Hype: The Time Quest Download
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
You might think that Ubi Soft's new 3D action/adventure game is aimed squarely at kids and that you should ignore it. But you'd be making a big mistake. Okay, the larger, plastic Playmobil figures never had as much charm as the Lego characters and it's probably a while since you've played mummies and daddies with their smooth, shiny little bodies under the bed clothes. However, don't turn the page just yet - you could be in for a surprise.
Since Tomb Raider burst onto our screens a couple of years ago, there have been more Lara clones than you can shake a disproportionate Barbie doll at. Hype may be very much an action/adventure game in the Tomb Raider mould, in that you must guide your character around a 3D environment, jumping ravines, running rings around various nasties and engaging in a bit of combat and simplistic puzzle solving, but unlike the countless other games of this ilk. Hype actually goes one step further and introduces some subtle RPG influences.
Not only does the lead character, Hype, have spells and an Cintelligent' inventory at his disposal, but he actually gets to talk to other characters as well as kill them. He can also buy equipment and armour from traders. What's more, unlike Tomb Raider which is completely action-oriented, and the forthcoming Drakan from Psygnosis which uses pre-set dialogue to further the plot, in Hype what you say to the various characters you meet actually has a bearing on how the story develops, as well as how you progress through each level and how other characters react to you. In many ways, it's quite ironic that a game that many would automatically ignore because the lead character is based on a child's plastic toy should be the first to take genre a step further by introducing a dynamic storyline and dialogue. It's also one of the first games to feature realistic, real-time dynamic rope animation and accurate real-time character shadowing.
We deliberately decided not to be limited by the image of the toy, maintains the game's producer Benoit Galarneau. We knew we had a great licence with Playmobil, but we chose to do a game that, as gamers, we would enjoy playing ourselves - not just kids. We've paid special attention to the lighting effects, which play an important part in creating the right atmosphere. Plus there's real-time dynamic character shading and realistic rope animation.
We've introduced some pretty refined riddle scenarios, and Hype will have to learn how to use time travel and interact with other characters to be successful in the game. He can also ride a dragon, which the player controls. There's quite a sophisticated inventory system in operation and he'll have to go to certain traders to have his armour repaired or buy new weapons. And our 3D game engine is state of the an. Hype is definitely not just for kids.
Okay, so maybe you're still not convinced, but just because the lead character has got a flat, plastic chest doesn't mean you should ignore it. If Ubi Soft manage to son out the rather cumbersome camera and beef up the hand-to-hand combat, we could all be in for a treat come Christmas.
When we first saw Hype: The Time Quest at the E3 trade show a few months ago, we were more than pleasantly surprised. We'd heard that Ubi Soft had secured the Playmobil licence but, like everybody else, we'd assumed they'd use it to develop kids' games or some God-awful edutainment software. Okay, they're doing this as well, but as far as Hype is concerned, avoid this little number at your peril.
On a recent visit to Ubi Soft's main development base in Montreal, Canada, we caught up with the game's producer, Benoit Galameau, and asked him what the hell he was playing at developing a game that uses plastic Playmobil characters. Basically, we all played with Playmobil toys when we were kids, he explains. Therefore, two years ago, when Ubi Soft planned to develop a brand new range of games for the whole family, the idea of introducing the Playmobil plastic toys into our 3D world developed naturally. We developed a small demo movie in 3D featuring the Playmobil characters, took it to Playmobil during the Niimburg toy fair in 1996, and they immediately pulled out of negotiations they were having with another software developer and signed a licence agreement with us." It's not going to be an easy task convincing people that Hype isn't a kid's game, and Ubi Soft are desperate to educate the games-buying public. So how have they gone about making Hype appeal to someone who plays Tomb Raider? It's not going to be easy. Who would you rather play with - a busty heroine who grunts suggestively when she bumps into walls, or a shiny little bloke with a thousand-yard stare and a fixed grin?
Our engine is state of the an, says Benoit, and we're deliberately not being limited by the image of the toy. In Time Quest there are many different and detailed worlds for you to experience, and we've paid special attention to the lighting effects, which play an important role in creating the right atmosphere. It's the first game to use our realistic rope animation technology, and there's real-time dynamic character shading and shadows.
Time Quest certainly looks pretty smart, and the 3D engine that Ubi Soft have developed is as good as anything else we've seen on the PC at the moment. But what else can we look forward to? There are some very unique puzzles and complex levels to explore, offers Benoit. Time Quest is not just a simple one-way travel through time, but a complex labyrinth across centuries, where the hero travels back and forth. Moreover, the player actually shapes history according to the choices they make. You have to learn how to interact with the many different characters in order to get some important information, and you can trade for better weapons and armour at different stores in the towns. It's not just a question of running around killing things and jumping from platform to platform.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and come November, you'll be able to see for yourself whether Hype is a game you want to keep for yourself or pass on to your kid brother this Christmas. It's difficult to take seriously any game that has a Playmobil character as the hero, but then you don't have to like him - leave that to the Teletubbies fans.
The Canadian Rope Trick
Hype - The Time Quest is the first game ever to feature realistically animated rope
Apparently the development team have spent ages working out a realistic physics model for the rough stuff that used to scratch your thighs in gym class, in order that it moves and reacts realistically to the forces that surround it.
That may not sound like a massive breakthrough in gaming technology, but it represents the time and effort the designers are placing on real-time physics as they attempt to recreate a 3D gaming world that is as realistic as possible in terms of the way things move and are affected by unseen forces such as wind and gravity.
In the game, it's used in a variety of guises and incorporated into a few puzzles. One example is where you must guide Hype into the middle of an area that is surrounded by huge swinging pendulums in order to retrieve a magical item. One false move and he's twonked off the screen as the weighted rope knocks seven shades of plastic faeces - not to mention a few hit points - out of his shiny little body. As you'd expect, It also comes in to play whenever Hype has to swing across a ravine or battlements.
The advent of 3D acceleration technology has enabled the developers to concentrate on creating realistic worlds that not only look great, but also behave as you'd expect them to. To be totally honest, you don't really notice it much at first But just like motion-captured animation, if you take it away it just doesn't seem to look or Cfeel' right. By the beginning of next year we should be seeing leaves fluttering down from treetops, and flags billowing in the breeze. Which Is nice.