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Video Game / The Journeyman Project

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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 kids?

The Journeyman Project is a First Person Science Fiction Adventure 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 released three times.

The Journeyman Project opens some several centuries into the future 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 was released in 1993, and suffered from some severe technical flaws, which were corrected for its 1994 Updated Re-release as The Journeyman Project Turbo! In 1995, the game was remade for the Power PC and Playstation with even more technical improvements and more live action as Pegasus Prime.


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 1997's 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 in 1998, 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.

Buried in Time and Legacy of Time was re-released on in 2010 and 2012 respectively while Pegasus Prime was released in 2015 and on Steam in 2017. There are currently no plans to bring back the original Journeyman Project or its turbo version due to coding and compatibility issues on modern hardware according to the developers.

These games provide 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... He's also a really nice guy. 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.
  • All There in the Manual: In-universe example in Buried in Time. The Files Biochip contains a recap of the TSA's history, information on how to use the Jumpsuit, and detailed profiles for every TSA agent, many of which are not seen anywhere else in the series. This also comes in handy at the end when finding out Agent 3's password.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Gage can read two journals in Buried in Time, which explain how Chateau Gaillard fell.
  • 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.
    • In Pegasus Prime after you return from your first jump back in time, the TSA in the new timeline is different, and your boss naturally demands to know why you were using the time machine unauthorized. After he views the information you have, he is convinced that your mission is valid, but he still tries to detain you because he is horrified at the idea of everything he knows (including himself) being erased and replaced by something different. Can you really blame him?
  • Apologetic Attacker: Michelle. Well, apologetic mindwiper, anyway.
    • 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.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Smart Alloys, programmable metals that can change shape. Sinclair's robots are made of this, allowing Mercury to disguise himself as a human.
  • Arc Symbol: The symbol on Elliot Sinclair's video logs. Made more obvious in Pegasus Prime with this symbol being used as the logo for "Sinclair Laboratories". The TSA's logo also counts, being present in all three games, and even on some of the CDs for the games and soundtrack albums.
  • Artificial Gravity: In Buried in Time, while most of Amarax Station is in zero G, its docking bay has hex-shaped gravity pads to aid in transporting cargo, though the station's malfunctioning state turns it into a maze of sorts when Gage arrives. Arthur also describes one of the station's missing modules as a "gravity gym".
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The Hi-Rez 4D Environ System in the first and second games, doubling as an In-Game TV.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Sosiqui. Buddhism is presented as offering the same thing — it's implied the Siddha managed to follow them.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Icarus given that he's perfectly okay with killing you.
  • As You Know: Subverted. Gage is forced to mindwipe his past self at the end of the second game, so a lot of the exposition in the third game has a legitimate reason for needing an explanation.
  • Atlantis: One of the settings in the third game.
  • 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.
  • Beard of Evil: Dr. Elliot Sinclair sports a mean-looking goatee.
  • Beeping Computer: Pegasus. Averted in Pegasus Prime.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Arthur knows that he's an "artificial, sorry, non-organic sentient being", but he consistently behaves like a human person, with a full emotional range and strong sense of empathy and responsibility. He's often rude or sarcastic, but never disloyal or unwilling to do the right thing.
  • Behind Every Great Man: Pegasus Prime sets Dr. Candace White as the inventor of Smart Alloys, even though it was Elliot Sinclair that came up with the idea in the first place. Messages in his office imply that Sinclair simply didn't publish his work, leaving White to get all the credit.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The aliens 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.
  • Body Horror: In the "Uncreated" death. Turbo depicts it as Agent 5 being erased from the legs up in a quick flash of light. Pegasus Prime shows it in a more graphic fashion, where it looks like Agent 5's face is being disintegrated layer by layer, and his expression shows that he's aware of it .
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Averted. During the intro to the third game, Gage suggests using the Pegasus time machine from the first game, but is told that it's been disassembled and shelved for years.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Of the Missing Floors in the apartment building, the elevator voice says "this floor has neither been modeled nor rendered". The 2014 rerelease of Pegasus Prime Ret Cons this to the second and third floors being under remodeling. Though the original does exist as an Easter Egg
    • 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 nuclear missile launch objective.
