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Gage, your theme music is lovely, but don't you think it's time we did a little something for the kiddies?
The Journeyman Project is a First Person Science FictionAdventure Game series, notable as one of the first and last franchises to make substantial use of full-motion video, as one of the first games to be released in a hybrid format that could be played both on Macs and PCs, as one of the first games to be released on DVD, and for the dubious honor of having the first game in the series three times.The Journeyman Project opens some several centuries on in one of Earth's floating cities, on the very day scheduled for first diplomatic contact with a friendly alien species. (They had wisely chosen to make an appointment ten years in advance to give humanity a collective chance to get used to the idea first.)Coincidentally, mankind discovered the secret of Time Travel a little while ago. Thus far, it has never been used for any purpose, and the existence of a working "Pegasus" time machine is a guarded secret. The Temporal Protectorate was founded to constantly monitor history, prepared to use the time machine in the unlikely event that anyone else ever discovered the secret and tried to set history wrong.Our hero, known at this point as "Agent 5", is the Temporal Protectorate agent on duty when, for the first time in history, such an event takes place. As Agent 5, the player travels to four periods in Earth's (future) history, undoing the damage caused by three evil robots, sent back to nudge Earth's history onto a just slightly more militaristic and less alien-friendly track.Along the way, he discovers the mastermind behind this interference, Elliot Sinclair, inventor of the Pegasus time machine and, as it turns out, rabid xenophobe. Agent 5 stops the half-deranged Sinclair before he can assassinate the alien ambassador, ushering in a new age of interstellar peace.The original The Journeyman Project suffered from some severe technical flaws, which were corrected for its rerelease as The Journeyman Project Turbo! Later, the game was remade for the Power PC and Playstation with even more technical improvements and more live action as Pegasus Prime. The Pegasus Prime release is now available for Mac and PC, from GOG.com.Agent 5 became a hero, his story became the basis for a popular holo-movie, and he received his own action figure. Needless to say, he was a bit surprised when, the very next day, his future self, now given the name "Gage Blackwood", materialized in his apartment, recruiting him to help clear his own name, as he's been accused of historical thievery. In The Journeyman Project II: Buried in Time, Gage uses an advanced time suit from ten years in his own future to search for clues in precolonial Chichen Itza, a French castle during the Hundred Years' War, Leonardo Da Vinci's workshop and a damaged space station. On this journey, Gage is soon joined by "Arthur", a wisecracking AI sidekick, who offers hints and color-commentary. He eventually discovers that his counterpart has been framed in order to cover up a plot by rogue agent Michelle Visard to secretly pass information on time travel to an alien race, having decided that humanity can not be trusted as sole keepers of the technology. Whether or not they can, Arthur sacrifices himself to strand her in another time, while Gage discovers that her alien contacts really just want time travel technology to enslave the universe, and puts a stop to that.The first two games shared the mechanic of the "biochip interface", by which the player could find microchips which offered new abilities to his time travel suit. They also placed an emphasis on nonviolent solutions, awarding a "Gandhi bonus" for completing each mission without acts of violence.The final game in the series, The Journeyman Project III: Legacy of Time, was released on DVD to accommodate high-resolution video, and follows the adventures of the future Blackwood. The Temporal Protectorate faces closure in the wake of the previous game. Blackwood, depressed over the "death" of Arthur — and his own inability to remember the AI, his younger self's memories having been wiped — is forced to don an experimental "Chameleon" suit when a massive temporal disruption is detected. Traveling back to the ancient Aegean, he discovers the rogue agent's discarded time-suit, with an intact Arthur inside. He soon discovers that his location is Atlantis, just after its destruction by warring alien fleets, and while tracking down the rogue agent, he also discovers Atlantis' sole survivor: Elliot Sinclair.Gage captures the agent at the bedside of the embittered, dying Sinclair, whose natural lifespan had been greatly increased by an alien artifact housed at Atlantis. Meanwhile, a mysterious alien battlefleet is heading for Earth. Discovering that three times in Earth's history, ancient cities had been destroyed by the battle between these aliens and those with whom Earth had allied in the first game, Gage is sent back to Atlantis, El Dorado, and Shangri-La, just hours before their destruction, to recover an ancient alien artifact containing the secrets of a long-gone ancestor race who had mastered time travel.Plans were begun for a fourth game, but were quickly scrapped as Red Orb Software, which had bought the series, were absorbed by Brøderbund.
