Saturday, 11 April 2020

CHRONOMASTER

by HeroOfAvalon

With an exciting opening of spaceships attacking a planet, as a young boy named Milo watches only to be dragged away by his Grandma to escape underground before total destruction. Chronomaster (1995, DreamForge Intertainment) sure grabbed my attention.

DreamForge Intertainment enlisted a great pedigree of talent to create this classic point-and-click adventure, the most prominent of which was the Hugo award-winning author Roger Zelazny. Perhaps best known for The Immortal, Damnation Alley and the Chronicles of Amber, the prolific fantasy scribe sadly passed during Chronomaster's production period. It came to fellow author and partner Jane Lindskold (The Firekeeper Saga) and some key developers to fill his lofty shoes and complete the game. In addition to these prestigious writers, a number of distinguished actors lent their voices. Brent Spinner (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data) has a key role and Ron Pearlman of Hellboy and Sons of Anarchy fame (among many others) plays the protagonist Rene Korda. The quality of the artists and storytellers involved really help to raise the overall quality compared to many other titles on the market at the time.

Author Roger Zelazny died during production, leaving his partner Jane Lindskold to complete it.
She also writes a touching bio of the celebrated writer.

Rene Korda is a renowned former creator of Pocket Universes. This esteemed vocation is something like a garden designer meets open-world game developer but on a much grander scale. We join him fifty years after the tragic events of the opening cinematic just when he has been called out of retirement by the old Terran Government with a mystery to solve. Two private Pocket Universes no longer function, their time stopped to a frozen standstill locking away all of the secrets held within. Each universe has its own secret key in order to take back control, one that only the creators know of.

Out of intrigue more than anything, you agree to take on the job. Your first port of call, naturally, would be the eccentric creators of these universes. It would be a pretty short game if they gave you anything more than some vague diatribes wrapped around riddles. It won't be long before you've literally bottled up some time so you can move around the paused landscapes and solve the mystery of these mini-worlds. Another useful piece of tech to aid you is the Resonance Tracer, a handy gadget that points you in the general direction of the keys. With these in hand, you and your cheeky female AI/ship/PDA companion named Jester set course to the Pocket Universe of Urbs to save the day.

Your ship acts as a main menu hub, providing details of the locations (left) and the world itself (right).

This game throws information at you fast and it has no time to repeat itself, so make sure your listening. I arrived in the first location - a sombre yet lush memorial park - not sure what exactly I was supposed to do. The only clue I had was something about a statue being in the way, yet it wouldn’t budge. The inventory only confused me more. Never have I seen a more convoluted pack of icons. You have your standard verbs; use, walk, look and talk all represented with graphical icons smooshed in the top left of a drop-down menu along with a link to the options menu and quick save. To the right of this, in the middle of the panel, any items held in your pack are displayed.

Also found here are a few tools unique to this game. You'll find time gauge, bottles of time, your AI companion, a locator and a tracker as well as a useful screwdriver that's also a hammer and a force rod. Eventually, by trial and error, I decided to talk to the statue. Not the totally obvious thing to do, but then this isn't exactly an obvious world we're inhabiting. Then again, I might have clicked sooner had the head not been chopped off from the image. Anyway, he soon set my head straight (or as straight as it could be in such a predicament) and put in the right direction; back to my ship.

You'll spend a lot of time in your ship's cockpit. All long-distance communications are done here as well as a hefty encyclopedia to look up those strange futuristic terms the script likes to throw at you. There's also a ship's which has lots of interesting information and backstory. Perhaps by virtue of being written by a best-selling author, these pieces are a joy to read giving a greater understanding of the strange world I had entered.

A logic puzzle needs to be completed in order to obtain the key to each pocket universe.
These are the most typical puzzles in the entire game.

The next location, a built-up city also on Urbs, proves just how varied the sights are. I casually looked around the graphically impressive area, picking up items when I came across a bomb and died. In fairness, this death was fairly well signposted, complete with sound effects and music cues. I’m not a fan of dying in adventure games, but this felt as fair as it could be. I'll just have to be less casual going forward.

The first real puzzle was to procure a general insignia inconvenienced by a laser. Basically, at the start of the area, you pick up a rag and crowbar. In the room with the insignia, there is some polish and a crate. Therefore you open the crate with the crowbar, take the dirty shield from inside, put the polish on the cloth, use it on the shield then use the shiny shield on the laser to get the badge. Considering how strange the gameworld was at presenting itself thus far, I was quite pleased with how logical this inventory-based puzzle was.