    Poseidon: What do you think this is, human? A GAME?!
    • And then in the third game, Arthur does this again. For example, when you encounter a hairy throw rug in Atlantis, he unleashes a Hurricane of Puns about it, and then stops in the middle of one of them, announces that he's running out of ideas, and suggests that if you have any more puns about the rug you should mail them to Presto Studios.
  • 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.
  • But Thou Must!: In the first game, once you go into the TSA, you are not allowed to leave until you resolve all three temporal rips. You also aren't allowed to skip the mandatory course review at the TSA when you first arrive. However, it also helps serve as a justification for the player's benefit since Gage's constant tardiness causes him to be forced to review the basics of his job, which also serves as giving the player exposition of the TSA and what Gage's job consists of.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: Averted. You even steal things from other time periods, and several puzzles require objects from across time. Lampshaded when the TSA computer says "don't take any historically important objects". That said, Pegasus Prime plays this straight with lethal weapons. The TSA won't let Gage even carry lethal weapons, let alone use them, since it's against protocol. The game won't let you return to the present if you're carrying an assault rifle from the peace talks.
  • 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: In the first game, you encounter a submarine dock in NORAD VI and you have to adjust its air pressure to match that of the room you're in to enter the dock. The voice instructions warn you not to use maximum pressure, as it may result in some objects imploding. Sure enough, you encounter Poseidon by the dock later, and the violent method of killing him involves maximizing the air pressure of the dock to make him collapse under his own weight.
  • Cloning Blues: Completely averted with Arthur, who doesn't display the slightest hint of existential angst over having multiple copies of himself in existence, or that the original version is left to perish. He does comment on feeling "like a saved game" about it, though.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: To differentiate between the altered and unaltered histories in Pegasus Prime, your AI presents itself as her typical blue for the unaltered historical data, and purple for the altered data, replacing the Important Haircut shown in Turbo.
  • Computer Voice: Almost everything in the first game has this in various flavors, including the various future history time periods you visit.
  • 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. The data is stored in a location which will be thoroughly destroyed in a massive volcanic eruption, so there will be no physical remains that could disrupt later history. 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.
    • Big Bad Elliot Sinclair is also very prepared with his plans in the first game. He sends three robots in different points of time in history to sabotage the relationship between humans and aliens so that it will be a lot more difficult to reverse if someone tries to correct the past. If that plan fails, the antagonist does the dirty job himself by bringing a rifle to the aliens event in the present day and assassinating the alien ambassador himself. In the Pegasus remake, this is taken one step further by having a nuclear bomb rigged to go off in Caldoria if all the plans above should fail.
  • 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.
  • Cyber Cyclops: 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.
  • Dartboard of Hate: One of the things that reinforces Elliot Sinclair's xenophobia is a poster of the alien conference, with Enrique Castillo's picture having been tacked with darts.
  • Dead Man Writing: Just before Arthur downloads himself to one of your biochips, an audio recording of Dr. Farnstein plays. He describes how Arthur was made, and asks you to take care of Arthur in the event of his death.
  • 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).
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • 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.
    • Also, 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.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Legacy of the Sosiqui in the third game.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Time travel in Turbo looks like this, as a sequence of you drifting through rings and geometric shapes while a hard rock track plays, overlaid with voices you'd heard in the present, including one from Elliot Sinclair. Pegasus Prime changes it to a scene of traveling through a multicolored wormhole, and the second and third games simply show flybys of the time zone you're going to.
  • Drone of Dread: Heard for the tracks used in the mining portions of the Mars Colony, and the TSA in Turbo. The latter is reused in Prime for the inside of the Global Transporter.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In Pegasus Prime, after making the antidote to the tranquilzer dart, Gage can use it from his inventory to bypass the toxin.
  • 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.
  • End Game Results Screen: In Journeyman Project and Buried in Time.
