Review: Killing Time
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 Matinicus...an 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, tch...here 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.
Format: CD ROM
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
Raised on Intellivision and "Tron,"
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
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