is a 1996 Adventure Game
by GTE Entertainment, which bears a number of similarities to Myst
in terms of visual effects, Point-and-Click
based game design and use of logic puzzles.
The story begins with you receiving a message from an old archaeologist friend, Alexander Nicholas, who has spent his entire life attempting to prove his theory that the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Anasazi and Easter Islanders shared a common connection...the lost city of Atlantis
. Nicholas reveals that he has at last found proof in the form of a mysterious time machine on Easter Island that provides access to major sites of each civilisation at a different point in time, and implores you to join him as he tests it.
By the time you reach Easter Island, Nicholas has already attempted to use the machine, and has become trapped in it somehow. With no other way to rescue him, you are forced to use the machine to venture through the various ancient worlds, solving the puzzles in each location and slowly discovering exactly how Atlantis is linked to each. In addition to this, it soon becomes clear that you aren't the only person travelling to each world...
Timelapse gives examples of:
- AI Is A Crap Shoot: The Guardian. Originally he was a synthetic servant of the Atlanteans who was tasked with looking after the outpost, but mechanical damage gave him a degree of sentience that is conflicting with his programmed orders and has made him erratic.
- Ancient Astronauts: Nicholas notes this theory in his journal every now and then and it turns out to be completely true.
- Ancient Egypt: One of the worlds.
- Apocalyptic Log: Each world - save for Easter Island - has some form of recording device that gives some insight into how the civilisation in the area rose and/or fell. In Atlantis itself, there is the Chronolog, which contains video messages from the Atlantean Outpost to the Homeworld. Watching it reveals that the Guardian was a synthetic servant of the Atlanteans that became erratic after sustaining injuries while conducting repair work.
- Drop Ship: Atlantis is revealed to be this, with a big Mothership waiting for it to leave Earth so it can return to the homeworld.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Easter Island is the starting point of the game. The Moai themselves contain clues to unlocking the time gate.
- Escape Pod: The elevator in Atlantis doubles as this, and it also contains a small catalogue of Atlantean technology. This allows you to become rich and famous if you manage to flee Atlantis through it.
- Human Popsicle: The Atlanteans used this technology to keep their people alive for vast periods of time. [[It's revealed that the Egyptians began the process of mummification in a failed attempt to replicate this process]].
- Humanoid Aliens: The Atlanteans are eventually revealed to be this.
- Killed Off for Real: The Atlantean Engineer woken by the Guardian, although his body is never found.
- Multiple Endings: Several.
- In several of the bad endings, you get to see a newspaper epilogue which reveals that Atlantis would eventually be discovered by a team of scientists fifty years later. As for you...
- If you get caught by the Guardian in Atlantis, then you get imprisoned in the timegate in Nicholas' place for all eternity.
- If you shut yourself in the stasis chamber, then the Guardian laughs at you, and you become a mystery for the team of scientists.
- If you defeat the Guardian, but break the Timegate, then you become trapped and die of starvation, and Nicholas remains in his prison. The epilogue also mentions that the scientists are planning to try and release the Guardian...
- If you defeat the Guardian, you have several options as to what to do with the ship - the timegate will release Nicholas and then malfunction, regardless of what you do to it.
- If you activate the Self Destruct feature, the ship blows up. Nicholas' fate is uncertain.
- If you activate the Launch Sequence, you can either choose to escape Atlantis via an escape pod - which results in you becoming rich and famous for your adventure - or you can stay on it and travel back to the Atlantean homeworld - which results in the Guardian being repaired and released by the ship's computer, and then imprisoning you for the remainder of the journey.
- Mummy: Inside the small temple in the Egyptian World. He doesn't pose a threat to you though; instead he just complains if you open the sarcophagus he's in.
- Nintendo Hard: The main puzzle in the Egyptian world is a giant combination lock, which has to be solved by deciphering an ancient (and fictional) numbering system, and then working out what the numbers are, based on several very cryptic texts. Thankfully, since each individual lock lights up when it's set right, it's possible to skip this puzzle by just guessing what the combination is.
- One puzzle in the Mayan world involves you needing to enter in a sequence of thirty or so numbers to unlock a hidden door. The exact code is written down on a piece of paper in the area, but it's not easy to find, and there's nothing to suggest it even exists! Worse, you can't take the paper with you, and the puzzle resets if you leave the screen, so you're forced to write it down (or to take a photo of it using the in-game camera).
- Pre-Columbian Civilizations: The Mayan World and the Anasazi World.
- Press X to Die: You can activate the stasis chamber with yourself inside, you can blow up the Atlantean colony ship...
- Respawn on the Spot: You can be killed or injured by minor obstacles during the game, but you promptly go back to where you were before you made that choice. At least, until you reach Atlantis...
- The Reveal: Atlantis was created by aliens as a temporary settlement until they could return to their irradiated homeworld, but they were stopped from leaving Earth when Santorini erupted. The four civilisations were given technologies by them, but used them in vary different ways;
- The Egyptians attempted to replicate the Atlantean stasis pod technology with mummification, but failed, and ended up decimating their resources by wasting time building pyramids and tombs.
- The Mayans and the Easter Islanders saw the Atlanteans as gods and attempted to impress them; the Mayans via sacrifice - which gradually made the people fear what would happen when the "gods" arrived - and the Easter Islanders via monuments - which led to the destruction of their resources and a civil war. The majority of the Mayans promptly fled into the wilderness when the Atlanteans returned for them, and the Easter Islanders were abandoned once the Atlanteans saw what they had resorted to.
- The Anasazi alone reacted well to the Atlantean assistance, and decided to leave their barren lands en masse for Atlantis.
- Rock-Paper-Scissors: One puzzle in the Mayan world is this, except it uses dangerous animals instead. Scorpion poisons Frog, Frog eats Spider, Spider ensnares Scorpion.
- Sequel Hook: "Timelapse 2: The Homeworld" is advertised in one of the endings, but the game was never made.
- Super Breeding Program: To repopulate their homeworld with inhabitants of the four civilisations they chose to aid, the Atlanteans created four "Gene Pods" containing Atlantean genetic material that could be used on any person which would result in their children being super-smart prodigies. Alexander Nicholas is revealed to have used them on himself towards the end of the game, and several of the bad endings confirm he would later father a Nobel Prize winning son.
- Superior Species: The Atlanteans viewed themselves as this, and made contact with sufficiently-advanced civilisations across the globe [[spoiler: with the intention of genetically
- Three-Laws Compliant: The Guardian was programmed with commands similar to these; preventing him from killing or physically harming any human. This doesn't stop him from (inadvertantly) killing an Atlantean Engineer by releasing him from his stasis chamber improperly, or from imprisoning people inside the time portal for eternity.
- Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: The Guardian, which resembles a Xenomorph in terms of head shape and speaks with a creepy robot voice.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Both you and Nicholas, depending on the ending;
- If you get captured by the Guardian and imprisoned in the timegate, Nicholas is freed...and strangely makes absolutely no attempt to go back for you (although it is mentioned that he was oddly affected by the whole thing).
- If you defeat the Guardian, free Nicholas and return to Earth, you become a rich and famous superstar for your travels and for the technology you bring back with you. Oddly, Nicholas isn't mentioned at all in the epilogue, despite the fact that it's his discovery and story that you've usurped.