These are the kind of puzzles that really make an adventure game; logical with a rewarding feeling when you put everything together. In fact, this whole first military-themed planet was really enjoyable with a great setting. It gave me ample chance to learn the actions available to you without being overly frustrating. All the while, an increasingly more interesting story was taking place. I was really getting into the game and I was able to overlook a lot of the shortcomings, such as a slightly annoying menu system and an over-use of FMV sequences. I mean, do I really need to see my character walk over a gantry every time I go that way? These scenes may be skippable, but they often have important story beats that you don’t want to miss.

Don't forget about your all-purpose sonic screwdriver known as the Universal Tool for copyright purposes (left). You'll also have vials of bottled time needed for some puzzles (right).

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the game dropped dramatically when exploring the second Pocket Universe named Aurens. All of the bad tropes of the genre came rushing out of the bag including moon logic puzzles. All of a sudden, using a magic wand on a spider web and sticking them to your shoes allows you to walk on the walls! In addition, deaths started coming thick and fast. Walk into some water? Dead. Give the Jinn the wrong fruit? Dead. Walk on the wrong spot? Crushed... and also dead. These aren’t signposted like before and I had to get into the habit of saving regularly to avoid losing my progress. I could have suffered through these if the quality of the story remained high, but sadly this dropped as well. 


When playing, I did wonder if the passing of the author had something to do with the change in quality here. The development team did take over but still followed Zelazny’s plot. One could argue that the person who commissioned this universe deliberately chose the obtuse fantasy setting (it is supposed to reflect the personality and interests of its owner after all), but my waning interest only made the flaws I was once happy to look over light up like beacons.
As this point, I began to notice how dated the game looked. This is twenty-five years ago, so some concessions should be made (and it was considered one hell of a looker back then), but the early pre-rendered CGI looks rubbery by today's standards. When you get a facial close-up, the faces look plastic with seemingly no attempt at lip-syncing. I preferred the hand-drawn pixel art of the era, which Chronomaster also uses in its video calls to great effect but I guess we have to concede that time is simply not kind.

You'll occasionally encounter some consequence-driven choices. 
Be sure to save often as some may eventually lead to a grisly death.

By the time I visited Reubens, the third Pocket Universe, things did improve again. It is within this casino world where you'll uncover twists in the story, but it’s poorly implemented in my opinion, lacking any shock value by being piled under a huge FMV of exposition. This should have been built up, goodness knows the game is long enough to allow for it.

Later on, the game takes more thematic left-turns. Universes are populated with unicorns, pixies and animated talking magnets. It started feeling more like Toonstruck than a gritty sci-fi mystery which the early moments hinted at. I was so disappointed with where this game went. There are great spots such as the opening, the overall premise and the voice acting but the story goes off the rails with no tension during supposedly dramatic beats. Puzzle logic varies between highly enjoyable and terribly convoluted and tedious, deaths are harsh and unsignalled and the pre-rendered graphics are ugly and dated. Chronomaster is a game that looked like it may have cult status, but just delivered a couple of universes worth of disappointment.

https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/search/label/Review%20by%20HeroOfAvalon

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the game to modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 372 Mb.  Install Size: 555 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download

Watch the Video Review



Chronimaster is © IntraCorp & DreamForge Intertainment
Review by HeroOfAvalon
Cover Design and Installer created by me


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32 comments:

  1. Another excellent addition to the Chamber. ( :

    I had this one back in the day, and loved it! But I was never able to finish it cos it was hard, lol.

    Can't wait to give it another spin.

    Thankyou so much for all your hard work Biff.

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    1. Thanks! I borrowed a friend's copy in the late 90s and never completed it (I got to the fourth universe IIRC). Part of me wishes I had reviewed it just to see if I could get a little further.

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  2. Yes, this is indeed another excellent addition to the Chamber. However, I was a bit puzzled because I was sure Zombeaver had Chronomaster, and I know he wanted to avoid overlap with the Chamber. I checked out Zomb's Lair (link on the right) and I saw this isn't there any longer, despite me having downloaded it from there not so long ago! I just found it odd. I hope nothing has happened to him. (And it's good the Chamber has this if Zomb doesn't.)

