Where Time Stood Still is a conversion of a classic ZX Spectrum game made by Denton Designs. The Atari ST version was publish by Ocean Software in 1988.
It’s an isometric adventure game played in a small window, with pop-up, icon-based menus. You’re trapped in a hostile world after a plane crash and must survive your way back to civilisation. You play Jarret, the lead hero guy, and three other AI-controlled survivors accompany you (Clive, Dirk and Gloria). You can shoot, pick up and carry things, and use things that you’re carrying. The AI controlling your companions is at best, skittish.
Once you’ve collected all the items nearby that were strewn in the crash, you then have the first puzzle to solve: Clive, the wealthy, fat businessman survivor (who complains a lot), falls through a hole in a bridge you’re crossing and you have to use the rope to save him. Well, you don’t have to save him, but the general idea is that you’ve a better chance of survival the more of your group you keep alive. And there is some truth to that, because later – when you reach the native village – Clive’s translation skills come in very handy.
Where Time Stood Still is a very frustrating game. Keeping all four of your group alive is extremely difficult, especially when playing the game at a fast frame rate. This is definitely a game that was designed to be played at a low frame rate!
Trying to cross the swamp with all four characters alive is almost impossible. I tried over and over again, and finally managed it, but only due to a bug in the game. Clive seemed lost (not killed by a tentacle, but left behind by the screen), then suddenly appeared on the other side intact, as if by magic.
I then found a nearby native village. The native chief offered me food and water, told me he expected a gift in return, then attacked me with spears before I could give him Gloria’s compact. We ran away and were immediately confronted by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which promptly killed us.
Thankfully the magic of HAGA saves allowed me to reload and try again, but overall Where Time Stood Still I think is just a bit too frustrating to enjoy, unless you read up about it beforehand. The only real way to get any enjoyment out of it is to know how to play it, and have a map of the game for reference.
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