These games provides examples of:
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. In his initial appearance Arthur the AI has been corrupted by its creator and cries unearthly threats against any intruder from his space station tomb...but it's a complete aversion: Arthur was corrupted by his maker's love of twentieth-century media, and the scary noises were a ploy lifted from Scooby-Doo to scare off a time-travelling thief, who turns out to be the rogue agent that was there prior to Gage's arrival. From the moment he meets Agent 5 the two become great friends, and Arthur even proves willing to sacrifice his own existence to save our hero.
A God I Am: If Gage walks down from the temple in the second game, the natives worship him as they know that no one was up there and you appeared in a flash of light. While you don't necessarily die, it still ends the game.
Ancient Astronauts: Both good ones and bad ones. The good ones helped advance the civilisations of Atlantis, Shangri-La, and El Dorado through artifacts powered by alien technology, and the bad ones blew up all three civilisations while fighting each other for the artifacts.
Anti-Villain: Elliot Sinclair tries to sabotage Earth's interaction with alien species not out of xenophobia, but because these same aliens were responsible for the destruction of his homeland millennia ago.
He's still ultimately in the wrong, and even comes to acknowledge this at the end of his life, but his motives were reasonable.
The rogue agent in the second game is trying to reveal the secrets of time travel due to believing that something so powerful should not belong to just one faction.
The last character Gage meets in Buried in Time is Ambassador Icarus of the Krynn, who wants to steal Gage's jumpsuit so that his people could use Time Travel to become greater. He apologizes, because he knows transporting it off of Gage will kill him in the aquatic environment the Krynn live in.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Journeyman Project Turbo! tries to apply accents for some of its voices in the Mars Colony and the World Science Center.
Pegasus Prime, while it corrected all its computer voices to normal human speed, the World Science Center shows two scientists with even worse foreign accents.
Bad Future: Or Bad Present, but since the Present is the Future — Anyway, this is inferred through news items in the altered timeline in the first game, and accidentally creating a Bad Future is a concern for the villain who's merely trying to make society xenophobic enough to reject the offer of joining The Federation
Pegasus Prime expands upon this, as Agent 5 must navigate a more militaristic version of the Temporal Protectorate between traveling to the past to set things back on track.
Benevolent Alien Invasion: They announce that they're coming ten years ahead of time to give humanity time to get used to the idea, saying that they intend to arrive to start diplomatic negotiations.
Benevolent Precursors: The Sosiqui chose to depart the region of space now governed by the Symbiotry but, knowing their presence would leave marks on younger races, chose to leave behind an artifact containing their collected knowledge. Of all the races, they chose humanity as they saw them as the best guardians of their legacy.
Big NO: Gage utters this when dropping into the caves at Chichen Itza in the second game. He'll also do this in Pegasus Prime if you fall off the cliff to get the historical log
Bilingual Bonus: On the Morimoto Mars Colony in Pegasus Prime, you pass by a welcome video that's played in Japanese, Spanish, and English.
Border Patrol: In general, wandering out of bounds in the first two games will cause you to be spotted and captured/killed. Either way, it results in a game over.
Similarly, Arthur in the second game says of a Locked Door: "I got a feeling that the room behind this door was never modeled or rendered".
He also pushes it further in another timezone where you're unable to reach a visible part of the map, "Oh, you don't want to over go there; if they'd let you go everywhere, Presto would have never finished the game."
Poseidon also jabs at it a little in the first game just after Gage foils his missile launch objective.
Poseidon: What do you think this is, human? A GAME?!
Brick Joke: In the first game when you get to the elevator for the first time, it takes someone else to the roof before coming to get you. The roof is where you locate Sinclair at the end of the game.
Made much more blatant in the Pegasus Prime version, as you're able to catch a very brief glimpse of him through the elevator doors.
Break Out the Museum Piece: Averted. Gage suggests reactivating the Pegasus at the start of the third game, only for the idea to get shot down because the machine had been shelved for years and would take too long to get it working again.
Changed My Jumper: Due to the mystery time traveler's tampering with the jump coordinates, Agent 5 is spotted several times in Chateau Gaillard in the second game. Fortunately for history, they all mistake his futuristic jumpsuit for a knight's armor. Unfortunately for Agent 5, they all mistake him for an enemy knight and try to kill him.
Chekhov's Gun: Due to time travel, several characters actually use and weaponize it.
Copy Protection: The first game asks you to look up codes in the manual on three occasions in order to continue.
Crazy-Prepared: Let's start with having a CD full of historical data in the Jurassic Era in case of a History Rewrite and go from there. Also the TSA has entire protocols, reroutes, and security measures in case of a History Rewrite and if the people in the rewrite don't want to fix the past.
