Welcome to the 51st issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This project is a weekly feature where we share our favorite games and applications with you. The things we recommend may be “old school” titles, a Homebrew, a ROM hack, sleeper hits, an application, etc, but one thing’s for certain, we think they are fantastic and deserve your attention!
In 1991 SEGA released a stereoscopic laserdisc FMV arcade game known as Time Traveler. The game was designed by Dragon’s Lair creator Rick Dyer, which he dubbed “the world’s first holographic video game.” The “holographic” illusion was made possible by utilizing a curved mirror which refracts the image from a 20 inch Sony CRT Television onto a dark stage known as the “micro-theater.” The “micro-theater” is completely void of objects except for 4 neon-colored geometric blocks that helped to enhance the feeling of depth. When playing the game it is possible to reach behind the characters, into the void of the stage, further enhancing the holographic illusion.
The game stars Marshal Graham, an old west cowboy, who must travel across time to save Princess Kyi-La of the Galactic Federation from an evil scientist known as Vulcor. Each scene is one of several live action FMV segments filmed by 40 actors and a tiny production crew of only 5 people. The game utilizes a control scheme similar to Dragon’s Lair, where quick timed decisions and the correct inputs advance the story. The controls include a 4-way joystick, an action button, and a time reversal button. The majority of the action consists of shooting your opponents after quickly moving out of harms way. However, if you are fatally wounded then the time reversal button can be used to escape death by offering a second chance to conquer the failed FMV segment. Similar to other laserdisc games, memorizing the FMV segments is a required component. A player who takes the time to learn each segment can win the game in under 15 minutes.
Time Traveler received PC CD-ROM and DVD releases by Digital Leisure. The home edition attempts to simulate the original arcade experience by incorporating red and blue anaglyph stereoscopic 3D effects. While the core gameplay is present, the DVD release suffers from input lag and sync issues due to DVD remotes which are not designed as game controllers. These releases made the game more readily available, yet they were unable to recreate the a true Arcade experience.
Time Traveler is an extremely unique machine that has become rather difficult for a new generation of gamers to experience. Occasionally the game will pop-up in an Arcade, and when found it is worth spending a few quarters on. Even if the game mechanics are not to your liking, the game itself is one experience worth not missing out on.
Release Year: 1991
Developed by: Virtual Image Productions
Published by: Sega
Designed by: Rick Dyer
Engine by: David Salizzoni
Optics by: Steve Zuloff, Barry Benjamin
Released For: Sega Laserdisc (Arcade)
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