September 25, 2000

Time Stalkers - Preview

Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players RRP

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Known as Climax Landers in Japan, this is one of the hottest games on the Dreamcast to date, and definitely one of the better RPG's on the system. To date there is only one true RPG on the Dreamcast in Australia, that being UbiSoft's Evolution: World of Sacred Devices. Time Stalkers has some stunning visuals, although the gameplay in the Japanese version was somewhat questionable.

The storyline in Time Stalkers is as follows. You are Sword, a great hero who can solve the mystery of colliding time portals, and return the people to their right place in time. Time Stalkers leads you through a massive 3D world that's made up of various slices of time and space from medieval Europe, to ancient Egypt and 1980's Japan. Your task is to explore each piece of this confused world and make sense of the many clues that you'll gather along the way.

Climax have a record of strong RPG titles including several classic games on the Sega Saturn. Indeed this game includes 6 playable characters and an additional 30 interactive characters. No where near as many characters found in Square's Final Fantasy series, but not too bad either. The game also includes maps and dungeons that change each time you play the game. This feature could be critical in increasing the longevity of the game.

One interesting addition to Time Stalkers is the staggering 11 VMS games. While it remains to be seen if they all make it to Australia this is an added bonus which isn't being utilised by many titles at all on the Dreamcast.

But Climax Landers hasn't been without it's development problems and setbacks. The game was originally scheduled for release in the first half of 1999 but was constantly pushed back until it's eventual release date of 15th September in Japan. Likewise there have been numerous delays in getting the title to Australia. Originally the game was meant to be released in February 2000 but at the moment looks like it will be late October at best.

This will be a critical game for the Dreamcast. The Japanese are fanatical RPG games players and Sega needs strong titles to succeed over there. Final Fantasy 7 was the title that pushed the Playstation more then anything in Japan and Sega will be hoping for the same result with this title as well as their own Shen Mue: Yokosuka.