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European cover art of Future Wars
Future Wars, subtitled in Europe as Time Travellers and in North America as Adventures in Time and known in France as Time Travelers: The Menace (French: Les Voyageurs du Temps: La Menace) is an adventure game from Delphine Software International, released in 1989. The game is mainly the work of Paul Cuisset (story and programming) and Eric Chahi (graphics). The game was supposed to be the first of a series of adventure games revolving around time traveling but later episodes were never made.
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Future Wars is played by left-clicking for character movement, and right-clicking for character actions. The actions available in the right-click popup menu are: Operate, Examine, Take, Use and Inventory. "Use" had a subcategory which enabled the player to drag and select the items in their inventory.
The gameplay of Future Wars was unforgiving - the game suffered from an extremely linear story coupled with the fact that quite often, items found at certain stages of the game would be used much later. As the game did not exactly give hints about the missing items, a player progressing through the game without the help of a walkthrough was forced to restore the game from some arbitrary earlier moment to check for any missing objects. Some objects in the game spanned only a few pixels, so to find them, the player would often have to resort to pixel hunting. The fact that the game used a "realistic" approach to examining on-screen objects, so descriptions varied depending on how far from an item player was at the time, did not help either. All that meant that the game could be quite challenging despite its seemingly simple, linear story. Adding to the difficulty, the game also featured a few time-based puzzles as well as arcade sequences, which could pose difficulties for less arcade-savvy players.
The player starts the game as a window cleaner dressed in white overalls who is in the middle of cleaning the outside of a skyscraper. According to later references, the game starts in 1989 (also when Future Wars was first retailed).
The player character is not given a name throughout the game. The game cursor identifies him only as 'hero'. He is standing on an electric elevator platform attached to the exterior of the building when 'Ed the boss' opens a window to reprimand him for slacking by banging his fist against the window ledge and shouting. The player then can enter the building and, while playing a prank on Ed, he discovers a secret passage leading to a machine room. There he acquires some documents in an alien language which he keeps in the inventory.
The device takes the player to the year 1304, where the hero has the chance to rescue a damsel in distress from dubious monks. He learns then that she is Lo'Ann, a time traveler who came with her father Lear to thwart an alien plot to plant a long-delay time bomb, and he helped them to succeed in their mission against the Crughons. However by learning things he shouldn't, he must be taken to the Supreme Council of the future so that his fate is decided.
The player is then taken to forty-fourth century to meet the council during an attack by the Crughons. After a minor mishap and subsequently having to make his way through the ravaged city of Paris II, the hero eventually gets aboard a shuttle that would take him to the council's city, only to be kidnapped by the Crughons. He is rescued by Earth forces but he is accused of collaboration with them as he is carrying the Crughon documents with him; he is only saved from execution by Lo'Ann who informs the Council.
The Council then explains to the player the history: The humans had abandoned Earth and were living in colonies when the war with the Crughons erupted a century ago. The war pushed them to rehabilitate the abandoned Earth. They built a 'time-space energy shield' system called S.D.I. 'in memory of the past' which prevents the Crughons both from attacking Earth and also teleport themselves through time-travel. However, the Crughons managed to visit Earth in different periods of the past and plant three time bombs in the location of the future three generators of S.D.I. Once activated, the bombs can't be defused and the only option is to prevent the Crughons from planting them. For now, Lo'Ann managed to defuse one of them with the hero's help in the Middle Ages, however the one from the hero's era detonated, allowing the Crughons to attack. Thanks to the documents the hero was carrying, they determined that the third bomb was planted in the Cretaceous period.
He and Lo'Ann then travel there to foil the Crughon's attempt. After an arcade sequence and the wounding of Lo'Ann, the hero boards their spacecraft and travels to their headquarters to detonate the bomb prematurely. The game ends when, after succeeding in detonating the bomb long before hominids even evolve (and providing an alternate explanation for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction), the hero returns to the forty-fourth century to fight further battles against the Crughons.
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Computer Gaming World liked the keyboardless user interface and stereo sound-track, but warned that the detailed, "striking" graphics often turned Future Wars into a "frustrating" hidden object game, and criticized the manual-based copy protection. The magazine recommending the game to fans of animated graphic adventures because of its story and graphics.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008)|
- Cine - ScummVM
- Greenberg, Allen L. (September 1990). "Interplay's Future Wars / The Transportation System at the End of the Universe". Computer Gaming World. p. 35. Retrieved 16 November 2013.