There are some games that need to be reviewed in a certain way to make a point; this is one of them:
One Saturday, I went to Electronics Boutique. I had 10 big ones. I didn’t have money to buy Skies Of Arcadia. So, I bought Time Stalkers saying to myself, “Time Stalkers can’t be that bad, it is an RPG made by Climax. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
(Hours later, I would find that I was wrong …very wrong.)
I bought Time Stalkers and took it home and I started playing, not a minute went by before the horrible intro music broke into my ears! My God! Never in my entire life have I heard such a horrible composition!
Thankfully, I managed to survive. I hit ‘New Game’ and a real-time cinema cut-scene kicked in, and that’s when I discovered that this game looks as blocky as Mario 64; this is the Dreamcast for god’s sake! Time Stalkers has to be the ugliest game that I have played on the Dreamcast, the main character looks like a crappy vampire and what’s worst is his name: Sword!? It’s not long before Sword starts speaking, and he reads terrible. This game’s dialog is as cheesy, as one those small books for five-year-olds.
I should have turned the DC off, and I should have sold the game back to the store, but being the huge RPG fan that I am, I kept playing through the mess. I went to the game’s first dungeon and discovered that it is ridiculous to call these pointless mazes “dungeons.” There is absolutely no challenge in these “dungeons” and worst they are all monotonous (they all look the same). The only thing you will find in these “dungeons” are battles which also become pointless, because once you get out of a “dungeon” your progress goes back to zero, making battles worthless; this also makes battles repetitive since it takes awhile before you see new spells.
Azure Dreams made this mechanic work, but that game had an interesting set of NPCs, and a wonderful town building system.
By this point in the game I started to ask myself the following questions: “Why are these dungeons so poorly designed with no puzzles!?” This game heavily relies on dungeons, right? Then, why are these mazes so boring!? How does Sega expects me to keep coming back time after time if have really no incentive to keep going?
Anyway, after I beat the second “dungeon”, I discovered that the game had little to no plot! How can that be!? And Sega dares to call this an RPG!? It’s ridiculous that there is nothing good to this game. The music, like I said before, is Sega Master quality (bad). The graphics look like they were put together in a couple of days. There is no originality in this game, in fact, the whole game seems like a bad clone of the aforementioned Azure Dreams, which brings me to this question:
Why did Sega even publish this game?
If you ever go to a store to buy a Role-Playing game for the Dreamcast, do yourself a favor, don’t buy this thing. I call it a thing because this game doesn’t belong in any genre, to call it an RPG is an insult to the genre. Heck, the whole game is an insult to the video game industry. That’s how bad it is.
If you have read this review on workingdesigns.com you will see that I gave it a 0.0, but – admittedly – at the time, I was incredibly angry. Now, a couple of years have passed, and I have been able to look back at the game with a perspective that is less influenced by anger, and more by wisdom. I have new ratings for it.
However, they are not much Higher. Sega was the one company that as a publisher, at one time, game for game, was giving Squaresoft some fierce competition. In fact, it’s almost safe to say that sega had never botched an RPG before this one. Thankfully they made up for this catastrophic mistake with the Magnificent all time great Skies of Arcadia.
Time Stalkers’ world of floating pieces is so bizarre and so senseless that a solid story was needed to keep this thing from falling apart. But there is no solid story, in other words, no reason to play this game. You want a good dungeon crawler? Buy Azure Dreams. Good luck finding it though.
Gameplay: 4.0-A Cheap Rip Off of Azure Dreams. Sorry, but venturing in dungeons that look exactly the same for 80 hours to battle monsters knowing that when I leave the dungeons my levels will restart back at 1, even though I will probably have to return to the dungeon again does not make for a compelling game experience. Especially when there is no plot to keep you going.
Graphics: 3.5-Looks better than Mario 64. It’s incredible that Sega delivered us this crap after the world had been revolutionized by the Legendary Ocarina of time.
Music: 3.5-That horrible intro music sets the stage for the entire uninspired score.
Story: 1.0- The game has more writing on it than the original NES Zelda. Too bad the dialog reads like it is designed for five year olds kids, and the plot seems to have been designed as an afterthought. When you have a main Character whose name is Sword, and world made up of small pieces from Different eras, and all of these elements are tied together without a coherent historical back ground, you know that you have a problem in the story department.
Addictiveness: 2.0-Chances are you will stop playing after you leave the first Dungeon and realize that the boring tedius time you spent on it was worhtless since your character’s progress was reset to Level 1.
Overall: 4.0-This officially holds the spot for the second WORST GAME EVER reviewed by yours truly Samuel Rivera. And that is no small feat as I have played many many bad RPGS but this one easily takes the award.
*Editors note: Dragon Warrior VII would go on to become the worst rated game in Never Ending Realm history.
*Time Stalkers holds a 52 (out of 100) global score on GameRankings.
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