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    1. I think Zomb may still have it, but there's always been the occasional overlap. Since taking on YouTube with Avalon, there hasn't been many classic games he wanted to play that I haven't already covered and I thought this would one he'd enjoy. Emphasis on thought.

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    2. I did enjoy the whole opening and first universe. Oh I also have a big list of classic games I want to play and have on the site I just haven't been able to strong arm the ineffable Biffman on those...yet. cough yoda stories cough The Operative lol

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    3. Ah, I see Zomb does have it! I mistakenly looked at the "latest" games he profiles at the front, instead of checking his index. That's another embarrassing failure in observation skills for a self-professed adventure gamer.

      Looking at the existing Request List here, I wouldn't know which ones would appeal to HeroOfAvalon's tastes, but just from a few clues: If he likes "a gritty sci-fi mystery", perhaps The Arrival or Cracking the Conspiracy might fit the bill. DogDay or Inherent Evil might also work, although the latter is more horror than sci-fi. Some of these may also require stealth or other forms of reflex gameplay, which I know appeals to him more than to me.

      I haven't played through the above myself, but they are all recommended by the adventuregamers site. Browsing through the early Windows games on their Top 100 Adventures list, the only other major absence in the Collection Chamber seems to be Rent-a-Hero -- but I expect that would be too cartoony for his tastes.

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    4. If I may put my two cents in, I, as a non-internal admirer of this site for years, am certainly unable to precisely estimate if Rent-a-Hero (which is not to be confused with the feel-good Japanese Dreamcast Action Adventure game) is of a too cartoony origin for HeroOfAvalon's gaming taste, but since Biff, along with his two congenial partners in excellence, have made available a good amount of titles in the past that excel Rent-a-Hero's sugar-sweetness-per-pixel factor by far, I'd personally see your chances for a release of said game to be published by one member of our Collection Chamber's beloved trio infernale within the upper realms of possibility. With the only question left being when (potential technical hurdles aside). But to quote - and comfort you, James, with - a wellknown saying: "Good things come to those who wait." Amen to that. :-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    5. Yes, I too would love it if the 1998 Rent-a-Hero adventure game made it into the Collection Chamber. I once played through the early scenes and found it to be good fun. It is certainly to my tastes, although maybe not to HeroOfAvalon's taste (at a guess). However, I was surprised to see that it is not mentioned on the Request List. Out of the five classic adventures I mentioned in my last post, this and Cracking the Conspiracy are currently absent. If they are put on the list, I am quite prepared to wait as long as it takes.


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    6. It wasn't until you, James, were stepping onto the playing field, so to speak, by mentioning 1998's Rent-a-Hero for PC right here at this cosy place. Before that, I just knew said title from hearsay, so due to your request I was doing a quick Google search for catching a first impression on the style of art and a glimpse of its story. I must admit that I am not the greatest Cartoon Adventure fan (anymore) before the Lord; although there are exceptions to that rule, like, for instance, the recently featured Touché or the first two Discworld games. However, 1998's Rent-a-Hero differentiates from your usual cartoony Adventure game with its unique and pretty "deformed" rendered looks. In fact, said work of art feels so appealing to me that I would give it a chance in a heartbeat if it was celebrated with due ceremony here at The Collection Chamber (TCC).

      And while Cracking The Conspiracy is a whole different beast in terms of graphics and narrative, it doesn't feel less interesting to me than the aforementioned Rent-a-Hero at all. So yeah, James, I can definitely comprehend your yearning desire for those and other oldies but goldies for the inclined connoisseur who is willing to tolerate their surely existing flaws as well.

      Honestly said, I personally prefer it to take things as they come here (and from any genre), as I like getting surprised with each new entry at TCC; and to feel the pleasant thrill by discovering what kind of passionate stuff one of the three masterminds has worked out again this time. And even with titles which aren't my personal cup of tea that much, I still like it to read their associated reviews. Because they come from people who seem to know their craft pretty well. :-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    7. With "people" in my last sentence above, I'm referring to the review writers, of course.

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    8. Rent-a-Hero, the adventure game made in 1998 in Austria, is very reminiscent of something the great, modern German adventure game company Daedalic might make. (It seems Germany made the best adventure games of the 2010s, although France made the best of the 2000s and the US dominated the 20th century... so long ago!)

