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Titanic: Adventure Out of Time

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time is a video game for the personal computer. It was developed by Cyberflix and was published in Europe and the United States by Europress and GTE Entertainment respectively, released on October 31, 1996. The game is a point and click adventure game which sees the player traveling around a virtual representation of the RMS Titanic.

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time comes in three versions: a PC, Macintosh, or hybrid version that works on both the PC and Mac. Version 1.0 of the game is an upgrade of the game from GTE Entertainment to just Cyberflix and is a stability upgrade first released in 1997. It comes in either a threefold CD jacket or a jewel case version. The French and German version of the game comes in two paper sleeves. The Mac and Windows versions were released first, produced by Cyberflix and distributed by GTE Entertainment in 1996. Hybrid versions of the game, which are compatible with both the Mac and Windows operating systems, were distributed and produced by Cyberflix after GTE Entertainment went out of business in 1997. Later versions were distributed by Hammerhead Entertainment, who took over production after Cyberflix also went out of business in 1998. The game is available in five languages: English, French, German, Dutch, Polish and Korean.

Summary

The game begins in April 1942 with the player (named Frank Carlson) being caught in an air raid during the London Blitz of World War II and being sent back in time to 1912 with an opportunity to change history. In 1912, he is a British secret agent on the RMS Titanic, who is told to retrieve a priceless copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The open-ended gameplay allows the player to either follow the storyline by solving puzzles or simply explore the rooms of the ship.

The main plot of the adventure game revolves around recovering the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is revealed to have been stolen earlier in the year and is now suspected of being in the possession of Zeitel, a German Oberst (Colonel) who is traveling on the Titanic under the guise of inspecting embassies in the United States and Central America. Along with the Colonel is his young protegé named Willie Von Haderlitz. Through a web of intrigue, it is revealed that the Colonel has made a deal with an art dealer named Sasha Barbicon to exchange the Rubaiyat for a rare painting. The Colonel and Barbicon act through an intermediary go-between, a Serbian stowaway named Vlad Demonic.

In addition to the Rubaiyat and the painting, the agent soon learns that Willie is in fact a spy for the Russians and has in his possession a notebook with names of top Bolsheviks. The notebook is to be handed over to the Okrana so that the Communist rebels will be executed, eliminating a threat to the Czar.

A final item that appears in the game, the acquisition of which is critical, is a rare diamond necklace that Sasha has stolen to pay Vlad for his services and also to finance a Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand. Vlad’s involvement with the Black Hand sets the stage for the events on the Titanic directly impacting whether or not the Black Hand will assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, thus sparking the start of World War I.

During his mission, the agent also becomes involved in several sub-plots unrelated to the central mission or, for that matter, the winning conditions of the game. One important sub-plot begins by meeting the ship’s “gossip hound”, in the form of a wealthy middle-aged spinster named Daisy Cashmore. Cashmore gives the player a note to meet Andrew Conkling, the owner of Conkling Steel. Conkling tells the player to recover a business document of his that had been stolen by Shailagh Hacker, a maid in his London house.

Other plots include meeting and helping a wealthy couple (the Lambeths) whose marriage has gone bad, as well as meeting other passengers such as Leyland Sachum Trask, a psychic from Boston; Reverend Edgar Troutt, a religious preacher from Sunapee, New Hampshire who is returning from an African mission in Nyasaland; and Max Seidelman, an American freelance businessman from Philadelphia, who provide backstory and insight of varying value. Assisting the player from time to time is fellow agent Penny Pringle.

The number of objects the player recovers before escaping the ship affects the final cut scene and how history plays out. If the player obtains all the objects, history is altered with World War I, the Russian Revolution, and World War II never occurring; the character retires after a successful career to a world of peace. If the player fails to collect them or dies while escaping, history occurs as normal and the player dies in the London Blitz. Other endings (based on variations of objects collected) include Germany beginning WWII with a full nuclear arsenal (the character is killed in a nuclear attack), Germany conquering Russia and England due to the Communists having been stopped (the character is killed by a Nazi Stormtrooper), and the Soviet Union claiming much of Europe (the character is shot by a Russian Shock Trooper).

Characters

Frank Carlson - Carlson is a redundant British secret agent living in a tiny London flat, surrounded by the painful memories of his failed mission on board the Titanic. An exploding bomb suddenly propels him back in time. He has been placed upon the maiden voyage of the Titanic for enemy reconnaissance and to intercept a number of artifacts that have far more importance to the history of the modern world than they first appear. It is also interesting to note that there actually was a passenger on the ship named Frans Carlsson, however he was Swedish, and went down with the ship.

