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time-gents-11.jpgTime Gentlemen, Please! (PC) Zombie Cow Studios
9/10

Indie game designers Dan Marshal and Ben Ward have done it again with Time Gentlemen, Please!, their new time-traveling sequel to Ben There, Dan That!.

After returning home from their previous adventure and finding themselves the unquestioned rulers of the world the over-eager duo decide to celebrate with a global back to back Magnum PI marathon and in the process end up accidentally causing the death of everyone on earth when they forget to specify the need for snack breaks. After traveling back in time to try and set things right they return home ready to give themselves a hearty pat on the back only to find none other than Hitler rolling through the streets of London with a gustepping clone-a-saurus crew, scheming to befoul the rivers of time with his vile presence.

Ah, Hitler- The historical Bond villain everyone loves to hate. In this case though, is the grumpy little guy really to blame? You would think that being responsible for the death of the entire human population, committing Jock-genocide, endangering existence as we know it, and causing a laser-vision version of Hitler would have earned Dan and Ben a shot at the title of history’s greatest evil-doom-bringers, but their lovable bumbling and witty quips are just too darn charming to fuss about piddling things like that.

I thought I would take this opportunity to talk to you a little about time travel. I know we all love to fantasize about going back through history to face off against the Fuhrer, but if you think about it, as epic as that is it’s not really the best bang for your time-traveling buck. Getting even for the Holocaust is all well and good, but practically speaking, it isn’t the best way to go about it. I mean, if World War I didn’t happen then Deutschland’s national pride would most likely not have been injured enough to let angry Charlie Chaplin win an election in the first place. The industrial revolution would still have been in full swing, and most importantly enormous handlebar mustaches would still be in fashion.

And the way I see it, if these dinosaurs are doing all the dirty work then it is reasonable to assume the rest of the citizens aren’t busy being Nazis. As nice as it would be to be able to believe in the good of humanity and vindicate the German people of any war-related wrongdoing, the harsh reality though is- We need our Nazis. Just think: No Indiana Jones, no more fetishly erotic historical WWII slash-fic, no slam-dunk Oscar nomination holocaust films,  Skinhead family fun day picnics, or charity e-bay auctions for swastika decorated teapots. The Internet as we know it wouldn’t know what to do with itself. Can we really live with that guilt?

Truly, the greatest monster is ourselves.

At the core “Time Gentlemen, Please!” is a delightful buddy adventure with well-thought out puzzles that feel both original and nostalgically familiar while still offering a surprise or two up their sleeve, and take the extra care to not just go for the easy way out or use contrived indecipherable logic. The game sets itself apart as one of the most true to the spirit of the old Lucas Arts games as has come around in ages. There is nothing but love for the genre and the way its creators painstakingly crafted the game is a sign of that. Small details like including a settings bar to adjust the level of racism, and the authentically recorded sounds of an ancient PC idling while you clunkily type away really set the game at a whole new level. While you can opt to speed through the game I was both happy and eager to go through all the dialogue options to hear the rich assortment of fun responses. Having played both the first game and “Time Gentlemen”, I was pleased to see this one take on much more of a personality of its own, though there is a clear undeniably meta feel to the structure. The genre references take a distinctively surreal turn, reaching way back to when the first adventurers emerged from the primordial ooze. Be forewarned, in this game you can be assured that you will be handling everything and anything unpleasant, including a host of bodily fluids both natural and artificial. So bring gloves, or just an easily manipulateable sidekick.

While fighting Hitler, dinosaur armies, escaping jail cells, and traveling through time are scenarios others have explored before I doubt you will find many games that make them more fun. And it does offer something that no other game has: A balloon in the shape of a woman’s ovaries.

Join Dan and Ben next time on their up-coming quest to prevent Archduke Ferdinand and his menagerie of sultry henchwomen from ruining Christmas.

–Laura Gaddy

Play the free demo of Time Gentlemen. Please! or purchase the full game for a mere $5ish dollars HERE.

You can also play the whole glorious entirety of Ben There, Dan That! absolutely FREE!