Cross-Cultural Handshake: Dr. Enrique Castillo shakes hands with the Cyrollan ambassador After you've fixed history, that is. The endgame picture even shows it happening through a telescope.
Cutting the Knot: In Buried in Time you have to go through hell and back solving the puzzles to gather the evidence. Agent 3? She has a matter replicator which just makes the items you worked so hard to get.
Death World: Norad VI, which has been flooded with poison gas, requiring you to bring a breathing apparatus. Same with the Mars Maze, where there's no life support, and the Shield Generator, where you get irradiated to death if you take too long to solve the Mastermind puzzle.
Delayed Ripple Effect: The Temporal Security Agency has machines specifically designed to calculate how much time is left before the temporal distortion reaches the present and overwrites it. Waiting too long to go back in time in the first game (or skipping work entirely) will result in Agent 5 being uncreated as apparently he was never born in the new timeline. The trope is expanded in the second game, wherein it is explained that some minor historical alterations wouldn't even reach the present, allowing Agents to get away with mundane mistakes like spilling water or disturbing a spiderweb. The opposite extreme is demonstrated in the third game where the tech guy points out that the temporal distortion that kicks off the story is amplifying itself by setting off a chain reaction of bigger and bigger changes (Presumably the Cyrollans would've found the time travel suit in Atlantis, which would've seriously upset the history of the entire galaxy).
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the second game the translator biochip is advertised as instantly translating the written and "spoken" forms of any language. That means you can turn it on, then listen to the alien transporters saying what they're configured for. Save first, of course.
Another similar example occurs when the guards at the top of the castle tower in Chateau Gaillard attempt to intercept you after you climb your way into the tower. Failing to cloak yourself in time will result in a game over, but you will actually get one of two different possible scenes to play out depending on whether or not you have your translator biochip active. Same thing with two other guards in the castle hallways.
In Pegasus Prime, after you get the power crowbar, you can whack Ares with it after he tells you to move. But nothing happens, and if you do it too many times or don't move the right way, he'll grab you and shoot you to death with his plasma gatling gun.
Durable Death Trap: Averted. The mechanisms used for the 3 trials in Chichen Itza are operated in the time period they were made.
Early-Bird Cameo: If you're quick with your eyes(or just save prior to the moment in question). When you open a certain door in a certain time period, you see the Agent who framed you. Their back is turned, but before you can move in they detect you and turn halfway, spotting you, and beating a hasty Time Jump Exit. If you were quick enough, you'd be able to make out roughly half of the number emblazoned on the front of their helm, thus easily narrowing the possible culprits to two individuals within the TSA. Specifically, it can be either Agent 3 or Agent 8.
Easter Egg: Too numerous to list, but primarily occur in the third game, frequently by holding the 'E' key before activating certain items.
Evidence Scavenger Hunt: In the second game. Oops! You've been framed for a time crime you didn't commit! Time to start looking for clues.
Fan of the Past: Arthur is replete with jokes that are topical to the time the games were made. Justified since Dr. Farnstien states in his recording that he had an obsession with "20th-century media".
Gage lampshades this at the end of the third game, having no idea what Arthur is talking about.
Foreshadowing: Gage has a peaceful-looking dream of flying through Caldoria at the start of the first game, but a sudden explosion in the dream and his alarm clock wake him up. If you fail to disarm Sinclair's nuke at the end of Pegasus Prime, this dream swiftly becomes reality.
Friendly Enemy: Michelle. They are co-workers, play gravball together and make friendly bets, she asks to borrow his environ system (like a TV/DVD player), and according to the news stories, she was to be a character witness and defend him at his trial. Justified, in that Michelle bears Gage no ill will at all, she just believes in the righteous of her cause, and only mindwipes Gage because, due to Time Travel, if Michelle was discovered, everything she did could be undone.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: Every robot in the first game has a single cycloptic visual sensor on its head. In Pegasus Prime, there's one point where Gage scans Mercury from long distance, after he transformed into a complete human, clothes and all. The scan shows that his eyes are blood red.
Have a Nice Death: "Well, at least you weren't eaten by a grue!" (when Gage gets run over by the maintenance trolley on Mars)
Heroic Mute: Oddly enough played straight AND averted. The player never says anything while under your control. However, your future self does a lot of talking. In the third game, Gage talks plenty during the FMV cutscenes.
