cutscenes. Chronomaster possesses a degree of non-linearity in that many tasks exist which are unnecessary to complete the game, and puzzles frequently have two possible solutions.

Chronomaster was adapted to novel form in 1996, closely following the game's plot and coauthored by Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
CGW4.5/5 stars[1]
PC Gamer (US)84%[2]
Maximum5/5 stars[3]
Next Generation4/5 stars[4]
Computer Games Strategy Plus4/5 stars[5]
Computer Game Review81/88/95[6]

According to Charles Ardai of Computer Gaming World, Chronomaster was commercially unsuccessful.[7]

A reviewer for Next Generation hailed the game for its detailed graphics, simple and intuitive interface, "entertaining" dialogue, puzzles which are mostly neither too easy or overly hard, and deep story based "around the concepts of immortality, universe construction, and the nature of time itself." He was also pleased with the voice acting from big name stars, though he said that some of the less-known actors give "painful" performances.[4] A reviewer for Maximum lauded Chronomaster for its story and presentation, calling the game "a prime example of [Roger Zelazny's] ability to create a compelling story that rewrites the rules of science as it goes." He described the prerendered graphics as "stunning" and said the voice actors "add atmosphere to an already intriguing adventure."[3]

Chronomaster was a runner-up for Computer Gaming World's 1995 "Adventure Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. The editors wrote, "Both the script and the voice talents lift Chronomaster well above the usual standards of the genre."[8] Chronomaster was also nominated as Computer Games Strategy Plus's 1996 adventure game of the year, although it lost to The Neverhood.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ardai, Charles (April 1996). "Zelazny's Legacy". Computer Gaming World (141): 128, 130. 
  2. ^ Poole, Steve (April 1996). "Chronomaster". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on December 5, 1999. 
  3. ^ a b "Maximum Reviews: Chronomaster". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (4): 159. March 1996. 
  4. ^ a b "Hour Favorite". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 92. 
  5. ^ Baker, Samuel Brown (May 16, 1996). "Chronomaster". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on March 1, 2005. 
  6. ^ Snyder, Frank; Chapman, Ted; Gehrs, Scott (March 1996). "Time to Play God". Computer Game Review. Archived from the original on December 22, 1996. 
  7. ^ Ardai, Charles (August 1997). "The Death of Science Fiction". Computer Gaming World (157): 219. 
  8. ^ Staff (June 1996). "The Computer Gaming World 1996 Premier Awards". Computer Gaming World (143): 55, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 67. 
  9. ^ "Computer Games Strategy Plus announces 1996 Awards". Computer Games Strategy Plus. March 25, 1997. Archived from the original on June 14, 1997. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]