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Review: Killing Time

By: Kirk Hiner


Hands up, who out there beside myself has had enough of the "Doom"-like first person shoot-'em-ups? Who else is tired of running down countless corridors, shooting multitudes of monsters and collecting tons of treasure? Truth be known, I first explored this genre in 1983 when I bought "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin" for my Intellivision. And now, fifteen years later, I'm exploring it again with Logicware's "Killing Time."

As a side note, this game has been out for a while. It was released in December of 1997, but I hadn't heard of it until a month ago when I found a copy of it for $1.88 at CompUSA. Why was it so cheap, you ask? Who cares? That's not important. Don't get me off track. The point is that I honestly wasn't expecting to get my $1.88 worth.

I was wrong.

It's true that "Killing Time" does nothing to advance the first person action genre. As with most games of this style, you're presented with a small background movie, given a small weapon, and let loose in a large gaming world to kill or be killed. Only this time, you're not in a spaceship or a dungeon or the Castle Wolfenstein or wherever you are in Quake or Washington D.C. or the Death Star or...

Wait. What game was I reviewing?

Oh yeah. In "Killing Time," you start out at the Conway Estate on the Isle of island from which all the inhabitants disappeared. You learn that Tess Conway was into some freaky voodoo stuff (what is it with these computer women and their freaky voodoo stuff?), as her ghost asks you at the start to find the ten "vessels" that she created to grant herself everlasting life...unsuccessfully, obviously. Along the way, you run into other apparitions that slowly unveil the story of what happened to the Conway Estate. This element is supposed to comprise the "mystery" portion of the game that bills itself as "Part Mystery, Party Mayhem, Pure Terror!" However, the mystery pretty much solves itself. All you really need to do is kill.

Which brings us to the mayhem. What do you get to kill in this game? Zombies, cooks, clowns, maids, two-headed dogs, giant crickets, hunters, floating red skulls, ghosts, skeletons, etc., etc. The things is--and I suppose that this is the terror part--that some of these bad guys are actually sort of frightening. The laugh of the clowns as they move in to attack is genuinely creepy, and I sometimes hear the low, gutteral "Tch, tch, boy" of the dead hunters as I lie in bed at night, which probably isn't a good sign.

"Killing Time" has a decent storyline that unfolds naturally as the game progresses. However, learning what happened to the Conway Estate wasn't nearly as much fun as exploring it. The grounds are laid out so well and the graphics are so good at full 640x480 resolution that I would've been entertained just walking around it for a while. Granted, the landscaping doesn't make a lot of sense. Those thousands of little trees may provide some nice cover, but I'd sure hate to be Conway's mower.

Honestly, my favorite thing about "Killing Time" is the music. Most of these games bombard you with heavy bass and drums to keep the pace moving. Others surround you with eerie airs to lend a sense of doom to your efforts. With "Killing Time," however, you get 1920s jazz. In effect, you're killing dozens of rabid maids while someone down the hall is dancing the Charleston. The music style changes from scene to scene, of course, but the choice of this happy, bouncy melody behind the carnage I think pretty much captures the spirit of "Killing Time."

It's just fun. I usually grow bored of games of this type and never finish them, but I played all the way through this one and had a fun time doing it.

I guess the point is that not all games have to revolutionize the industry to be worth owning. Not every game has to be a "Myst" or a "Doom" or a "Myth" with some wild new network feature. Really entertaining games such as "Killing Time" sometimes get shoved behind the "Riven" boxes and end up disappearing with nary a review.

Well, here's my review. "Killing Time" is fun. Go buy it...especially if it's only $1.88. However, I'm sure it's just as entertaining at $29.95.

Oh, and one other thing. Before playing the game, be sure to go to Logicware's website and download the patch to version 1.1.1. Without it, you can't reload any of your saved games...and that's not good. While you're there, you can also check out the list of other Mac titles that Logicware will be releasing soon. It should warm the heart of any Mac gamer.



Genre: Action

Platform: MacOS

Format: CD ROM

Developer: Logicware

Requirements: PowerPC, 13" monitor with 256 colors, MacOS 7.5.3 or higher, 4x (or higher) CD ROM.

Network feature: No

Retail price: $29.95

Availability: Out now

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Raised on Intellivision and "Tron," Kirk Hiner has been an avid gamer ever since he was tall enough to look through the viewfinder on the Battlezone upright. Although he makes a living using a PC (not by choice) to design websites for Dynamics Online, Inc., Kirk never strays from his 9600/200 or 3400c for computer gaming. When he's not playing the latest Logicware release, he can either be found working on his next "never to be published" novel, rereading anything by Kurt Vonnegut or watching RAW is WAR.


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November 26, 2015

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