Heroic Sacrifice: In the second game, while he doesn't actually die, Arthur willingly changes himself into a virus and infects the rogue Agent 3's suit in order to save Gage from her clutches, whisking them both away into the time stream. Arthur is not heard from again for the rest of the game, and the player must navigate through the remainder of the game on their own. At the start of the third game, prior to him reuniting with Arthur, Gage is seen to be visibly distraught over the event and his own inability to recall it as a result of his mindwiping at the end of the second game.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Sinclair in the first game. To stop him in the present from enacting the final failsafe of his plan, you need to get through a locked door now, and you don't have the access card. Sinclair himself gave you the way in, though, in the form of the access card bomb he tried to use to sabotage the Mars colony.
Holographic Disguise: The Chameleon Jumpsuit allows you to appear like any person you come in contact with. It is only able to assume guises that were obtained in the current time zone, however.
Humans Are Bastards: At least Michelle/Agent 3 thinks so. In her defense she had to look at the worst humanity has ever been. She had to walk in the Nazi Death camps and other atrocities as part of her research missions.
Humans Are Special: The supposedly utopian Cyrollans are rejected as worthy keepers of the Sosiqui Legacy. Humanity gets picked instead.
Important Haircut: Sort of. The talking head in the first game that briefs Agent 5 on the three events in history that will be changed wears a different hairstyle after the temporal distortion as a quick visual cue that history has been altered. She also speaks in military time versus civilian time, justifying the militaristic Bad Future that was created.
In-Game TV: At Future!Gage's pad in Buried In Time. You have to watch it on Hard Mode to get some of the biochips and puzzle items.
Enforced by Arthur if you attempt to meet up with him again in Farnstein's Lab after having already acquired him. He does not want to meet himself to the point of forcibly jumping you out of there.
Nintendo Hard: In all three games, the fact that you need often obscure items from multiple time zones in each game can make things incredibly frustrating. Especially when you have to change discs every time...
Nothing Is Scarier: The Mars maze. Besides having a time limit, the music slows down, and then fades out, replaced with a heartbeat and heavy breathing. All the while, you're trying to find your way through a series of corridors before running out of oxygen. There's no threat but the time limit, but it's still deeply unsettling. The Pegasus Prime version ramps up the difficulty by adding robots that can kill you, and some doors that you don't know are locked until you bump into them.
Not So Different: The Cyrollans and the Quotholas in the third game. By the finale it is even revealed that the monstrous Quotholas are actually of a similar species to the Cyrollans, wearing gigantic biosuits. Both species are rejected as worthy candidates for inheriting the Legacy.
Interestingly, Ban Dai was behind the Japanese release of Buried in Time.
Red Herring: Buried in Time has a few suspects that fit some but not all of the evidence you acquire. Agent 8, in particular, has half his agent ID matching the footprint you find and the font of his agent number makes it identical to the rogue time traveler when viewed from the side. The news articles on the Symbiotry aliens also offer multiple species with obvious motives for wanting to steal time travel technology.
Same thing happens if you go anywhere other than TSA with the Global Transporter.
Ripple Effect Indicator: Literally. The Temporal Security Agency is equipped with machines that constantly monitor the past for changes. When something is changed, they even calculate the amount of time left until the Delayed Ripple Effect reaches the present.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Agent 5 would have a hard time doing his job if this wasn't in effect. The rule in this universe is that travelling back in time before the ripple effect reaches the present renders the time traveller immune to all negative effects of casuality. They can even return to the now-altered present safe and sound, which is a necessity in the first game wherein the Time Police can only identify changes in history by comparing a record of altered history with a backup copy containing unaltered history safeguarded millions of years in the past.
Really 700 Years Old: Actually, make that a couple thousand years old. Elliot Sinclair managed to extend his lifespan by drinking water altered by alien technology. He was born in Atlantis, and has good reason for his grudge against the aliens in the first game.
San Dimas Time: Mostly averted, as the protagonist is a time traveler, but more time than is strictly necessary seems to pass in between acquiring the relics in the third game.
This could be justified by the fact that a temporal recall in all of the games returns Agent 5 to the exact time he left, so from the perspective of outsiders, Gage could have left and come back in just a matter of seconds.
Shown Their Work: Arthur's exposition in the second and third game are very much this, providing volumes of historical context for each time period visited.
Songs in the Key of Panic: Take too long getting through the Mars maze, and the music will begin to slow down, then fade out, replaced by a pulsating heartbeat and desperate breathing.
Spinning Paper: And this version's not only holographic, but has animated pictures and audio narration to boot! Humorously enough, it shows up if you use the toilet in Pegasus Prime.
