Where Time Stood Still

by Fred Gray, John Heap, Bob Wakelin
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 54, Jul 1988   page(s) 14,15

Producer: Ocean
Retail Price: £7.95 cassette, £14.95 disk
Author: Denton Designs

A plane crashlands high on a mysterious plateau. Miraculously, all three passengers (fat and wealthy Clive, his daughter Gloria and Dirk, her fiance) manage to clamber out of the wreckage alive. As Jarret, professional pilot and guide, looks around, he realises that their journey has only just begun. Trapped in a world of falling rocks, dinosaurs, and hungry cannibals, they have no option but to try to reach safety on foot.

Taking the part of Jarret, you attempt to lead your companions away from the scene of the wreckage through a four-way scrolling, isometric perspective environment of swamps, precarious pathways, waterfalls and forests. Allowing Jarret or one of his companions to fall off a cliff, into water or through the rotten slats of a rickety bridge, results (unsurprisingly) in severe injury or death. Should Jarret die, the player chooses a new leader from the members of the party left alive.

The inhabitants of this strange and distant land prove a constant threat. Sea monsters flex their elastic tentacles, cannibals hurl spears and pterodactyls swoop in from above, ready to carry unwitting victims high into the prehistoric sky.

Helpful objects, ranging from gun to first aid kit, are scattered round the plateau. A menu system allows these to be picked up, used and moved around. Each of the characters has his or her own inventory and is capable of carrying up to four objects.

A series of status bars shows the company's collective state of health in terms of strength, hunger/thirst and ammunition. As their stamina begins to drop, the characters, communicating through speech bubbles, begin to complain. Giving them supplies and an opportunity to rest, boosts energy. Allowing the health rating to fall to zero causes the party to die of exhaustion.

As the journey continues, a calendar shows the changing date and indicates the passage of day and night. How long the party survives depends on the success of its leader. If Jarret makes little progress, his companions become disillusioned and begin to wander off on their own, if he succeeds in navigating the treacherous plateau he and his companions might just make it back home.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: isometric perspective landscape, with superb characters and animation
Sound: a bearable tune burbles along which can be toggled for some atmospheric spot effects
Options: redefinable keys

Where Time Stood Still is an ingenious concept perfectly executed. The 3-D environment creates an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere intensified by the realistic treatment of the plateau's natural hazards. Walk without care and you could be hurtling down the edge of the next precipice or sinking unexpectedly into the arms of a slithering, slimy squid. Each member of the expedition has his or her own clearly defined characteristics: little Gloria is far less delicate than she looks and fat Clive is always hungry. What makes this animated adventure so exciting is its element of unpredictability. You can take every possible precaution, but whether Dirk or Clive get carried away in the bony claws of a pterodactyl is still mostly a matter of luck. It's a pity that there's no save game option (a chance to behave totally recklessly without fear of the consequences) but I suppose in the quest to survive you only get one chance. Don't just stand there - go out and buy!
KATI [95%]

The first thing that strikes you about Where Time Stood Still is the detail in the 3-D landscape. This graphical quality is reminiscent of The Great Escape (also from Ocean). The scrolling is a bit sluggish at times but it's not surprising considering the amount of detail on the screen. There's a good in-game tune which becomes irritating after a while; fortunately it can be switched off in favour of sound effects. Where the game really scores highly is in the marvellous atmosphere it creates, totally absorbing the player in the action. The landscape is very large with many different features such as falling rocks, a swamp with a monster in it, and a waterfall. The various dinosaurs are well animated and quite scary when they suddenly appear to whisk off one of the characters. There are also some wonderful spear throwing natives and even a hand which pokes through a hole in the rocks to push you off the ledge. This is one of the most absorbing games ever - it's a classic!
PHIL [97%]