Penny Pringle - A fellow English agent of Carlson who is responsible for initiating his mission and providing helpful advice and directions. Manages to escape the sinking ship in one of the first lifeboats.

Colonel E.E. Zeitel - This German Colonel can be considered the main villain of the game. He is now working for the German government. Pretending to be on an embassy inspection, Colonel Zeitel is, in fact, traveling on board the Titanic to exchange two valuable artifacts, a painting created by the then unknown Adolf Hitler and a notebook which lists every suspected Communist in the upper echelons of the German government.

Willie von Haderlitz - Colonel Zeitel's Austrian protégé, Willie von Haderlitz is a junior professor at the University of Vienna in Austria-Hungary. However, it is later revealed that he is in fact a spy for the Czar, suggested after Willie gives Carlson a ring with Russian characters engraved on its inner band. Willie invites Carlson to a fencing match which takes place in the Titanic's squash court. After the match, Willie makes an ironic statement and informs Carlson that the Titanic is nearing the Grand Banks and that the ancient Vikings thought that part of the Atlantic Ocean was cursed. He is later found dead in the electric bath (located in the Turkish bath), presumedly murdered by Zeitel after he realizes that Willie is a spy and is not loyal to Germany.

Sasha Barbicon - Sasha Barbicon is an English/Serb art dealer who "isn't above selling stolen merchandise". Sasha's uses his wealth and art gallery in London as a front for meetings of sympathizers for the Black Hand. He is working alongside Colonel Zeitel. During the sinking, he is killed by Vlad for not being loyal to Serbia and the Black Hand cause.

Vlad Demonic - A Serbian stowaway on board the Titanic, Vlad has vowed revenge against the Austrians for the murder of his family. He is in the pay of Sasha Barbicon. Vlad is later revealed to be a member of the Serbian organization the Black Hand.

Andrew Conkling - Andrew Conkling is the American owner of the fictional business Conkling Steel, who provided the metal used in the Titanic, which was later revealed to be high in sulfur. He is shot by Officer Morrow trying to buy his way into a lifeboat.

Beatrix Conkling - Beatrix Conkling is an American and the wife of Andrew Conkling. She is an interior designer on her way to Los Angeles to help design the interior decorations of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Beatrix is revaled to be unable to conceive children of her own so she chooses to steal her maid Shailagh Hacker's newborn son, Eddie.

Shailagh Hacker - Shailagh Hacker is the Irish maid of Andrew and Beatrix Conkling, and the mother of Mr. Conkling's newborn son, Eddie. Both she and her baby survive the sinking.

Jack Hacker - Jack Hacker is a third class Irish passenger and brother of Shailagh Hacker. He leaves in the final lifeboat, despite having admitted shortly before that he had given up hope of escaping.

Lady Georgia Lambeth - An English lady and former lover of Carlson of five years previous. She is eventually poisoned by Colonel Zeitel, who is trying to blackmail Carlson into handing over the painting that includes secret plans for the British army. Carlson is left with the choice of handing over the painting to Zeitel in return for an antidote, or to keep the painting and let Lady Georgia die.

Lord Charles Lambeth - Englishman Lord Charles Lambeth is the arrogant, elitist, aristocratic and estranged husband of Lady Georgia. He is in debt with Andrew Conkling after borrowing money which he is unable to pay back. He decides to die like a gentleman.

Third Officer Morrow - Morrow is a British veteran of the Second Boer War and an officer on duty on the night of the sinking.

Daisy Cashmore - Daisy Cashmore is a wealthy British spinster and an old friend of Carlson's. She loves to talk gossip and usually cuts Carlson off as soon as she spots another passenger she wishes to gossip with. She dies for being too stubborn on who she should ride with in the lifeboats.

Ribeena & Henry Gorse-Jones - A wealthy elderly couple from Haltwhistle, England. They provide comic relief by constantly nagging at one another whenever Carlson encounters them in the game. They escape on a lifeboat during the sinking, offering Carlson the chance to escape with them.

Eric Burns - Eric Burns is an American photographer on his honeymoon on board the Titanic with his newlywed, Stephanie, who is upset at him not spending much time with her. He has a vast collection of photographs of other passengers.

