It's the time of year for love and romance, and what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with wanton destruction and needless death. For some reason, the disaster that was the sinking of the Titanic has become synonymous with star-crossed love stories, even before Kate let go of Leo's frozen hand. Adventure A year before that movie's massive success, Cyberflix Incorporated decided to take us on an eerily accurate recreation of the famous ship in Titanic: Adventures out of Time.
The attention to detail in this game is incredibly impressive. The entire ship has been recreated so accurately that it feels like your traipsing around a ghost ship. All of the characters are live actors, most of whom possess the actual names of those unfortunate passengers. Even the character you play, Frank Carlson, is a real-life survivor. I say "survivor" but in truth, he never made it on board due to some perfectly timed car troubles in Cherbourg. Despite this, and perhaps because of all of the confusion the disaster must have caused, official Titanic documents label him as "Supposed Drowned".
That's where the historical accuracy ends, however. You begin the game in your London apartment in the April of 1942. While hiding from your landlady, an air raid alarm rings out and bombs fall from the sky. It's the blitz - a far cry away from the decadence of a luxury ship. Even so, the only logical step from this point is to magically transport you back in time to 1912, just before the maiden voyage of the doomed vessel.
I have no idea why they chose to have this intro. I guess it thematically links to elements of the main story, but not by much. In fact, the main story is more of a mystery filled with political intrigue (sorry if you were expecting something a little more steamy). It even poses the preposterous possibility that Carlson is a secret agent on a mission to retrieve the priceless copy of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. In truth, this jewel-bound book was sold at auction to an American collector for a mere £402 and is now lost to the sea before he could receive his purchase.
There are as many twists, turns and backstabbing to this rather serious story that can be a lot to take in. You mostly progress by speaking to the many people dotted around the giant ship, and by listening intently. There's so much information and clues given to you that jotting them down in a notebook is a must. There are only a small number of inventory puzzles and a couple of clumsy action sequence, but overall this is very much a leisurely experience.
Or you can just ignore any and all of this and just explore the digital Titanic like you were on holiday. There are 10 interesting tours you can take, each with some educational detail about the building, sailing and sinking of the ship. If you don't want to bother about the story and any fantastical inaccuracies it will have then this segment is for you. You can even visit familiar scenes from the famous 1997 Oscar-winning movie. It's obvious that both titles did their research as each is remarkably similar to each other.
The game map is so sprawling and massive that it's a wonder how they still had time to fill each pre-rendered backgrounds with such accurate historic detail. Nevertheless, it's still very easy to get lost (maybe people in the 1910s had a far better sense of direction), but get rid of that sinking feeling - the bell-hop will help! This character perhaps embodies the only real negative I have with the game; the animation. The character sprites are sourced from photographs, so when their talking there's an uncanny mouth movement that's very unsettling. The developers also thought it would be a good idea to make them all move like a malfunctioning Robby the Robot. The bell-hop is so disconcertingly kinetic that if he existed in real life, you'd want to keep a good 10-foot radius from him for fear of being hit. It may have looked OK for 1996, but now I find it at odds with the competent voice acting and the overly serious story and setting.
If you can get past this, you'll be immersed in a memorable adventure. Those curious at what the Titanic actually looked like will find the most enjoyment, but if you can persevere with the large number of conversations and high difficulty, you'll find that what's here is no disaster.
As of 28th December 2017, Titanic: Adventures Out of Time is now available to buy DRM-free on Good Old Games.
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Titanic: Adventure Out of Time is © Cyberflix Incorporated
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me