  • Enemy Scan: Gage's eyepiece can do this in Pegasus Prime, along with the Chameleon suit in Legacy of Time.
  • 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 Arthur acts this way because of Farnstein's obsession with 20th-century media.
  • Force-Field Door: In various flavors within the series.
    • The doors in Gage's apartment in the first game just dissolve when opening.
    • The World Science Center and the second game's Environ System open in a liquid manner.
    • There's also a force field that hides Future!Gage's front door, preventing the player from using it due to house arrest.
  • 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.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Elliot Sinclair's office computer in Pegasus Prime was made by Farnstein Industries. The same Farnstein who designed Arthur.
    • In the remake of Pegasus Prime, the launch override computer in NORAD VI flashes two different real-life Blue Screens and Sinclair's logo while starting up.
    • If the player looks quickly enough, Mercury's gun arm falls off when you defeat him, turning back into the rifle he used in human form.
  • 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.
  • Gatling Good: Sinclair's robots and the two security bots in the TSA have four-barrel plasma gatling guns in place of their left arms, and some of the death scenes involve you facing the business end of them.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Michelle/Agent 3. As an agent of the Deep Time Unit used for historical research, she had to look at humanity at its worst. The Nazi death camps, battlefields and such. It leads to her Well-Intentioned Extremist behavior.
  • Hard Light: In Pegasus Prime, the vault containing the Historical Log is reached by a hard light bridge generated by floating rings. It also retracts as soon as you cross it.
  • 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)
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The music that plays when you're disarming Sinclair's nuke at the end of Pegasus Prime, which gets faster as you solve each stage inside it.
  • Help Your Self In The Future: The premise of the second game.
  • 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.
    • Handwaved by Arthur explaining that he can't hear Gage's voice because of technical limitations, and therefore has to rely on Gage pushing the Comment or Help button, though that doesn't prevent him from being able to hear everything the NPCs have to say in the third game.
  • 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.
  • Hints Are for Losers: In the second and third games, Arthur can offer some tips on what to do next, but he will get frustrated sometimes if you do it too often. Also, in the second game, every hint subtracts 50 points from your total score. What's worse is that a player who never uses hints will miss out on a lot of Arthur's jokes and references.
  • 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, to avoid raising temporal havoc (you also can't enter the area of the person you're currently disguised as).
  • 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.
    • Humans are the only species that has invented time travel. Though they did have the advantage that the inventor of time travel was over two thousand years old and had interacted with the Sosiqui Legacy.
  • 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.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • Inverted if you take the canister of sleeping gas in Pegasus Prime and don't put it back. If you walk into the hallway outside, a guard instantly wakes up and apprehends you.
    • Played with when Mercury shoots you with a tranquilizer dart. As long as you don't leave the room you're in, jump back to the present, or refuse to remove it, you'll have plenty of time to make an antidote. In Pegasus Prime, though, it does make your energy bar drain more quickly.
    • Averted when you take down Elliot Sinclair at the end with Mercury's gun. He struggles for a few seconds after being hit, then collapses.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • In Pegasus Prime, the Optical Memory biochip clearly shows "Sinclair Laboratories" below the symbol shown on it, which almost prematurely gives away who the culprit is.
    • Subverted with Poseidon's optical memory. In Turbo, the last bit of Sinclair's monologue reveals where he'll kill the Cyrollan ambassador. Pegasus Prime edits this out.
  • Karmic Death: Dr. Sinclair dying of old age.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Happens with some of the games' time zones.
    • In Buried in Time, Gage's mission with investigating Chateau Gaillard turns out to be set too late for him to see how the castle was invaded.
    • The third game starts with Gage visiting all three time zones after their destruction, followed by visiting them 24 hours before the disaster happened.
  • Like a God to Me: 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.
  • Machine Monotone: The launch override computer in NORAD VI.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: What Elliot Sinclair sends his android underlings to do in the first game.
    • He has a very very good reason to do so, though. Problem is that his plan goes horribly right.