I haven't enjoyed playing a game so much for ages. Where Time Stood Still is an instantly playable, 3-D adventure that will keep you glued to your TV screen for months to come. All the graphics are detailed and clear with excellent backgrounds and well designed characters. As you progress through the game you find surprises around every corner (some not very pleasing ones either!) which makes the game even more addictive. The dinosaurs that roam around the landscape add an element of excitement and the cannibals will soon get you running! The use of menus to pick up and drop objects is a good idea as it stops the screen being cluttered up with useless information, but which menu does what is a little confusing at first. Just to give you an idea of how big the game is, it takes up 120K of my +3 - and that's big! If you buy Where Time Stood Still it will give you endless enjoyment for months to come.
NICK [92%]

Presentation: 93%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 95%
Addictive Qualities: 94%
Overall: 94%

Summary: General Rating: A thoroughly engrossing arcade adventure.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 32, Aug 1988   page(s) 32,33

Like the YS office at five to five on a Friday, time appears to have stopped in Ocean's latest 128K only, arcade adventure. We send aged... errrrm, ageless Rachael J Smith in search of living fossils. (Try Sinclair Abuser and Crush. Ed)

First they gave you The Great Escape but now those dinosaur hunters at Denton Designs deliver an even greater escape. It's just like some Saturday afternoon move where big lizards with stick-on rubber fins stand in for Stegosauri (classically educated reviewer), and muscular hunks spout lines like, "It's as if time stood still (gasp)." Well you'd be advised to look lively if you don't want to end up a dinosaur's dinner.

The lost plateau is not the ideal place to crash-land your four-seater plane, but it was all Jarrett could do to being his passengers to safety on the edge of a cliff. Now he's responsible for taking them out of this prehistoric hell-hole and only one thing is certain - it's going to be no picnic (the Thermos got broken in the crash).

And who are they, these four individuals, thrown together by fate? Jarret himself is the he-man all-rounder. Athletic Cambridge scholar Dirk was recently married to Gloria, a tough cookie in a fragile frame. And then there's Clive, an overweight businessman and Gloria's father, who's about to learn that American Express will not do nicely for a crowd of angry natives.

Each of these characters has their own uses, not the least of which is the ability to carry up to four objects, one of which is a bag which can hold a further four. Not that they're mere beasts of burden. Each one has their own character, which you'll need to exploit to bring everyone home to safety. For example, Dirk is a great help providing Gloria survives, but if she bites the dust he becomes a hopeless dork!

For such a vast and complex adventure, play is remarkably simple, with just four direction controls, plus fire to make the character run (must be that jungle food) - though this is hardly advisable if you're leading the group as you're likely to leave the rest behind. There are also two menus (Yum, yum. Phil) - one to select character and the other to control their inventory.

The graphics are everything you could ask and as imaginative as you'd expect from Denton, and the depth of the game is quite superb. My only grumble is that you can't save a game, which means you'll spend a lot of time repeating the early stages when you make a fatal mistake.

But all in all Where Time Stood Still looks destined to go down as a classic Spectrum game - and it's almost certainly the best that's been produced solely for the 128. More of this sort of thing, and the machine will have a whole new lease of life. So get into the realm of the dinosaurs - and find out how time flies when it stands still!

(Okay - so for once the YS Seal was so impressed with a game that it let us review a copy which still had a couple of days work to be done. Denton swears that it's working like Rentokil to iron out a couple of minor bugs - and based on past performance, we believe it. But rest assured, we'll be looking at the final release version and any alterations to the clapometer won't just mean a marking down in the mag, but the programmers will be up to their lower lips in dinosaur doodies!)

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Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Summary: A superb arcade adventure for 128k owners only. All the thrills of lost worlds and lands that time forgot in a true computer movie!

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 77, Aug 1988   page(s) 42,43

Label: Ocean
Author: Denton Designs
Price: £7.79, Disc £14.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

A million years in the making (it feels like), Where Time Stood Still has been well worth the wait. The pixies from Denton Designs have pulled out all the stops to make this a game as graphically stunning as it is challenging.