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    9. Thanks for the recommendation of Rent-a-Hero, I watched some footage of such and it definitely looks like a title we should feature at some point. As always though it's how we can fit it in to our jam packed content plan. Biffman has been working especially hard this week on Friday's release and I think everyone will enjoy the piece he has been working on. Additionally I just wanted to say a Thank you both for the kind comments. One of the things I look forward to after we drop our weekly content is to read your opinions + recommendations. It makes the hard work worthwhile :)

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    10. I must admit to myself that, when it comes to Adventure games, I'm anything else than a seasoned patriot to my homecountry, because whenever the company name Daedalic comes up, their series Deponia automatically pops up in my mind, followed by a hardly to be surpressed flight reflex of my humble self, haha. So, no hard feelings, but rather "to each his own", as another popular expression goes. ;-) Well, being frank and fair, it's just that most of Daedalic's portfolio ain't my thing so much, that's all.

      Nonetheless, I do share - to a greater or lesser extent - your perspective on individual countries represented by firms responsible for Adventure games along with their associated market dominance through said decades. In fact, every now and then I still shed the one or other secret tear over the golden era that happened between the early 1980s and mid-'90s when Infocom, Sierra and Lucasfilm Games altogether were the measure of all great Adventure stuff of which I enjoyed quite a lot through the years. In the 2000s, however, there had been only one Adventure game (series) perfectly shining through for me, and that was indeed a French one named Syberia in whose mature fairytale story and picturesquely dreamy backgrounds I can totally lose myself till the present day. Which then again leads me to the 2010s where, yes, German developers of Adventure games secured themselves a large slice of the remaining market structure; however, to me it had been two different pieces of point-and-click candy, going by the names of King's Quest (Reloaded) and Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure, which both let my heart beat faster of joy in particular.

      But as is well known that you live and learn throughout your life, I bet that for me and others there are more than just a couple of Adventure game treasures and gems from the past 30+ years still hidden beneath the sands of time, only waiting for their retrieval - one that will surely reveal the one or other "ah" and "oh" to be cried out appreciatively then. :-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    11. Honour to whom honour is due, HeroOfAvalon! :-) Together with Austin Brewer, Biff has proved once more that he hasn't only a winning touch for presentation, but for fellow campaigners as well.

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    12. To be honest, I have never even tried the Deponia series. I have heard comments that they feature an annoying protagonist, which can sometimes be enough to put me off. (See: Randal's Monday.) I was thinking more of the following Daedalic games: The Whispered World series, The Night of the Rabbit, Edna & Harvey series, Anna's Quest, The Dark Eye series, A New Beginning, Journey of a Roach, Dead Synchronicity. It would be a shame if there was nothing in that list which was appealing. I am happy to know that King's Quest (Reloaded) exists, although I haven't tried the series myself. But Tesla Effect!! That one slipped by me completely. I had accepted that Tex Murphy ended in the 90s, and I had vaguely heard of this revival in 2014, but didn't look closely at it. I have to now! Thanks for the recommendation.

      Anyway, games from the last 10 years are outside the purview of this site, so I'm happy to drop this and get back on track.

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    13. You're absolutely right with the reasoning that - at least from an objective point of view - you don't do sufficient justice to Daedalic's work on the whole if you reduce it on the pugnacious Deponia alone. Just like you, I didn't have that much sympathy for the series' protagonist, and that's where everything starts for me and the crucial question if I begin to like a game.

      Subjectively spoken, you can't really tempt me with your further listed examples created by Daedalic, unfortunately. They're surely seen as good games for a certain target audience, but those titles simply don't arouse my interest enough to actually get and play them - with the exception of A New Beginning. Maybe. On the other hand, there are comparatively few modern Adventure games of which I think are worth my full devotion. But one thing is for sure: Me going more than just one extra mile for a properly designed Syberia sequel, prequel or reboot, respectively. :-)

      Glad to make you happy with my Tesla Effect recommendation! Can't believe that it slipped under your radar to date, but as a Tex Murphy fan from the old days you won't regret the purchase, I'd say. And there's even more to it than that - namely a delightful work still in progress - if you're looking for The Poisoned Pawn. :-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    14. Reduce it to the pugnacious Deponia? The game involves fighting? I wouldn't know, but I wonder if you chose the wrong adjective there. There is a Syberia 3 out already, but it was trashed in the adventuregamers review, so I haven't looked at it. I know The Poisoned Pawn will be a fanmade Tex Murphy game, which isn't even out yet, so I haven't looked at that either. Oh dear, it seems there is a lot I miss amongst modern adventures.