Stable Time Loop: All over the place, as time travel in this series works not so much as changing what happened in the past, but by making a Stable Time Loop come into effect: a temporal distortion wave only comes into effect when something happens in the past that is supposed to be corrected by another time traveller, explaining how Gage can run around interacting with the past(even its people, in the third game), but doesn't actually change history, as he's expected to do so. Conversely, an action that is expected to be undone by Gage causes a temporal distortion wave because Gage hasn't gone back in time to fix it yet and the timeline expects him to.
That and the fact is if you don't do this you get wiped out of history.
Take Your Time: The first game averts this. If you take too long to make your first jump to the past, or go anywhere but the Temporal Security Agency,, you're wiped out by a temporal distortion wave. Also, you can't hang around in any time period but your own for too long, or else you'll run out of energy and be permanently stuck in the past.
In Legacy of Time, there's another temporal distortion wave, but Take Your Time allows you to stand around in the TSA's jumpsuit departure room and have the lackey yell 'You have to engage your chameleon jumpsuit NOW, Gage!' repeatedly, without penalty, until you do it.
Terminator Twosome: Used in the first and second game. In the first, Agent 5 has to intercept an android in each time period before it can effect any major historical changes. In the second, Agent 5 has to track a rogue Agent, and uncover what s/he has changed, and why.
The Federation: Earth joining the galactic community of like-minded benevolent aliens and the political and technological consequences are a major plot point throughout the series. The sole proprietry of time travel by humans causes significant political head-aches in the second and third games.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: At the end of the second game you have to guess the password to access the computer systems on the traitor's time travel suit. It turns out to be the name of a hobby displayed prominently on their personnel file.
The Slow Path: The rogue Agent's plan in the second game revolves around this. she smuggles time travel schematics and components to an alien race by hiding them in historical artifacts sold in a museum auction. The trick is going back in time to plant them before the items become historical.
Time Police: The Temporal Security Agency, and, by extension, Gage Blackwood, AKA you. In fact, you could probably summarize this game with the phrase, "A Time Policeman Is You."
Time Travel: The entire premise of the series revolves around it.
Timey-Wimey Ball: Like most time travel stories this is involved. It's stated that you can make minor alterations to the timeline and not change anything as timeline and auto correct it. So you don't have to worry about footprints, knocking over a book, and stealing everything that isn't nailed down. Your Time Suit lets you know when you are going too far.
Translator Microbes: In the second game, Gage simply buys a universal translator biochip from a futuristic Home Shopping Channel. In the third game, Arthur, the onboard AI, downloads himself into the translator chip and so has to translate for Gage.
Too Dumb to Live: An eight-foot-tall bipedal robot tells you "Out of my way, human, or die." Don't move? He kills you. The death screen even calls you out on what a stupid move that was.
Took a Shortcut: Averted to a surprising degree. Once you catch up with the rogue agent in the second game, you'll find a machine designed to create synthetic copies of all the items you had to acquire in order to reach the altered locations in each time period. Lucky break for you that Leonardo da Vinci happened to have a spare human heart lying around.
And again with Pegasus Prime. The remnants of Presto Studios are working on getting Pegasus Prime adapted to modern day computers. As of April 2014, they succeeded, and even added back things that were missed from the Turbo version as well as the unused interactive sequences.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Thrice! First Sinclair by altering the timeline to avoid humanity joining The Federation. However his plan goes horribly right and makes humanity way too xenophobic. And Agent 3/Michelle plans to give other species time travel technology, as she thinks that humanity can't be trusted with it alone. Problem is, it goes horribly wrong when the ambassador of the new species that would have gotten it would have used to to take over the universe, as they're bitter over their dependency on others species just to leave their home planet. Even Ambassador Icarus, the person Michelle is helping, wants to better his people, he just wants to turn them into conquerors.
What the Hell, Player?: In the second game, after acquiring Arthur, it's possible to return to Farnstein's Lab and retrace your steps to the AI Core. Arthur gets understandably freaked out at the prospect of meeting himself and urges you not to go on. If you ignore him for as long as possible, he'll eventually hijack the jump controls and recall you whether you like it or not.
Whodunnit to Me: JP2: Buried in Time. Your future self has been framed for temporal theft and sabotage, leaving you with the task of discovering not only who the real culprit was, but also what specific parts of history were changed (the changes were minor enough that the rest of the Time Police didn't bother to correct them for fear of accidentally altering history for the worse).