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Titanic: Adventure Out of Time

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Titanic: Adventure Out of Time is a computer game developed by Cyberflix. It was published in Europe and the United States by Europress and GTE Entertainment respectively, released on October 31, 1996. The game is a point and click adventure game which sees the player traveling around a virtual representation of the RMS Titanic.

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time comes in three versions: a PC, Macintosh, or hybrid version that works on both the Windows and Mac. Version 1.0 of the game is an upgrade of the game from GTE Entertainment to just Cyberflix and is a stability upgrade first released in 1997. It comes in either a threefold CD jacket or a jewel case version. The French and German version of the game comes in two paper sleeves. The Mac and Windows versions were released first, produced by Cyberflix and distributed by GTE Entertainment in 1996. Hybrid versions of the game, which are compatible with both the Mac and Windows operating systems, were distributed and produced by Cyberflix after GTE Entertainment went out of business in 1997. Later versions were distributed by Hammerhead Entertainment, who took over production after Cyberflix also went out of business in 1998. The game is available in six languages: English, French, German, Dutch, Polish and Korean.

Summary

The game begins in April 1942 with the player (named Frank Carlson) being caught in an air raid during the London Blitz of World War II and being sent back in time to 1912 with an opportunity to change history. In 1912, he is a British secret agent on the RMS Titanic, who is told to retrieve a priceless copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The open-ended gameplay allows the player to either follow the storyline by solving puzzles or simply explore the rooms of the ship.

The player's first mission is to locate and retrieve the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is revealed to have been stolen earlier in the year and is now suspected of being in the possession of Zeitel, a German Oberst (Colonel) who is traveling on the Titanic under the guise of inspecting embassies in the United States and Central America. Along with the Colonel is his young protegé named Willie Von Haderlitz. It is revealed that the Colonel has made a deal with an art dealer named Sasha Barbicon to exchange the Rubaiyat for a rare painting, and they each act through an intermediary go-between, a Serbian stowaway named Vlad Demonic. In addition to the Rubaiyat and the painting, the player learns that Willie is a spy for the Russians and has in his possession a notebook with names of top Bolsheviks. The notebook is to be handed over to the Ochrana so that the Communist rebels will be executed, eliminating a threat to the Czar. As well, Sasha is in possession of a diamond necklace that that will finance a Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand.

During his mission, the agent also becomes involved in several sub-plots unrelated to the central mission or, for that matter, the winning conditions of the game. One important sub-plot begins by meeting the ship’s “gossip hound”, in the form of a wealthy middle-aged spinster named Daisy Cashmore. Cashmore gives the player a note to meet Andrew Conkling, the owner of Conkling Steel. Conkling tells the player to recover a business document of his that had been stolen by Shailagh Hacker, an Irish maid in his London house. Other plots include meeting and helping a wealthy couple (the Lambeths) whose marriage has gone bad, as well as meeting other passengers such as Leyland Sachum Trask, a psychic from Boston; Reverend Edgar Troutt, a religious preacher from Sunapee, New Hampshire who is returning from an African mission in Nyasaland; and Max Seidelman, an American freelance businessman from Philadelphia, who provide backstory and insight of varying value. Assisting the player from time to time is fellow agent Penny Pringle.

The number of objects the player recovers before escaping the ship affects the final cut scene and how history plays out. If the player obtains all the objects, history is altered with World War I, the Russian Revolution, and World War II never occurring - without the Rubaiyat or the diamonds the Black Hand is not financed and their plan to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which would have sparked World War I, is not executed. The painting Sasha was to trade to Zeitel was painted by Adolf Hitler, and its fame after it is recovered from the sinking causes Hitler to become a famous artist, averting World War II (the war plans hidden in it are actually useless, and so whether or not they are found is irrelevant to history). The notebook with the names of the Bolsheviks makes its way to Russia, and the Russian Revolution never occurs. With the world knowing peace and prosperity, the character retires after a successful career to a world of peace. Depending on which items the player fails to collect, history will change but wars or revolutions will still occur: alternative endings exist where Germany conquers Russia and England, or the Soviet Union conquers Europe, to name two.

