I never played any of the original Landers games, so I'll leave Ben to speak on the merits of this RPG as it pertains to its Landers lineage. What I can talk about is Time Stalkers as an RPG, and more specifically, a Dreamcast RPG. It's obvious that the Dreamcast needs RPGs, but it's really telling when even Sega can't get its hand on one that is really worthwhile. So far, Ubi Soft's Evolution takes top honors, and with all due respect, that is one game that would never make gamers forget about the Final Fantasys and Legend of Zeldas in the marketplace.
I am in agreement with Ben on all of the bad points of the game. I especially agree when it comes to the character designs. They maintain a particularly primitive appearance throughout the game, which is only compounded by the high-resolution backgrounds and close-up scenes. I also agree that they don't interact well with their environments at all, resulting in a shoddy overall appearance. However, I did find some other bad points while playing. The camera system in Time Stalkers proves to be a sticking point for me as it varies from annoying to vexing. It constantly pans and zooms as you move across the landscapes, and remains under the computer's control at all times. If I were to go behind a building, wanting a better view of what was there, I was out of luck. Also, the constant motion got in the way of simple navigation. Sometimes the camera would zoom in really close, but at such a weird angle that when it finally zoomed out again, I found that I was heading in the totally opposite direction of where I wanted to go. The camera is also problematic during dungeon battles. It would zoom out to capture all the enemies and heroes on screen, but in doing so it would sometimes position itself behind a wall or column, obscuring my view. Curiously, during the exploration of the dungeon corridors, the camera can be rotated manually to aid in navigation through the winding labyrinths, but that is about the extent of the control given to users.
I would say that the story was Time Stalkers saving grace. As paper-thin and cliché as the characters in the game appear to be, I began to enjoy the overall premise about an hour into the game and that held my interest long enough to balance out the bad. But that aside, there really isn't much in Time Stalkers that hasn't been done elsewhere, or for that matter, done better.
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