Julia - Sweet Sixties
(German title: Julias Zeitreise)
Release date: 10/2001
Publisher: Topos / Limesoft
A review by slydos 17th November 2001
Julia - Sweet Sixties is announced as a time travelling adventure game particularly for girls at the age between 10 and 16 years. Our heroine Julia is a fifteen-year old teenager from today with her quite normal problems with parents and her environment. On this day everything goes wrong and sadly she tells her friend Mel about it over the internet. The friend wants to help her and refers Julia to an internet page, which absorbs her and pulls her into the past of the Sixties instead of only to the morning of the same day. Julia's friend Mel stays in contact by face-to-face phone and tries to help. Julia finds out that somebody wants to prevent that her parents meet at all. Should this work, it would have naturally fatal effects on the present and Julias existence. Thus she begins to employ and tries to repair everything ...
Julia absorbed by the past
The installation of the game from 1 CD, developed with Macromedia Flash, runs smoothly (tested under Windows 95 and Windows ME) and takes only scarcely 3 MB on the fixed disk. With the start of this point&click adventure in 1st person perspective you arrive at the main menu, where you can begin a new game or restore a saved game. Unfortunately the likewise inserted link to the homepage (www.juliaszeitreise.de) does not function. So here the gamer can't expect assistance and you are also searching for the manual in vain in the DVD box and on the CD.
But however the menu guidance at the bottom of the screen is self-describing and you can get here information about the use of the other icons under the question mark icon and about the handling of the game. Here you can always get help of the friend by face-to-face phone, find a further option menu for note book function, save, load and quit the game, call a map (where you can also move fast from place to place) and the two inventories. The mouse control is very simple - if the possibility exists to talk to a person, the cursor changes to a hand icon and a selection menu for the text opens.
If you come to a point in the conversation, in which a certain object can clarify Julia's questions, a signal resounds and the concerned inventory pulsates for a moment. Here you are called to apply the correct object. At the beginning you receive thereby automatical help from Mel. Often the persons, with whom Julia speaks, have a sore spot and are not to be about to supply further information. Then Julia uses her handbag (2nd inventory), in which she carries items from the present, e.g. a walkman or a mobile phone, which can make her vis-á-vis more generous with information. Julia collects everything that isn't nailed - you can detect such things likewise by the appearing hand icon.
Julia moves like a private eye from indication to indication, receives new information and notes through each conversation, which brings her nearer to the solution. She has to apply collected objects in the correct places, has to ask questions in the correct order and in one case also has to solve a logic puzzle. The puzzles are logical and relative easy. However I also got stuck in two or three places. If you can't go on, you can ask Mel, who gives usually only standard answers however.
A greater help is then Shy Ann, a esoteric breathed on medicine student, who stops Julia for the answers to questions about topics of the Sixties. When Julia answers three of these questions correctly with Yes or No, she gets a hint from Shy Ann. If you are wrong with three responses, the game is over. Some of these questions are really hard, since one should be versed actually in contemporary history. For example it is asked whether Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, whether Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary were the poets of the flower power generation or whether the Queen ennobled the Rolling Stones 1964.
In this 2D-adventure the drawn characters and objects are placed into a real photographed background, not economizing with Pop colours at all, neither with the background design nor with the characters - sharply and psychedelic, multicolored and high-contrast, completely in the style of the Sixties! If you look at the paintings and graffitis on sidewalks or walls, perhaps you will doubt one moment whether it was really so extreme at that time! I can still remind and can see a rainbow colored Siddharta-poster on my partly orange colored partly yellow colored flower wallpaper and remember, how I, like many other things, painted my old typewriter orange - the typewriter did not function thereafter any longer however the effect of the object was naturally enormously increased - my opinion at that time!
Thus the graphics are absolutely coherent and also the scenery, San Francisco as metropolis of the flower power movement well selected. Everywhere you discover events and persons of that time, for example from Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy to Janis Joplin and Sergeant Pepper. Through the personal stories of our characters womens' lib and anti-war movement are shining through, music taste and religious esoteric afinities too.
Contrary to me the target group will however estimate fewer the reidentifier value than the actually suspenseful story.
Actually there are two stories in the game: At the beginning you can select whether you want to bestead first, Julia's mother or her father. Both stories with the same characters and locations, however perfectly different dialogues, inventory objects and also another guilty one with another motive at the end.
The story with the more difficult puzzles is the mother. Julia stays in her mother's student circle of friends, a successful biology student, tracing an ecological crime - she has collected photographic proofs of the fact that a large chemistry enterprise discharges DDT in the water and has anonymously contacted the reporter of the Guardian, Julia's father, in order to blow the cover. But the evidence was stolen and other strange things occur. Julia must find out, who wants to thwart the meeting of the two and collects evidence and information to expose the guilty one in the long run. She will be successful, if she listens exactly and does not hesitate, to broach the subject again also a second or a third time. If she then accuses someone, the evidence should be sufficient, otherwise you won't see the final sequence.
After watching this last scene, you will be informed, what the main characters will become 23 years later. Our helpful flower friend Shy Ann will therefore play another role in the next time travelling adventure of Julia, who cannot return into the present yet. In the next game we'll see her again in Paris of the 20's.
The Sixties were an exciting, revolutionary time of large, social and technological modifications: unforgotten mode, new music trends, civil rights, emancipation, a disputed war in Vietnam, first humans on the moon, peace marches, flower power and great movie productions. The developers made their point with the feeling of this time without instruction but ease. Surely not only for female teenagers, but for all, who would like to slip into this time without difficult puzzles and easily entertained.
Love & Piece, friends!
A sleuth game in the Sixties that let you undergo the youth of your parents perhaps - something different! Professional speakers, funny dialogues and the accompanying background music round it off.
Unfortunately there are only 12 save slots cannot be marked with texts. The game length (approximately 10 - 12 hours) is quite short! The link to the indicated homepage was dead.
My rating: 76%
80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable 70% - 79% good game, recommendable 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable) 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only) 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
- Windows 95/98/2000/NT 4.0 or higher
- Pentium 166 Mhz or higher
- 32 MB RAM
- Graphic card 24bit
- 16bit Sound card
- 8x CDROM-drive
- Pentium III 850
- 128 MB RAM
- Sound- and graphic cards DirectX-compatible
- Toshiba DVD-ROM