CD-ROM review: Timelapse Leisuresoft, pounds 39.99

Games: think before you shoot

The traditional appeal of adventure games has always been in the painstaking collection of clues and waiting for that Eureka moment, several hours into the game, when you realise that you were right not to ignore something seemingly insignificant in the first screen, because it turns out to be the key to saving the world. Timelapse is full of such moments.

The task is to follow in the footsteps of an archaeologist who thinks he has unravelled the mystery of Atlantis. First port of call is the Easter Island, where, according to the professor's journal, an alien device is hidden in the family burial cave of a shaman. It's supposed to be a time- gate of some sort. Once you've found it, you can work out how to use it and travel to the Anasazi, Mayan and Egyptian cultures and see if you can find the link between them and Atlantis.

There is a lot to explore here and a notepad and paper are useful for making maps of the landscape. However, the camera which can be found near the beginning of the game is even more useful for recording the mysterious glyphs you encounter and will need to decode or refer to at some stage.

The puzzles are not all straightforward to solve. Even some of the earliest and simplest have caused problems for some. A visit on the Web (http://www.im.gte.com/timelapse) for tips is one strategy should you get stuck, or become impatient.

The feature that the designers like to draw attention to is the full- screen graphics, which they claim are photo-realistic. They are good, especially some of the visual special effects, but they are not that good. Ultimately, though, this game succeeds on the strength of its gameplay rather than on the merits of ray-traced graphics and SGI-rendered 3D landscapes.

Leisuresoft (01604 768711).

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