Ancient Speculation is a review periodical that covers incomplete OHRRPGCE games that have long been abandoned since their original release. I do my best to cover what little the game has to offer, as well as theorize on what “could have been”.
Threads of Time was released almost 14 years ago and is one of many OHRRPGCE games that starts out fairly strong while ultimately falling hard in the end.
The introduction makes you question your beliefs on “what we actually are”, and “what we are capable of doing” as human beings. Outside of a few grammatical errors, it is actually well written and does a pretty good job of grabbing your attention.
The story (or should I say introduction to the story) is by far the strongest aspect in Threads of Time, though it still leaves much to be desired. After the initial dialogue is over, you view a flashback of the main character, Vance, who apparently lost his sister to a freak attack a few years ago. When you wake up from his nightmare, you take control of the game for the first time. Unfortunately, that’s where the game takes a huge nosedive into a pile of poo.
Once the introductory text is over, the quality of dialogue gets much, much worse. There are tons of run-on sentences, as well as spelling/grammatical errors throughout the rest of the game. For some reason, the author also felt the need to capitalize random words as opposed to using rational capitalization.
Vance decides to visit his sister’s grave because today marks the anniversary of her death. I would be okay with the notion if the author made it clear exactly how long she has been dead. Over the course of the game, it is suggested by multiple characters that she’s been dead for two, three, and up to eight years. Apparently nobody really knows when she died, yet her departure from life still seems to be a sore spot with Vance. I think most people would agree that you’d probably remember the date of your sibling’s death pretty easily.
Before you head out, be sure to grab some flowers from your Grandma, who apparently owns the Inn and adopted you after your parents died (this Vance kid has had a tough life). Also be sure to snag a coffee…or two…or 50, from the Inn before you go. There are two treasure chests that give you an infinite amount of coffees, which act as restorative items in and out of combat. Either this was not intended, or the Inn happily supplies enough coffee to serve the entire world. Regardless, be sure to pick up at least a dozen coffees, because you will need them for the next part of the game.
Vance heads into the forest to pay respects to his sister. Along the way, you will be attacked by numerous plants and the occasional blob creature. After a couple of fights, you will see why the Inn coffee bug is so valuable. The enemies range from being pushovers to destroying you in just a couple rounds. Unless you want to use your entire supply of coffee, you should consider running from the harder enemies for now. Am I the only one that finds it amusing that Vance chose to bury his sister in a enemy-infested forest? Perhaps at one time it was a calm area, but I think that would make too much sense for this game.
Once you get to the gravestone, you pay your respects and then promptly leave. Vance doesn’t even leave the flowers at the grave! On the way back to town, you are confronted by the monster that apparently killed your sister. He has a lot of health, but isn’t very difficult if you have a few coffees at your disposal. Afterwards, you continue on your way home until you run into your friend, Nataly, whom tells you to get over the death of your sister. Not only does she lack subtlety in her words, but the grammar in this particular event is so bad that you may cry (I know I did).
After a hissy fit, she explains that the “gang” is getting back together and that they need Vance’s help (whatever that means). This girl obviously couldn’t give two craps that you are mourning on the the anniversary of your sister’s tragic death. She invites you by her home so that you both can go on an adventure to a nearby “haunted” mansion. This is actually explained in a bit more detail in-game, but none of it really makes any sense beyond the basics I just laid out.
Once you’ve visited Nataly’s home and reunited with the “gang” (which consists of one additional hero that sports incomplete walkabout and battle graphics), the game is essentially over. You can visit the mansion and do a couple things there, but none of it really matters or makes any sense. Can you see the recurring theme of things not making sense here?
Threads of Time makes use of several tracks from the Final Fantasy series, as well as multiple tracks from Chrono Trigger. While their placement is alright, I can’t help but not take a game serious when over half of its soundtrack comes from an ultra-popular professional game. In my opinion if you have to rip music, don’t rip more than one track per game. While you are at it, try to use lesser known titles so people are not thinking about how great the game you stole from is while they struggle to get through yours without vomiting.
Unfortunately, the ripping doesn’t stop with the music. it is quite obvious that the author ripped many graphics from the Final Fantasy series. The sad thing is that some of his original work is halfway decent, but there’s such a huge disconnect between the ripped and original work that it is a bit painful on the eyes. Ripping graphics and music from the same games once again reminds me that I could be playing THOSE games instead of THIS one, so why do it in the first place? Why make your own game if you’re stealing so many assets from pre-existing games?
If the ripping wasn’t enough for you, there are also numerous bugs riddled throughout Threads of Time. Wallmaps are missing in several areas, doors don’t work properly, and there’s even one house that will force you to restart the game unless you use debugging keys. At the beginning of the game, Vance mentions that he has no money to buy supplies. After entering the forest and defeating the boss, you have enough funds to buy all of the best equipment in the game about six times over. Some products in the item shops don’t cost anything at all! Other item descriptions are horribly wrong and do the exact opposite of what they describe.
Threads of Time is definitely a title I’m glad was never finished. Although it started off quite intriguing, it was very obvious that the author didn’t even bother playing the game before release. If your demo is in that bad of shape, it should have never been uploaded in the first place. I cringe thinking about how terrible the full game would have been given its current state.