Weep and gnash your teeth, 48K owners, as you realise that the game runs only in 128K. Blub as you resolve yourself to never seeing the giant, fast-scrolling play area, never hearing the spiffy music and sound effects, never knowing the excitement working out how to get past the Tentacle of Doom on the secret causeway...

For this animated arcade adventure, so sophisticated that it's like watching a film than playing a computer game, is the best thing to hit the Spectrum since hot fudge sundaes. (Don't they gum up your sproggets? - GT). Descended from 3-D romps like Move, The Great Escape and Hewson's Pyracurse, Where Time Stood Still strikes an excellent balance between strategy, arcade action, cartoon-style adventure and gritty realism.

Out the skies plunges a crippled plane. Steel-jawed pilot Jarret manages to wrestle it to a crash-landing, but the plane is wrecked and its passengers stranded in a strange valley deep in the Himalayas. As the game opens you see your party of four standing by the wrecked plane. The landscape of rocks, trees and undergrowth is shown in glorious monochrome, and below the big pic are some simple displays; a small portrait the character you currently control, three bar graphs showing strength, food, ammunition and your score, a calendar, and a day/night display. As you play the game, you'll see the calendar flip; at night-time, the scenery turns a twilight blue.

Initially, you control the pilot Jarret. If he gets killed off, you can assume control industrialist; Gloria, his delicate daughter; or Dirk, Gloria's bit of stuff.

Pressing the space bar brings up a window which allows you to select the character you want to control, by moving a pointer over their portrait and pressing fire. You can pick up this menu and reposition it anywhere on the screen if it's obscuring the action. Further windows allow you to switch on off the funky game music; to pause; or to quit. Strangely, there isn't a game save.

The last window is the object handler. You'll want to salvage as much as you can from the wrecked plane; food, water and a rope are a good start. Just select the character you want to pick up and the object(s), all of which appear on the object menu; press fire over the object and move it to the upper part of the menu. When you want to use the object, you carry out the same process in reverse and click on the USE icon.

Once you start moving around you'll find that the background scrolls pleasingly quickly in all four directions. Press fire and you'll break into a run; stand still and press fire, and you fire your pistol. Initially, you control pilot Jarret and the other characters follow you around. You'll soon find, though, that the others have characters of their own. Gloria starts to flag quickly, and speech bubbles appear bearing messages like, "I'm tired," or, "I'm" hungry." It's best to stop for a rest and a bit of feed to restore your energy if this happens. You'll soon find, though, that hunger is the least of your problems. GASP! with horror as a giant pterodactyl swoops from the skies and snatches Gloria to her doom! SHAKE! with fear as the Tyrannosaurus-Rex chases you! QUAKE! with terror as the rickety rope bridge collapses beneath your very feet! Each of these challenges presents you with a test of your quick thinking, and some traps require even more skill. For instance, you can cross the monster-infested river by sticking to the lilypads, but you must keep moving or you sink. Step too near the edge and a horrid tentacle snatches you to a watery doom.

As you progress (making a map as you go, I'd suggest) you come across mountainous mazes hemmed in by lethal ravines, villages filled with spear-throwing natives, fast-running rivers, deadly mantraps and strange monsters. And that's only in the first five minutes.

If your leadership is bold and successful, the other characters will follow you faithfully. But dither or get lost, and the others will get fed up, and announce their intention to go off on their own. It's unlikely that they'll survive without help - but then, neither will you.

The great thing about Where Time Stood Still is that Denton have managed to include some stunningly sophisticated playing features, without making their usual mistake of concentrating more on the frills than on the game itself.

Cancel all plans for the next fortnight. Dash down to the shop. Pick up a copy of Where Time Stood Still. Buy a 128K Spectrum if you haven't already got one. Lock yourself in your room and prepare to play the most exciting game you've ever seen on the Spectrum.

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Graphics: 90%
Sound: 79%
Playability: 97%
Lastability: 95%
Overall: 96%

Summary: The most spectacular and enjoyable 3-D arcade adventure ever.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 12, Sep 1988   page(s) 57

Has Ocean's clock stopped?