  • Matter Replicator:
    • The VAL 9000 at Future!Gage's pad, which takes up half of his kitchen. Comes equipped with an "Auto Chef", and a built-in coffee maker and microwave on the sides. In-game, however, all you use it for is to buy items from the Shopnet service, and it replicates those items for you after they're purchased.
    • A smaller replicator also exists in Pegasus Prime where Gage can get a drink, but only one type, based on his diet.
  • Meaningful Name: The three robots in the first game are all named after Greek or Roman gods, and their names reflect their missions or abilities:
    • Ares is sent on a mission to Mars. Ares is the Greek god of war, and the planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war.
    • Poseidon is sent to a mission to the underwater complex of NORAD VI, fitting for a robot named after the god of the seas.
    • Mercury possesses shapeshifting ability, evoking imagery of the chemical element mercury.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted in Buried in Time; Gage goes back to the past to meet himself to clear his name.
    • 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. Along the way, Arthur also dislikes how his own voice sounds.
  • 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...
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in the first game, but played straight in the second with Future!Gage's house. Agent 3 has a makeshift restroom built into her hideout.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: This happens at the end of the first game when you use the access card bomb to get to Sinclair. Pegasus Prime averts this, requiring you to use your shield biochip before the bomb detonates.
  • Non Standard Game Over: At the very beginning of NORAD VI in the Turbo edition. Clicking on the gas canister, rather than triggering the standard Game Over screen, instead summons an operating system dialog box informing you that you died from touching it; clicking "OK" on it will then exit the game. Pegasus Prime fixes this.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Mostly averted for several deaths in Pegasus Prime, but a hidden death in Turbo says this word-for-word if you try repeatedly moving forward or backward while in an ore conveyor on Mars, which results in you supposedly falling off and ending up at the bottom of the shaft. Prime uses this same death if you simply miss entering one of the buckets.
  • Note to Self: Because he knew there'd be No Time to Explain when he went back in time to acquire his past self's assistance, Agent 5 hides a holographic message in an action figure of himself in Buried In 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. This is foreshadowed in both Atlantis and El dorado calling them the children of the earth mother and brothers respectively.
  • 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.
    • In the 2014 version of Pegasus Prime, a monitor next to the NORAD VI Override terminal shows Poseidon entering eight zeroes as the missile launch code.
  • Pit Trap: If Gage tries giving an offering to the Chak Mool statue without setting the nearby Mayan Calendar to a certain date, he ends up in one of these instead of the underground tunnels.
  • Point of No Return: Near the end of Buried in Time, when Agent 3 takes away your suit's Jump Biochip.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: The first Cyrollan contact message sounds like this in Pegasus Prime, contrasting with its high-pitched version in Turbo.
  • Precursors: The Sosiqui.
  • Press X to Die: In the original, the Global Transport device allows you to travel to a beach or to Tokyo instead of going to work. You'll be given a small sneak peek of your destination as you arrive...and then get uncreated.
  • Product Placement: On a coffee table in Future!Gage's house, there's a little action figure made by Bandai.
    • Interestingly, Bandai was behind the Japanese release of Buried in Time.
  • Projected Man: Arthur becomes one at the end of the third game, using the Chameleon Jumpsuit to project himself as an 18th century gentleman.
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: The Cyrollans.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: After Ares sabotages the Mars Colony's shield generator, he takes the maintenance tram back to the surface and renders it unable to be called back down. If you step onto the tracks, however, the tram comes careening right toward you. The death screen in Turbo even shows Agent 5's head shoved through the windshield.
  • Recursive Canon: By Buried in Time, the events of the first game were turned into a popular action movie named after the game, and future Gage's house has merchandise from it.
  • 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.
  • Ret-Gone: One of the possible Have a Nice Death screens, if you let the time distortion wave erase you.
    • Same thing happens if you go anywhere other than TSA with the Global Transporter.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Arthur at the end of the trilogy.
  • 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 causality. 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 of 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.
  • Scienceville: The World Science Center from the first game.
