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Low-Spoiler Guide to TimeScape: Journey to Pompeii

Welcome to my Timescape Pompeii hints page. (-: If you're new to this series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea behind them is to point gamers towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving step-by-step instructions or divulging puzzle solutions. There's not much point in playing an adventure game if you know the solutions in advance, after all--particularly not an adventure game as short as this one.

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So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable Journey to Pompeii hints and tips. If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend the UHS site--because of the way their pages are set up you can only see one hint at a time, so you can find the answer to one pesky puzzle without spoiling all the others. Here's the UHS page for Journey to Pompeii, if that interests you. My site, meanwhile, focuses on exactly the things UHS and other traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-essential parts of the game, little detours you can take, additional details you might miss if you did only what was strictly necessary to complete the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--if you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example, and just want to know if there's anything you're going to hate in it--please try my Timescape Pompeii Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Now, on with the game!

Journey to Pompeii Hints and Tips
Journey to Pompeii Walkthrough
Journey to Pompeii Cheats and Links
Journey to Pompeii Spoilers, Deaths, and Easter Eggs
The Backseat Game Designer: Journey to Pompeii Critique

Timescape: Journey to Pompeii Hints and Tips

There are no bugs in Timescape Pompeii (at least, none that I found), and no serious gameplay issues. However, there are some things you may want to be aware of before starting out, in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. Without spoiling anything:

Time Management: Except for timed challenges (see below), time does not pass in Timescape Pompeii. Each day will end when, and only when, you have completed all its tasks in order. Plot events are pre-scripted, and you cannot make your job in Day Two easier or harder by hurrying or dawdling in Day One. Take your time to explore and be impressed by the city's architecture. This game is already quite short and rushing through it will only exaggerate that effect.

Timed Challenges: There are several points in this game where you must complete a task before a timer runs out or Adrian will die. This is never announced (though it is sometimes a matter of common sense, such as stealing an object quickly while the person who was guarding it has stepped out for a minute.) Unfortunately, Timescape Pompeii has no mechanism for restarting your game at the beginning of a timed challenge you failed at. You will need to be very careful about saving your game correctly as you play.

Saving Games: At the beginning of each day, save your game in a new savegame slot before leaving Popidius' house. Save another one at the beginning of the fourth night (the first time you find yourself on the street at nighttime.) Never overwrite those games--it's possible to save your game during a timed challenge right before time runs out, making that savegame unwinnable, so if you have the bad luck to do this by accident, you may need to restore the game from the beginning of the day. If you want to know exactly where to make sure to save your game to minimize damage from timed challenges and unexpected deaths, check out my low-spoiler Pompeii walkthrough.

Movement Hotspots: Navigating the streets of Pompeii can be very confusing at first, because there are many seemingly unblocked streets that you just can't seem to walk down no matter what you do. What's going on here is that the game only gives you access to the parts of town the plot calls for you to visit next, as well as ones you have already visited (even some of those disappear in the endgame.) So if you can't get down a certain road, that means there's nothing down that road that you need, and you can safely ignore it. On the other hand, it also means you're probably going to need to come back to the intersection again and again to see if the way is clear yet each time you finish another task. Some roads never do become passable. You can use my walkthrough if this all gets too onerous (I tell you which areas to visit in order, but not what puzzles or conversations take place there.)

Map: Don't forget there is a map function (just press the space bar to consult the map.) You can't use the map to move to a new location, but it's good for checking the location of a new destination you've been informed about (the names of all the buildings are written on the map.)

Characters: Because the camera angle shifts disconcertingly back and forth during conversations, and because characters' lips do not move when they're speaking, it can be very hard to puzzle out which NPCs are which, especially when several of them are talking at once. I had particular trouble early in the game, before I'd learned to recognize Adrian himself. (Adrian isn't visible while you're in movement mode, but in conversation, he is sometimes visible standing next to his conversational partners and other times not.) During the first conversation I wasn't even sure whether I was talking to two characters or three, much less which of them was supposed to be which. It helps if you realize that one of them is actually Adrian, and that it never actually matters which NPC is delivering a line when two or more of them are engaged in conversation at the same time.

Dialogue: The quality of the dialogue in this game is exceptionally poor, with lots of muttering, mumbling, snorting, snuffling, raucous laughter, thick brogues and bad Russian accents (?), and over-the-top histrionic shrieking and sobbing. There is a subtitle option in the option menu, and playing with it on is really a must; you'll have no chance understanding some of the spoken lines otherwise.

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