Gloria, Dirk, Clive and Jarret have problems. How are they going to escape from the Himalayan plateau on which they've crash landed? You're the answer. You take charge of Jarret (initially) and it's down to you to lead the others to safety. To complicate matters, this particular part of Tibet hasn't evolved with the rest of the world but has remained in the age of Pterodactyls and cannibals.

The action's all in 3D and is viewed through a large window that occupies the majority of the screen. Below the window, three bars indicate your character's strength, hunger/thirst and ammunition levels. You start the game controlling Janet, and wherever you direct him, the others will follow - don't move too fast, though, as you could lose other members of your team. And unless found, lost members of the team will wander around and try to make their own way off the plateau - their chances of succeeding are then very slim.

Solving the game revolves around the careful use of objects found lying around the game area. These are picked up by accessing a sub-menu (which can be moved around the screen Apple Macintosh-style).

The objects on the ground are displayed as icons under other icons representing objects carried by the character. To pick up objects on the ground, simply move the pointer to the icon representing the object and then press fire. Your character will now, if possible, wander over to it and pick it up. All you need to do now is find a way of using the object correctly.

A good example of an object correctly used is when you come to cross the rope bridge (to the right of the crash site). Clive, who's overweight, manages to fall part-way through the floor of the bridge and cries for help. If you've managed to collect the rope earlier, you'll now be able to rescue Clive by electing to use the rope - get the picture?

Should you let Jarret get killed, don't panic - any of the others can take on the role of leader but your chances of survival are lessened.

Where Time Stood Stills an attractive game (similar in appearance to Ocean's The Great Escape) and one that's fun to play. Once you've started on the adventure and, after a few games, have figured out how to keep all your team alive for a while at least, you'll find it difficult to put down until you've completed it - which will take you a long time and give you a lot of fun. Once you have completed it though, it's doubtful you'll play it again.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Spec 128, £7.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now
C64/128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk, Imminent
Ams, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Imminent
Atari ST, £19.95dk, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 70/100
1 hour: 75/100
1 day: 75/100
1 week: 60/100
1 month: 50/100
1 year: 20/100

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Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 6/10
IQ Factor: 4/10
Fun Factor: 7/10
Ace Rating: 719/1000

Summary: A game you'll enjoy playing - until you complete it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 83, Sep 1988   page(s) 52

MACHINES: Spectrum 128, PC, ST
PRICE: Spec cass £7.95, disk £14.95, Others £19.95
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum 128

It's taken a long time, but that game with the boobs and the dinosaurs has finally landed on my desk. Better review it I suppose. Dum de dum, look at the inlay. Yawn, yet another 3-D filmation type of affair. Load it up. Beee, dip. Bee diddley dip. Usual good loading screen. Nice long wait. Quite a bit of code this, well it is 128K only.

Your plane has crash landed somewhere in the midst of Tibet, on a small uncharted island. It's four occupants are unharmed bu the plane is a write-off. Taking a look around they notice something strange. Something big and strange. Something big, strange and prehistoric. Something dinosaur-like.

You are in control of the four characters in the game, but obviously only one at a time, and can chop and change between them.

Jarret is the smooth, strong hunk of meat that you see on the inlay artwork. Pilot of the crashed plane, he is almost the perfect person to lead this band to safety.

Gloria, who is the stunning sexpot, also on the inlay, is a newlywed who, despite being a girlie, is one of the strongest members of the group, will wise, and is one of the last to complain about petty little things like falling off cliffs and being hit by boulders. Her husband Dirk is, well, Dirk. You can't really say much about him, apart from the fact that he's a bit of a weed and is always ready for a good moan. Clive, Gloria's dad is a rich, obese lump, and I find great delight in trying to get him to cross the rope bridge near the start of the game.

Oh, it's loaded. So, what have we got here. $&£"ng hell! This is berrilliant. This is the game your 128 was made for. This is fantastic. Oh, I'm dead. This is difficult!