  • Script Breaking: In Turbo's NORAD VI, instead of turning left after going through the first door to face Poseidon and get shot at (losing 30% of your energy if you don't have the Shield BioChip equipped), you can turn right and then walk backwards, skipping the Event Flag entirely.
  • Shout-Out: Several examples in Turbo. Arthur makes even more references in the next two games.
  • 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.
  • Smug Snake: Poseidon in the first game is dismissive of your actions as a mere human, but welcomes the challenge you could present in stopping him from firing the missiles. He quickly starts to lose his cool when you shut down several missile silos and then decides to outright kill you.
  • The Slow Path: Used in the second game to smuggle crucial components and information about time travel technology. The rogue Agent travels back in time to integrate these into historical items which are about to be auctioned in the present day.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: The Buddhist Prayer Wheels in the third game.
  • 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: You can read a holographic variant of this 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.
  • Starfish Aliens: Most races in the Symbiotry are this, with the Cyrollans being an exception that's noted as unusual. The only other Symbiotry race we get to see is the Krynn, who resemble flesh-coloured dolphins with cuttlefish heads, but the INN news links give detailed text descriptions of the other races. One of the game over screens in the second game shows several gelatinous tentacled aliens who mistake Agent 5 for a takeout dish.
  • Stun Guns: Mercury drops one when you take him out, and Agent 5 uses it to take down Sinclair. Pegasus Prime reworks it into a high-tech sniper rifle that shoots tranquilizer darts and plasma rounds, though only the darts remain when Agent 5 can take it.
  • 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.
  • Temporal Paradox: Averted, somehow by time-traveling before a time-wave from the past reaches you, it's possible to... oh forget it. See, Delayed Ripple Effect.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In Shangri-La, you are able to gradually annoy the Dob Dob Guard by using Genghis Khan's guise, who will smack you with his staff, out of revenge for the real Khan giving him a black eye. Likewise, bothering Genghis Khan yourself in any form makes him say, "Oh, to the cold Hells with you!" and promptly punch you out of his tent.
    • In Pegasus Prime when Ares tells you to move aside, you can hit him with your power crowbar. It has no effect, though, and doing it too much makes him grab and shoot you to death with his plasma minigun.
  • 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 ownership of time travel by humans causes significant political headaches in the second and third games.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • In Buried in Time, you have to do this in Amarax Station in order to reach Arthur's CPU core, which had recently been detached from the station in the accident. Sealing foam plugs up the airlock after you get there.
    • Pegasus Prime does this as a death in the Mars Colony, if you go through an airlock that doesn't have a shuttle docked to it.
  • Treasure Room: Gage enters one at the very bottom of Chateau Gaillard, where he can take a few gold coins and find King Richard I's sword.
  • The Three Trials: In all three games the meat of the adventure revolves around accomplishing a certain goal in each time period, which can for the most part be done in what order the player wants:
    • Three androids to defeat in Journeyman Project / Pegasus Prime
    • Four critical pieces of evidence to document in Buried in Time
    • Three pieces of the Sosiqui Legacy to collect in Legacy of Time
  • Time Machine: More than one, in suit-form.
  • 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.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Gage is accused of this when he is framed in the second game. The Krynn Ambassador Icarus intends to take the trope to its logical extreme by using time travel technology to "correct the evolutionary oversight that left [his species] swimming when they should have been collecting stars."
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Future Gage has a little trouble with this when he meets his past self in Buried in Time. He stammers over with it for a while before just setting on "we" when referring to what's happened.
  • 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.
  • Try Everything: In the first game, it's easy enough to brute-force the three codes from the game manual, as you get an error the moment you input a wrong digit, rather than the game letting you input all of the digits and only then informing you that you messed up. You only need to guess 70 times each at most, rather than 10 million times.
  • Underwater Base: NORAD VI in the first game.