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    15. Dear James, I'd really wish for your attentive mind to be available in digital form as well - as "my man in the ear", so to speak, you'd be then plugged to my auditory canals, ready to correct me whenever a wrong English expression came out of my lips. :-) "Pugnacious" was indeed the false adjective to be used here, so I guess we'll both sleep better if it's gonna be replaced by something more appropriate like "contentious". Yeah, that's a suitable description for what I've meant right from the start. Thank you for pointing that out.

      As a long time admirer of the franchise, I'm fully aware of Syberia 3, of course, and it is certainly no coincidence that I didn't mention it by a single word. Nonetheless, I'm struggling down to the present day to eventually still buy and play it, but the shoulder angel is insistent to retain the upper hand... ;-)

      Maybe I'm getting old whilst searching for that certain Sierra meets Lucasarts (and vice versa) magic formula within modern days' Adventures, but the thing is that many of these often-Indie-Adventure-with-no-big-budget type of games don't appeal to me enough to focus on them in the long run. Those ones that fall from my personal favor usually do because of design decisions which, for my liking, interfere with the particular gaming experience so much that an annoying "next one, please!" comes to mind rather sooner than later.

      Therefore it is maybe all the more consoling that with Blade Runner: The Remaster, a former very-big-cinema-esque production will be in the starting gates later this year to enhance my knowledge about replicants and the world they live in even further. Honestly said, it wasn't love at first sight with said game adaption of the Blade Runner universe, but when the good folk of ScummVM was announcing the support for Blade Runner some time ago, I gave it a welcome try once more - and that was when sparks flew immediately. Then, shortly thereafter, a statement of an officially to be released professional Remastering made the rounds, and I just thought: "Great, the circle is closing".

      What I am doing since then, you ask? Well, eagerly awaiting its release, obviously. What did you think? :-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    16. Let's remember that The Collection Chamber was the first place to bring the Blade Runner game to modern audiences. I was proud to be one of the first to play-test it. The link has now been removed, of course, because the game is now available on GOG. As for this upcoming Remastered edition, I don't think it will enhance anyone's knowledge of replicants any further, because as far as I know, they will only enhance the graphics, not add new story content.

      To find the best Sierra meets LucasArts games in the modern era, the best place to look is probably the Best Traditional Adventure category in the Aggie Awards list on the adventuregamers site. Looking there, it seems the best ones of recent years were: Unavowed; Thimbleweed Park; the King's Quest reboot (you already know this one); STASIS; The Blackwell Epiphany; Goodbye Deponia; Resonance; The Book of Unwritten Tales; Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse; Tales of Monkey Island; Sam & Max: Season Two. It's interesting that Thimbleweed Park is from former LucasArts employees, while the last three are all extensions of LucasArts franchises.

      I think you meant "until then". The word "since" usually refers to a point in the past, while "until" refers to a point in the future. :)

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    17. Lucky you! To have been one of the first to slip into the role of Blade Runner Ray McCoy to test and play Biff's dedicated preparation for nowadays PCs at the time of its (now former) release here at TCC! Which is an advantage that I was unable to enjoy, unfortunately, because in my case it still required the announcement of the ScummVM team to bring the game back to my full consciousness again. Furthermore, they've also been the ones who spoke of additional "restored game content" that wasn't accessible to any final consumer before. Which was something I personally heard of for the first time and therefore clicked my tongue, obviously. So, whilst being aware that, as far as I know, this extra content still holds a work-in-progress status for a later ScummVM build, nonetheless I hope to see this still hidden stuff to be even more properly composed within the officially remastered version. Because of those bonus sections and due to the facts that I didn't dive into the game for that long yet, plus I only watched the first movie from 1982 so far (no one does it better than Rutger, I suppose), I think that the Blade Runner gaming experience will broaden at least my mind on its cosmos.