Characters

Frank Carlson - Carlson is a redundant British secret agent living in a tiny London flat, surrounded by the painful memories of his failed mission on board the Titanic (and at least one other mission - a scorched Hindenburg ticket is in his desk). An exploding bomb suddenly propels him back in time. He has been placed upon the maiden voyage of the Titanic for enemy reconnaissance and to intercept a number of artifacts that have far more importance to the history of the modern world than they first appear. (There was in fact a man called Frank Carlson who was going to travel on the ship and was due to embark at Cherbourg, but his car broke down on the journey there and he missed the voyage)[1]

Penny Pringle - Pringle is a fellow English agent of Carlson who is responsible for initiating his mission and providing helpful advice and directions. Due to accidentally being booked in 2nd class accommodation, her ability to move about the ship and assist Carlson is limited. It is unclear whether she survives the shipwreck; however, if Carlson does not leave the ship before the last lifeboat Pringle is nowhere to be found. Thus implying she left with the lifeboats, despite at one point her offering to take the needed items from Carlson "if worse comes to worse"

Colonel Zeitel - This German Colonel can be considered the main antagonist of the game. Ostensibly inspecting embassies of the German Empire in the Americas, Colonel Zeitel is, in fact, traveling on board the Titanic to secretly trade a valuable copy of the Rubaiyat with a Serbian revolutionary in exchange for a stolen painting created by the then unknown Adolf Hitler (valuable to Germany, at the time, not because of the artist but because of secret war plans hidden in it). Later, he also acts to prevent the Russians from obtaining a notebook containing the names of important Communist revolutionaries, whom Germany supports in the hopes of weakening Russia. Zeitel is last seen standing on deck at the very stern of the ship moments before it sinks, and goes down with it. Depending on the type of ending, however, Zeitel manages to leave the ship by obtaining a pass from the player.

Willie von Haderlitz - Colonel Zeitel's Austrian protégé, Willie von Haderlitz is a junior professor at the University of Vienna in Austria-Hungary. However, it is later revealed that he is in fact a spy for the Czar, suggested after Willie gives Carlson a ring with Russian characters engraved on its inner band, and has compiled a list (most likely with information gained from Zeitel) of Communist revolutionaries working in Russia. Willie invites Carlson to a fencing match which takes place in the Titanic's squash court. After the match, Willie makes an ironic statement and informs Carlson that the Titanic is nearing the Grand Banks and that the ancient Vikings thought that part of the Atlantic Ocean is cursed. He is later found dead, electrocuted in the electric bath (located in the Turkish bath), presumedly murdered by Zeitel after he realizes that Willie is a spy and is not loyal to Germany. He dies in the Turkish around half an hour before the ship strikes the iceberg.

Sasha Barbicon - Sasha Barbicon is an English/Serbian art dealer who "isn't above selling stolen merchandise". Sasha's uses his wealth and art gallery in London as a front for meetings of sympathizers for the Black Hand terrorist organisation. He is smuggling the painting for Colonel Zeitel in exchange for the Rubaiyat, which he will use to fund the Black Hand's operations. He also steals a diamond necklace from Lady Lambeth, replacing it with a fake, for the same purpose. During the sinking, he is killed by Vlad Demonic in the Turbine Room for not being loyal to Serbia and the Black Hand cause.

Vlad Demonic - A Serbian stowaway on board the Titanic, Vlad has vowed revenge against the Austrians for the murder of his family. He is in the pay of Sasha Barbicon. Vlad is later revealed to be a member of the Serbian organization the Black Hand. If the player gives him a shawl (in exchange for the Rubaiyat) during the sinking, he is able to get into First Class and one of the lifeboats, after finding him with Sasha Barbicon's corpse in the Turbine Room - where he had killed him for being disloyal to Serbia and the Black Hand.

Andrew Conkling - Andrew Conkling is the American owner of the fictional business Conkling Steel, who provided the metal used in the Titanic, which was later revealed to be high in sulfur. He is shot by Third Officer Morrow after trying to force his way into a lifeboat with bribery.

Beatrix Conkling - Beatrix Conkling is an American and the wife of Andrew Conkling. She is an interior designer on her way to Los Angeles to help design the interior decorations of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Beatrix is revealed to be unable to conceive children of her own so she chooses to steal her maid Shailagh Hacker's newborn son, Eddie - her original plan was uncovered by Shailagh when she resigned as their maid in London. After the Titanic hits the iceberg, it is revealed that she snatched Shailagh's baby son, and the player returns the baby to Shailagh after trading the letter about the Titanic to Mrs Conkling. She escapes the sinking ship in one of the lifeboats.

