Time Stalkers
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2002-01-23 Dreamcast RPG T (Teen) SEGA

What if your life was a book that someone was reading and writing as you went along in your daily tasks? What if people and places were set up for you to interact with them in a premeditated fashion, only for someone's private amusement? Would you go along with it or would you try to break free?

Sword's life becomes a tale when he finds a mysterious book that magically transports him to a brand new world, a fantasy world where different places, cultures and ages collide to create a unique geographical surface.

In Time Stalkers, you assume the role of Sword and your adventure beings in a clock tower. As you find your way out of it, you discover that this is no longer the world as you know it. Land, people and buildings were summoned here to create this strange place.

An old man greets you and addresses you as a hero, telling you that you are the chosen child of light, and giving you the mission to discover the mysteries and secrets of this world and find what threatens it. He also hands you a Hero's Crest, which will allow you to enter dungeons. After a brief talk with the old man, you are left outside your new house, with your butler, a pink sheep named Mutton!

As the story develops, you will meet more characters that you can share the Hero's Crest with, each of them with their own special abilities: some are strong fighters, others are powerful magic users, while Sword is something in between. They all come from different ages and places, and all have a certain aspect of their own personalities that makes them quite enjoyable and fun to interact with. Their comments add comedy to the game: Lady is always worried about her looks, Sword wonders for the longest time where did all the cute chicks go, Friday (Nigel's little pixie friend) speaks her mind without concern, Rao is usually very reserved.

My favorite character to play with was Nigel. He has a great range of abilities that prove to be very useful and has the most balanced stats and the best Luck of all. It's easier to find items with him, and convenient too because he can Identify them. I also didn't like Sword's bad-tempered character... for a main character he surely is rude!

You can't form a party with the other Heroes though. Instead, you can capture creatures in the dungeons and have them fight by your side. Creatures will learn skills the same way you do, by raising levels, clearing dungeons and earning titles. My choice of allies was a Spectre and a Stone, which is a good caster/tank combo.

In your house (which you can repair and upgrade to hold more items in storage) you can save the game, store or take out items, give items to other characters and hand down the Hero's Crest to start an adventure with one of them. There is also a separate room, the Collection Room, where rare items you find along your journeys will be displayed. It's your own personal museum! Mind you, these items are extremely hard to find.

In the monster house (you can also upgrade it to hold more monsters) you can register newly captured creatures, encapsulate them for later use in fights, graze them (put them in the monster house) or let them go. You can also download mini-games for your VMU.

Along the town there are other useful places. In the Church you can revive your monster allies for a fee, at the shop you can get rid of your extra items, while the blacksmith will repair and upgrade your equipment or legendary items. And if you head to Mr. Noiman's house (the rabbit) he will give you quests and reward you with money and rare items or skills. These quests include clearing a certain dungeon, capturing a monster or number of monsters, or finding a random item.

You can re-enter a dungeon at any time, and each time its layout will be different. You will always start at level one, but you will receive titles and skills as you clear dungeons, and you will always keep those regardless of your level.

In some dungeon floors you will find a restoration chamber, which will restore your HP, MP and Vitality fully ONCE, so use it wisely. At the end of each dungeon floor, you will be given bonus points to distribute by your stats. Check which skills you haven't mastered yet and assign points to the stats you need to rise in order to master them.

As you walk around and search the areas you will become hungry. Tasty and Savory Fruits will restore your hunger meter. Physical attacks use Vitality, which can be restored by means of items, spells or simply by walking around.

Time Stalkers is a single player fantasy RPG that will provide you with hours of fun. The bright and colorful graphics make the different pieces of land contrast even more. The music is very enjoyable and it's different for each dungeon and for each character while in town, but there's work to be done regarding sound effects (voice actors, anyone?).

There are dozens of funny characters to interact with, particularly this very odd detective who will tell you the silliest jokes and a transvestite shopkeeper who has some serious problems about his identity! Make sure you stop by Downtown to visit them.

The only problem I found was it being too short. You only NEED to go through each dungeon once to beat the game, and the replay value is in trying to find those items for your Collection Room.

I loved that special world that changed by the hour, and I only wish there were more dungeons to explore, more pieces of land to walk around on and more characters to interact with. I can always go back though, after all, I chose not to close the book in the end.