      Thank you for drawing my attention on...

      https://adventuregamers.com/aggie-awards/view/best-traditional-adventure

      ...which definitely deserves to be intensively studied by guys like me and many others whose yearning for traditional Adventure experiences in modern times is still burning. Of course, I, as an Adventure game veteran who is a contemporary witness of a brandnew purchased German 5.25 inch disk version of Monkey Island 2 back in 1992, I know most of the titles you've mentioned in your list, but thanks for bringing up those worthy mentions anyway. Can't spread glad tidings widely enough, eventually. :-)

      I highly appreciate your improvements on my mistakes - foreign languages, well, they turn out to be thick jungles from time to time -, so please let me know if "since" is correct (in relation to the context) if you amend said sentence as follows:

      "What I've been doing since then, you ask?"

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    18. No, of course no one can emote as powerfully as the great Dutch actor Rutger Hauer (certainly not Ryan Gosling), but Blade Runner 2049 is worth seeing, if only to get a taste of Denis Villeneuve's directorial style before Dune is released (hopefully) this December.

      I made a mistake, in fact, as I thought you were referring to the point in the future when the Remaster would be released, not the point in the past when ScummVM made an announcement. There isn't much wrong with your sentence, except that the auxiliary verb should come before the subject, because the order of words in a question is not the same as in a statement. Hence: "What have I been doing since then, you ask?"

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    19. Rutger Hauer certainly was a special breed of his guild, whose tremendous presence follows me since my early youthful days when I was hanging out with a friend of the same age and a VHS tape from the local video rental named Hitcher, der Highway Killer (which, you guess it, is the German translation for "Hitcher, the Highway Killer") ready to be played. An intense flick that both of us had been admittedly a little bit too young for being officially allowed to watch it, but who is - or was - ever free from any sin should throw the first stone, haha. Besides, growing up as a German child and teenager within a well-off and likewise easygoing family in the 1980s meant to live the "lightness of being" to a great extent and with less restrictions than nowadays. What are "helicopter parents" again? For God's sake, we didn't know anything about that back then. :-)

      Anyways, I still well remember how Mr. Hauer gave me the creeps for the first time in his very convincing role as the eponymous hitchhiker - a fictional identity that could have easily led to decreasing numbers in active hitchhikers on countless roads worldwide, because however friendly a hitcher may have seemed, who in God's name would have stopped for a hitchhiker ever again after watching The Hitcher? ;-) Of course, I'm exaggerating wildly here. ;-)

      In any case, although I was at a comparatively young age somewhere between 1988 and '90, I already got an idea of how important the bad guy's role actually is to a thrilling movie, because the better such a bad, but nonetheless interesting character, is embodied, the higher the probability of throwing a positive light on the film's hero, ergo your sympathy for the good guy rises proportional, carried by the justified hope that he, she - or, why not, it - will bring things to a good end, eventually.

      I really like Ryan Gosling, but even without having watched Blade Runner 2049 yet, I think I'll agree with you and your theory that pretty boy Ryan has a tough time to compete with rugged daredevil Rutger in the bad guy department. Well, I'll convince myself of that for sure when taking my little time machine trip into the year 2049. :-)

      Thanks for the advise with the right position of the auxiliary verb within a question. Before that, I had always thought that said difference is negligible. Yeah, me and my careless mind, haha. Anyways, putting the auxiliary verb in front of the subject as in "What have I been doing since then..." sounds more naturally, indeed, and is therefore easy to adopt.

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    20. It surprised me to hear a German talk about the 1980s with the phrase "the lightness of being". There was a Cold War going on! Germany was divided into two countries! Anyway, this probably didn't affect you, since you were a child.

      I failed to convey in my last post that Ryan Gosling plays the hero, i.e. the equivalent of Harrison Ford's character (who also has a smaller role in BR2049). The villain here is probably Jared Leto, although again not equivalent to Rutger Hauer's character. The reason I made the comparison to Rutger's powerful emoting was the "tears in the rain" scene, when he was no longer appearing as a villain.

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    21. You're quite right there, James, with the stated Cold War situation which was still an ongoing (silent) threat for the hard-won freedom during my childhood and early teenage years. And also you've come to the correct conclusion that I was still too young (for the most part) in said period of time to really comprehend how thick - or thin - the line between peace and war actually had been onto which the then victorious powers were walking.

      So, if you've been born into a middle class and likewise caring family located in Western Germany like me, then usually you didn't have that much to worry about in every respect. Let alone the aforesaid powergames between the former USSR, USA and their particular allies of which I admittedly picked up the one or other political fragment here and there via TV, news and movies (or even by early computer games like the fictional Raid Over Moscow), but me as the untroubled kid who I had still been didn't see the Cold War as such an active endangerment to my personal life. Much rather I thought that the then grown-ups - in shape of political statesmen - would work it out somehow. Which, in hindsight, was a sense that didn't deceive.