Shailagh Hacker - Shailagh Hacker is the Irish maid of Andrew and Beatrix Conkling, and the mother of Mr. Conkling's newborn son, Eddie. Both she and her baby survive the sinking.

Jack Hacker - Jack Hacker is a third class Irish passenger and brother of Shailagh Hacker. He leaves in the final lifeboat, despite having admitted shortly before that he had given up hope of escaping.

Lady Georgia Lambeth - Lambeth is an English lady and former lover of Carlson from five years earlier. She is eventually poisoned by Colonel Zeitel, who is trying to blackmail Carlson into handing over the painting. Carlson is left with the choice of handing over the painting to Zeitel in return for an antidote, or to keep the painting and let Lady Georgia die. However, he can save both Georgia and the painting if he wins the "Death" card from Buick Riviera in a game of blackjack. The card functions as a ticket to a lifeboat and can be given to Zeitel instead of the painting in exchange for the antidote.

Lord Charles Lambeth - Englishman Lord Charles Lambeth is the arrogant, elitist, aristocratic and estranged husband of Lady Georgia. He is in debt with Andrew Conkling after borrowing money which he is unable to pay back. He leaves Lady Georgia on the Boat Deck and remains in the First Class Smoking Room to die like a gentleman, quoting that he was "going to the devil full of gin".

Third Officer Morrow - Morrow is a British veteran of the Second Boer War and an officer on duty on the night of the sinking. He goes down with the ship after launching the last of the life boats.

Daisy Cashmore - Daisy Cashmore is a wealthy British spinster and an old friend of Carlson's. She loves to talk gossip and usually cuts Carlson off as soon as she spots another passenger she wishes to gossip with. She dies after being too fussy about who she should ride with in the lifeboats.

Ribeena & Henry Gorse-Jones - The Gorse-Joneses wealthy elderly couple from Haltwhistle, England. They provide comic relief by constantly nagging at one another whenever Carlson encounters them in the game. They escape the ship on one of the first lifeboats during the sinking, offering Carlson the chance to escape with them. They don't seem to understand the seriousness of the situation, claiming that the Titanic is safe, that the passengers could be acting more civilized and, in the case of Mr. Gorse-Jones, worried that they could be in the Smoking Room drinking a glass of gin.

Eric Burns - Eric Burns is an American photographer on his honeymoon on board the Titanic with his newlywed, Stephanie, who is upset at him not spending much time with her. He has a vast collection of photographs of other passengers. He is not seen after the ship hits the iceberg.

Stephanie Burns - Though the player cannot engage in conversation with Stephanie Burns, she is a recurring character in the game. She is angry at her new husband for not spending enough time with her on their honeymoon. She is seen on the Boat Deck during the sinking.

Leyland Sachum Trask - Trask is an American psychic (or sensitive, as he calls it) from Boston, Massachusetts. He occasionally provides hints and foreshadowing future storyline developments. He decides to remain on the First Class Lounge during the sinking, claiming that he is too old and fat for one of the lifeboats. Surprisingly, he reveals to have known about the Titanic´s fate all along and that your actions throughout the game have changed the past and indeed the future.

Max Seidelman - Max Seidelman is an American gambler, smoker, and friend to Carlson. Seidelman is a buyer for Haymakers Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he resides. He is very outgoing and gregarious. Carlson meets Seidelman on the night of the sinking. Seidelman first introduces Carlson to Zeitel and then suggests to Carlson to play blackjack with Buick Riviera. He does not survive the sinking.

Claris Limehouse - Limehouse is a young American woman, who travels first class on the Titanic. Willie von Haderlitz apparently befriends her and the two begin a romance while aboard the Titanic. The player then encounters her in the lounge, where he informs her of Willie's death before she escapes on a lifeboat.

Reverend Edgar Troutt - Edgar Troutt is an American minister returning from a religious mission in Nyasaland to Sunapee, New Hampshire, where he and his late wife, Emily, lived. Troutt tells Carlson that Emily apparently contracted intestinal parasites on the way back from Africa and died as soon as they reached Port Said. The Reverend refuses to leave the ship while there are women and children on board and dies in the freezing waters of the Atlantic. He remains consoling the doomed passengers on the Boat Deck until the very end. Before going down, he confesses to the player that he bought his ticket for the Titanic by siphoning funds from the mission in Nyasaland.[2]

The Purser - The Purser provides the player with assistance and can keep valuable items safe. His office is closed after the Titanic hits the iceberg and he is not seen after this.

