Video Game / The Labyrinth of Time
The Labyrinth of Time
From the ancient past to the distant future. The web of history is the ultimate labyrinth.
was a 1993 Adventure Game
made by Terra Nova Development.
You're an office worker living a dull, dreary life, but on the subway ride home one gray Friday the ghost of Daedalus
suddenly pulls you out of the normal world. He explains King Minos has enslaved him to build a Labyrinth even greater than the one he built in the ancient days of Crete. This one bridges time and space, and allows Minos to invade all eras and conquer them with his supernatural powers. Daedalus begs the player to find a way to the heart of the labyrinth and destroy it before Minos can finalize his conquest.
Unfortunately for Terra Nova they released the game at about the same time
and The 7th Guest
, leaving Labyrinth of Time
virtually ignored. To this day only hardcore adventure fans are likely to know it even exists.
Currently freely available for Amiga
, and available for purchase on all major computer platforms
as well as iOS
The Labyrinth of Time provides examples of:
- Alien Geometries:
- The Surreal Maze maps roughly to the shape of a sphere despite nothing even remotely suggesting that shape.
- Individual rooms in the Surreal Maze, however, are symmetrical and highly geometric... just not by the standard of any known geometry.
- All Myths Are True: Greek mythology? Yep. Mayan sorcerers? Sure! King Arthur? That too.
- Ancient Tomb: The discovery of King Minos's tomb is critical to the plot. Because of the labyrinth construction, his tomb is now located in a hotel.
- Clarke's Third Law: Discussed for laughs. A newspaper suggests this as an explanation for your missing subway car.
- Dead Man Writing: In the tomb of King Minos, Cornelius Lyons scrawled "ALIVE" on wall before dying, possibly in his own blood. King Minos wasn't as dead as expected.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Until Daedalus grabs you.
- Featureless Protagonist: Partially averted. Although the game never identifies your character's age, gender, race, or other identifying markers, the introduction pegs you as a white-collar office worker from an American city. So, at least an AFGNP.
- Fortune Teller: Morgan, inside the Mirror Maze. His "fortunes" are cryptic hints for the game proper, and they vary depending on your progress. Oh, and they cost a quarter each.
- 15 Puzzle: One of them acts as a door between one of the first areas in the game and one of the last.
- The Ghost: You never actually encounter Minos; the most you hear about him is a note in an orbital library after he gives the world an ultimatum.
- Grave Humor: In addition to the comedic gravestones, if you try to "open" a grave, the game warns you that "only mad scientists and archaeologists are allowed to do that."
- Great Big Library of Everything: Subverted. The Orbital Library is accessed through a single terminal, and because of King Minos's meddling, nearly the entire contents of the library have been deleted.
- Hell Hotel: A seemingly deserted, unnamed hotel near the beginning of the game. Halfway in, it simply... stops.
- Jump Scare: The clown at the entrance to the Mirror Maze.
- Malt Shop: There's one of these among the many incongruous locations in the game. It's sandwiched between the Medieval maze and the hedge maze, naturally.
- Man-Eating Plant: Implied. The fern in the office building snarls if you try to attack it.
- The Maze: The game is essentially one large maze. The final area, located in the center of the game map, is even called Maze Center. The re-release made this even more explicit by adding "breadcrumbs" you can follow.
- Missing Secret:
- Some doors can never be unlocked. Given the game's convoluted layout, this is probably intentional.
- Useless Items are everywhere, maliciously so. In fact, roughly half the items in the game serve no purpose. The champions of this are the sword (conspicuously placed at the end of a large puzzle, possibly to distract you from the invaluable lantern nearby) and the alien belt (incredibly ornamental and interactive, does nothing).
- Only the Chosen May Wield: Spoofed with the sword in the stone. You can pull it out, but there's no use for it.
- Patchwork World: Parts of the past, present, and future have been jammed together in chaotic ways.
- Place Beyond Time:
- The labyrinth appears to be expanding into a void that resembled a sunny, cloud-filled sky. Destroying the labyrinth causes time and space to unravel, leaving you stranded in this cloudy void, outside of existence.
- The unmade sequel's title implies that this is actually Dream Land.
- Ripple Effect Indicator: Martin Garret's journal updates when you return his lucky jacket, as does a display in the Museum.
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: When King Minos erases the entirety of world history and culture instantaneously, the caretaker of the New Worlds Development library is the only one who notices that something has gone awry.
- Self-Insert Fic:
- According to an article in a futuristic library, Terra Nova Development (the company that created the game) eventually became the space travel conglomerate New Worlds Development, which set up space stations and moon colonies and essentially controls the world. All in part because of the resounding success of Labyrinth.
- Turns into Death by Cameo. The library article later mentions the gruesome deaths of the Terra Nova Development team at the hands of an unruly car.
- The makers apparently liked The Wizard of Oz, The Maltese Falcon and the Marx Brothers.
- There are a good number of self-shout-outs as well. Many environmental details are borrowed from some of the game's artist's earlier works, most notably Amiga Dreams, The Sentinel, and The Skull, the Dream, and the Dancer.
- Sinister Geometry: The Maze Center building is topped with a striking pyramid fractal. Sure enough, it's the site of the keystone that holds the Labyrinth together (and it's also the game's iOS icon).
- Solve the Soup Cans: Downplayed. There are a number of inexplicable mazes scattered throughout the game that you are required to complete multiple times. But come on, this is a game about labyrinths.
- Unwinnable by Design:
- Don't use your quarter in the fortunetelling game... make a phone call. Not as bad as it might be since it's so close to the beginning of the game, and especially since the game admonishes you for wasting it.
- Averted in the re-release. You start with two quarters now!
- Towards the middle/end of the game, if you enter the Surreal Maze without taking a lantern hidden behind an open door from earlier in the game, you're stuck. This is especially cruel given that the confusing maze is a natural point to stop playing and resume later.
- The detectives' office contains a key you need to let yourself out of jail after you're transported there for stealing the Sorcerer-King's wand. Without it you're stuck, and there's nothing else in the office you need. And there's no indication that the key to get into the office is where it is, or how to get it.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The ominous Maze Center, which can be seen throughout the game.
- World of Chaos: The Surreal Maze which defies your map and goes on infinitely unless you can find the one way out.