      Ha, this is what happens - namely a superficial knowledge - if you don't inform yourself well enough - like I did - about favourite movies you're planning to watch! ;-) But in my own defence, allow me to say that I have good reason for that. In fact, before a movie that interests me is shown, I always keep myself wilfully unbiased and clueless about its story and screenplay in large parts by only accepting rudimentary information in form of a (very) short overview and which actors attend. That's simply due to the overall surprise factor which I wanna maintain as high as possible, before I finally sit down with a bag of popcorn whilst thinking "Let's roll that hot shit now!" :-)

      But why I'm mentioning all of that? Well, before you enlightened me otherwise, I was pretty damn sure that Ryan Gosling had taken over the bad part in BR 2049, whilst Mr. "Angry Guy" Harrison Ford (and only him) would hunt him down, eventually. Now that's what I call a lousy research of my own, haha. So, to hear that it's Jared Leto instead who acts as the meanie, well, maybe he may not quite show off that kind of fear factor of one Rutger Hauer, but as one of the more diversified actors out there, Mr. Leto will probably cut a respectable villain performance nonetheless, I think.

      Yeah, Rutger Hauer's breathtaking Blade Runner downpour scene surely deserves an entry in the most-epic-movie-moments-to-impress-until-all-eternity division. It therefore remains all the more a mystery why his star as an actor already began to sink just a few years after Blade Runner had happended. Because if you ask me, I mostly remember Rutger Hauer from direct-to-video releases - or is my mind playing tricks on me here? ;-)

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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    22. I may take the Cold War more seriously than most people do, because I had/have Communist/now hard-left Socialist parents, and their self-righteous, smug, no-discussions-necessary-because-we're-correct-about-everything attitude messed up my early life. This may explain why I suddenly burst into an intense political argument with Biffman a few weeks ago, even though his political views are probably not the opposite of my own (centre-left) views.

      Sorry if I revealed too many spoilers for BR2049 in my last post. Yes, Rutger Hauer didn't do many big films in Hollywood after that, except for a few like The Hitcher or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw him most recently in an offbeat Western called The Sisters Brothers, in 2018. Maybe his roles were limited because he was typecast as a villain too much, when by all accounts he was a gentleman in real life.

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    23. With such a somewhat tragically sounding family background like yours, I probably would look at that former East vs West conflict in another light, too. But for me as well as for just as little uninvolved people around me living in relatively well secured West Germany, it felt much more like a hypothetical threat on paper rather than an active danger to our life and limb, as far as I can tell.

      There's no way you didn't reveal too much about BR 2049, don't worry about that. I think your remarks don't even deserve it to be regarded as spoilers, because you just mentioned the "who is who" of the main actors and their respectively portrayed characters within the movie. So, it's all good, James. :-)

      After having had a closer look on Rutger Hauer's cinematic oeuvre at IMDB in the meantime, I surely have to refute my former statement in parts, because his extensive filmography indeed bears witness to small but respectable roles in at least another few highly honorable productions, such as the surprisingly unique The Sisters Brothers you've mentioned briefly, the amusing space opera Valerian, Batman's prelude to an outstanding trilogy in Batman Begins, or the daring comic adaption Sin City.

      And yeah, I can't agree more with you when saying that he went down in the annals of movie history as the well-deserved "showcase villain" for the most part - but when it came to real life, his true self seemed to be rather the opposite of that.

      Bye for now,
      Thomas

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  3. I loved the storytelling of DreamForge back in the day, I was a big fan of Roger Zelazny's fiction (Amber!) and adventures was my favorite genre... a match made in heaven then?
    No, I never really could get into ChronoMaster back then.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to replay it!

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    1. I did like the general plot a little more than Avalon. I loved the weirdness of the Pocket Universes even if the difficulty was set a little high in placed. I found how the owner's (and designer's) quirky personalaity manifested physically in the different worlds was interesting. I wish they went a little further and deeper with it.

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    2. I liked the plot, just not so much the tonal change and execution of the piece :)

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  4. Very difficult game for today's standarts.

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  5. Like this? Try These... links doesn't work?

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