The Lift Attendant - The Lift Attendant operates the lift in the Grand Staircase and can provide the player with detailed directions to any part of the ship. The lifts are shut down when the Titanic hits the iceberg and the attendant is not seen after this.

John Smethells - The straight-laced prim and proper John Smethells, or just "Smethells", is Carlson's and Haderlitz's steward. He can provide general assistance throughout the game and can direct the player to his next objective on occasion. He is not seen after the Titanic collides with the iceberg.

Buick Riviera - Riviera is a middle aged French man from somewhere in the French Riviera. He is a Blackjack aficionado who apparently spends a lot of time at Monte Carlo Casino before he boarded the Titanic for America. Upon meeting the player, Buick asks Carlson if they have already met at the casino in Diamondback, New Mexico. Buick talks fondly of his time there. (This was done in reference to an earlier CyberFlix game Dust: A Tale of the Wired West.) Throughout the game, he is playing cards in the smoking room, and does not leave even when the ship begins to sink.

Ship's Tour

Besides the game, the CD-ROM also included a separate exploration feature that featured characters in the game discussing various aspects of the ship, its crew, and the sinking. These characters would be placed at locations around the ship. Three character narrations were included with the game, while others could be downloaded from the game's website (a later reissue of the game included a bonus CD-ROM with these downloadable narrations). They were later available for download on the website of Cyberflix's successor Barracuda, and are now available at Titanic-Titanic.com.

The computer graphics of the ship have been used in several documentaries about the Titanic, due to their authenticity. However, on a ship with a complement of around 2,200, the game portrays the Titanic as almost deserted. However, the game takes place the night before the sinking, which was very late Sunday evening, when "there won't be many people out", as Smethells states at the beginning of the game. With the exception of the main characters, there are only a few sparse "wallpaper" characters who appear as unmoving figures in the hallways and major rooms of the ship.

Music

Throughout the story, Chopin's Preludes Op. 28 No. 7 provides a haunting ambiance to the game. Some other tracks used throughout the game (as well as the intro) were written by Scott Scheinbaum and Erik Holt. They were later available on the website of Cyberflix's successor Barracuda, and can still be found on this page's archive.

Connection with Dust: A Tale of the Wired West

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time is linked in some ways to another Cyberflix game, Dust.

  • "Buick Riviera." In Dust, Riviera is a con artist in a remote town in the Old West who keeps borrowing money from the player; in Titanic, Riviera is now a middle-aged man who spends his time playing blackjack on the doomed ship. If the player indicates having been to Diamondback, New Mexico (the setting of Dust), by saying, "Yes, we met at the Hard Drive Saloon", Riviera thereafter uses a special deck of cards marked with the logo of the saloon from Diamondback for the blackjack game.
  • The actor who plays the photographer Eric Burns (Erik S. Quist) also appears in Dust as Farmer Quist.[1]
  • When talking with Haderlitz in the squash court while fencing, he mentions he is headed to study the Yunni Indian tribe in New Mexico, the setting of Dust.
  • Before Max Seidelman meets you in the smoking room during the game, he says, "I've got to see a man about a horse", a phrase used by the Narrator in some of the endings of Dust.
  • If you go to the dressing table in the Turkish bath (where there is a message written in steam) there are boxes for three Cyberfix computer games, Dust, Skull Cracker, and Jump Raven.
  • A special feature of the game provides previews to three Cyberflix games, Dust, Skull Cracker, and Red Jack's Revenge (Later named, Redjack: Revenge of the Brethren)

Other Facts

  • The playable character, Frank Carlson, was the name of a real-life ticket-holder of the Titanic. However, on his way to the dock in Cherbourg, France, his car broke down and he never actually received the chance to board the liner. His name remained on the passenger list.
  • There was a real jewel-encrusted copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam on the Titanic. It was won at an auction and was being shipped to New York. The book remains lost to this day.

External links

References

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tlNNgoJHQk&feature=related

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