Got Game Entertainment is quickly making a name for itself in the adventure game community for publishing largely unacknowledged European productions in North America. After The Watchmaker and Tony Tough from different developers in Italy, Got Game has now announced a third adventure game to be published in Q1 2003. Created by Czech developer Zima Software, Time Guard is another title we thought would never make it across the Atlantic. The genre has been sorely lacking in comedy outings in recent years, and it's refreshing to see Got Game making attempts to correct that.
Originally released as Polda 4, Time Guard is actually the fourth game in an adventure series that has gained quite some popularity in the Czech Republic. The series follows the misadventures of Pankrac, a policeman-turned-PI. Pankrac gets to solve a case of historical proportions in Time Guard, as he travels in time to stop evil Russians from changing the future. Time Guard will take you to many different locations, ranging from 18th century France to a future where a re-united Communist Soviet Union rules the world.
I had the opportunity to play a Czech language version of the game. The first thing that struck me is that clearly, the developers weren't working on a huge budget. The graphics are certainly not Time Guard's strongest point. They are probably best described as adequate; there's nothing really awe-inspiring about them, but they do the job. A more important issue—at least in the part that I played—are the camera positions. The viewpoint is often a little awkward, making you feel like you are missing part of the picture. You do always get a clear view of where the action is, but the framing is somehow a little claustrophobic.
The interface is one of the areas where it's all smooth sailing. Even though the engine bears some resemblance to Escape From Monkey Island on the surface, Time Guard is not keyboard-controlled. The point & click interface takes just five minutes to get into. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to judge the dialogues for this preview, as the preview material is in Czech. The success of Time Guard depends entirely on the humor of the story and the way it's carried into English, and the voice acting will be critical to making the entire game come alive.
Time Guard is a game that doesn't try to be pretentious. If you are looking for a humorous game that simply aims to provide a good overall fun factor, you should keep an eye on the release date. Whether Got Game has done a good job on the localization will be the key. The game is currently scheduled to hit North American stores sometime in Q1 2003, and we'll have a review here on Adventure Gamers shortly thereafter!
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