Stephanie Burns - Though the player cannot engage in conversation with Stephanie Burns, she is a recurring character in the game. She is angry at her new husband for not spending enough time with her on their honeymoon.

Leyland Sachum Trask - An American psychic from Boston, Massachusetts. He occasionally provides hints and foreshadowing future storyline developments. He decides to remain on the ship and die.

Max Seidelman - Max Seidelman is an American gambler, smoker, and friend to Carlson. Seidelman is a buyer for Haymakers Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he resides. He is very outgoing and gregarious. Carlson meets Seidelman on the night of the sinking where he suggests to Carlson to play blackjack with Buick Riviera. He does not survive the sinking.

Claris Limehouse - A young American woman, who travels first class on the Titanic. Willie von Haderlitz apprently befriends her and the two begin a romance while aboard the Titanic.

Reverend Edgar Troutt - Edgar Troutt is an American minister returning from a religious mission in Nyasaland to Sunapee, New Hampshire, where he and his late wife, Emily, lived. Troutt tells Carlson that Emily apparently contracted intestinal parasites on the way back from Africa and died as soon as they reached Port Said.

The Purser - The Purser provides the player with assistance and can keep valuable items safe. His office is closed after the Titanic hits the iceberg and he is not seen after this.

The Lift Attendant - The Lift Attendant operates the lift in the Grand Staircase and can provide the player with detailed directions to any part of the ship. The lifts are shut down when the Titanic hits the iceberg and the attendant is not seen after this.

John Smethells - The straight-laced prim and proper John Smethells, or just "Smethells", is Carlson's steward. He can provide general assistance throughout the game and can direct the player to his next objective on occasion. He is not seen after the Titanic collides with the iceberg.

Buick Riviera - A middle aged French man from somewhere in the French Riviera. He is a Blackjack aficionado who apparently spends a lot of time at Monte Carlo Casino before he boarded the Titanic for America. Upon meeting the player, Buick asks Carlson if they have already met at the casino in Diamondback, New Mexico. Buick talks fondly of his time there. (This was done in reference to an earlier CyberFlix game Dust: A Tale of the Wired West) Throughout the game, he is playing cards in the smoking room, and does not leave even when the ship begins to sink.

Ship's tour

Besides the game, the CD-ROM also included a separate exploration feature that featured characters in the game discussing various aspects of the ship, its crew, and the sinking. These characters would be placed at locations around the ship. Three character narrations were included with the game, while others could be downloaded from the game's website (a later reissue of the game included a bonus CD-ROM with these downloadable narrations). They were later available for download on the website of Cyberflix's successor (Barracuda). Unfortunately, the guides are now gone, and no sites available today seem to offer any information on where to download them from active mirrors. The tour guides can be downloaded via torrents, but this involves getting the entire game in the package. A powerful program like Daemon Tools is needed if the game is to be played in this manner.

It appears, however, that many (if not all) of the guides can still be found on the archive of Barracuda's former website.

Music

Throughout the story, Chopin's Preludes Op. 28 No. 7 provides a haunting ambiance to the game. Some other tracks used throughout the game (as well as the intro) were written by Scott Scheinbaum and Erik Holt. They were later available on the website of Cyberflix's successor Barracuda, and can still be found on this page's archive

Connection with Dust: A Tale of the Wired West

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time is linked in some ways to another Cyberflix game, Dust.

  • "Buick Riviera." In Dust, Riviera is a con artist in a remote town in the Old West who keeps borrowing money from the player; in Titanic, Riviera is now a middle-aged man who spends his time playing blackjack on the doomed ship. If the player indicates having been to Diamondback, New Mexico (the setting of Dust), by saying, "Yes, we met at the Hard Drive Saloon". Riviera thereafter uses a special deck of cards marked with the logo of the saloon from Diamondback for the blackjack game.
  • The actor who plays the photographer Eric Burns (Erik S. Quist) also appears in Dust as a farmer.
  • When talking with Haderlitz in the squash court while fencing, he mentions he is headed to study the Yunni Indian tribe in New Mexico, the setting of Dust.
  • If you go to the dressing table in the Turkish bath (where there is a message written in steam) there are boxes for three Cyberfix computer games, Dust, Skull Cracker, and Jump Raven.
  • A special feature of the game provides previews to three Cyberflix games. Dust, Skull Cracker, and Red Jack's Revenge.

External links

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