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: The TSA's security robots, which have the same design as Sinclair's and welcome you into the facility in a creepy-sounding voice that sounds similar to the TSA's Computer Voice from Turbo.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Largely averted, you being, you know, a time traveller who can go back to any time period at almost any time to retrieve items that you've missed or lost. Even in areas that you can't return to (or return from), you can't leave (or get there, as the case may be) without obtaining the items you may need. The exception is found in the Krynn embassy in Journeyman Project 2, where, although as usual you can't get there without the two items you need, you have to use an explosive charge to access items stuck in a pod. You get one explosive charge that can open one pod, and there are seven pods, four of which contain items you need to continue. One of the items in question can open the other pods (and can be used indefinitely), but if you use the explosive charge on the wrong pod, you'll be stuck and will have to reload a save.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake:
    • The launch override puzzle in Turbo requires using a trackball to move a crosshair around a globe to find missile silos that are active and disable them. However, the hitbox detection for those silos isn't always exactly on the city's location, sometimes leaving the actual target pixels away from the silo on-screen. Worse, the trackball's sensitivity when clicked on is higher than it should be, sometimes throwing the crosshair farther than intended. Pegasus Prime fixes this puzzle by ditching the trackball entirely and instead using a holographic interface on the globe itself, and you disable the missile silos by clicking on the cities with your cursor.
    • In Buried in Time, Walkthru Mode comes with the ability to continue from right before you died instead of forcing you to restore from a saved game every time you die. When you continue, your active biochip is set to the Interface biochip (as it would be if you had just loaded a game) and any items you had used between the restore point and the point of death are returned to your inventory. If you were cloaked, however, the game does not uncloak you. When you are cloaked, you can't switch biochips or move. If you happen to die in Walkthru Mode while cloaked (which is possible in a few cases), you will softlock the game as you'll be returned in a cloaked status but with the Interface Biochip active, preventing you from uncloaking, forcing you to reload from a manual save.
  • Updated Re-release: The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime, an ambitious remake of the original game that was planned for release on Playstation and Saturn; in the end, the Playstation version was released only in Japan, and a Mac version was released in extremely limited quantities in the U.S....with its original controller layout clumsily remapped to the keyboard. However, the game itself was vastly improved, and fit better with the two sequels.
    • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: Arthur has a tendency to start his sentences with "Well..." many times, but most of these instances are only in the hint messages. Sometimes he'll instead boredly start with "Look..." if he gets frustrated.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: A downplayed example in the original game. Each of Sinclair's robot henchmen has a "violent" way and a "peaceful" way of disabling them. Defeating robots violently won't alter any story elements (although blowing up the ship on Mars deprives you of some useful BioChips), but you will have less points at the end of the game.
  • Video Phone: Gage has two in his apartment in Pegasus Prime, and his future self owns a morphing video answering machine in Buried in Time. His Biotech interface in Prime is also revealed to have one built into it at the end.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: In Pegasus Prime, one of the altered history videos shows a futuristic TV test screen, seconds after Enrique Castillo is killed on-stage.
  • Weird Moon: The background for the Interactive News Network opens with the Earth and moon shown through a blue sky.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Thrice!
    • First Sinclair by altering the timeline to avoid humanity joining The Federation. As the third game reveals, he has very good reason to not trust aliens. However his plan goes horribly right and makes humanity way too xenophobic.
    • 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).
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dr. Sinclair asks Mercury to make Enrique Castillo's death "look accidental", but said robot instead takes the direct approach with a plasma sniper rifle. This is also Sinclair's own backup plan against the Cyrollan ambassador.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Reality Distortion Waves, which can either create entirely new timelines or uncreate people in their wake. Jumping back in time to before they hit allows one to survive them.
  • Ye Olde Nuclear Silo: Agent 3's hideout, near the end of Buried in Time.
  • You Are Grounded: Said by Jack Baldwin in Pegasus Prime when you arrive late to work for the fourth time. He then sentences you to a week of review and data cleanup, starting with TSA agent procedures.

Alternative Title(s): The Journeyman Project Pegasus Prime, The Journeyman Project 2 Buried In Time, The Journeyman Project 3 Legacy Of Time


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