An 8-directional filmation scroller, it's not hard to see why it couldn't fit on a 48K job. The playing area is massive, and all beautifully detailed. Huge mountain ranges bar your way in one direction, with an almost mazelike series of pathways between them. A river cuts across the middle of the island, and ends in a glorious waterfall. Check the screenshot and you'll see what I mean. Walk across the tops of the thick growth within the water, avoiding the tentacled things that lurk within, and you come to the natives. This is where the objects that are scattered about come in.

The objects are manipulated using a little window that you call up with the space bar. In the window are little portraits of the four characters, their current status (alive or dead) and things like a quit and pause option. Move your little arrow to a specific picture of a person, and another window will appear telling you what they are carrying and what items are nearby.

What makes this game so hard is the things like natives, dinosaurs, stegosauruses, and pterodactyls.

Everything else just trys to run you over, except the natives, who try to rape you, at least that's what it looks like. All you have to fight back with is a puny little gun.

The game is entirely monochromatic but this doesn't. In fact, if this game was in full Spectrum-O-Colour, I can visualise it being a bit of a mess.

Very easy to use and very attractive to look at, WTSS is yet another notch on Ocean's belt of good reputation. Congrats to Denton Designs on an excellent game.

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Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 6/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 9, Aug 1988   page(s) 45

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.95, Diskette: £14.95


It used to seem time would never stand still for Denton Designs - they've been one of the most imaginative and successful programming teams in the Spectrum's history. And for years they kept surprising us with Gift Of The Gods, with the first major icon-driven arcade adventure -Shadowfire - and with the ebulliently bizarre Frankie Goes To Hollywood. But we've had to wait almost two years for this Spectrum 128K-only game, which picks up stylistically where the team's 1986 The Great Escape left off.

The adventure begins with a plane crash on a remote, Himalayan plateau hundreds of stormblown kilometres from the aircraft's flight plan. The crash destroys the plane - but miraculously leaves passengers and pilot unharmed. As the stunned survivors mill around the wreckage, the pilot, Jarret, takes command. His marooned fellow companions are not natural survivors; Clive is wealthy and overweight while his daughter and her fiance Dirk also appear used to the easy life. Jarret has his work cut out if he is to successfully return his entourage to the relative safety of civilisation.


Presented in scrolling, isometric perspective, Where Time Stood Still is monochrome but has numerous features - a bridge, a native village and waterfalls, for example - so perfectly detailed that colour would be just a distraction (even the ST version will be monochrome). At the bottom of the screen the group's strength, health and ammunition are displayed as bars. Each character has an individual inventory, selected from the group menu, and can be ordered to walk over and pick up nearby objects. If one character should 'use' the food or drink carried, the group collectively benefits. Similarly the number of points scored depends on how many characters remain in your party.

Normally you have full joystick control over Jarret, but care should be taken not to set too fast a pace or others may be left behind. Alternatively if you do nothing they might wander off on their own.

Should Jarret die, you are given the choice of remaining characters to control. If they are still together whoever you pick will be leader, if not you have to go it alone. Dangers to watch out for include pterodactyls that carry off people to their deaths, a swamp monster and rock falls. Most dangers are announced with a snatch of ominous music, giving at least some chance to respond. Fortunately each team member has a gun, but care should be taken not to act recklessly.

The lack of a game-saving function can mean too much repetitive retracing of your path, but by holding down FIRE you can make the survivors run a lot faster - albeit at the cost of a greater energy drain. And with so many different things to be discovered, from mysterious temples to pygmy natives, this is one game you simply won't be able to give up on.

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Overall: 95%

Summary: An instant classic on the Spectrum - the game's great wealth of graphic detail is suggestive of a black-and-white movie. As a 128K-only release this has predictably good sound, including a nice tune which can be turned off, and excellent spot FX. Where Time Stood Still is a great game which sets the standard for other 'movie' software to follow.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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