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The Non-Boring Journey to Pompeii Walkthrough


Timescape: Journey to Pompeii is a highly linear game. There are only three optional actions you can take in the entire game (unless you count dying and reloading, which I don't.) With no way to examine objects more closely, there are few interesting details to be noticed. There aren't multiple quest solutions or interactive conversational options. There's no chance at all, basically, of your missing anything in this game. If you finish it, you'll have seen everything. So Timescape: Journey to Pompeii is not a game in need of my "travel guide" series of low-spoiler walkthroughs, which focus on broadening players' enjoyment of games by pointing them towards potentially interesting things they might not have thought of doing on their own.

But there's another type of walkthrough that might be of great use to you--especially if you're playing with your kids--and that's a guide to eliminate tedium. Journey to Pompeii is a game that relies on trial and error a lot, frequently leaving you with nothing to do but comb the city until you find the one location an NPC turns out to be standing in. It's also a game that kills you a lot. Frequently without warning, sometimes after a timer expires so that you can accidentally save your game in an unwinnable state, and once or twice in ways that it's impossible to avoid without trying it, noting the details, and reloading with this meta-knowledge in your head. There's nothing fun about having to replay swaths of a linear adventure game because of random deaths that aren't even your fault. So here's my Non-Boring Guide to Timescape: Journey to Pompeii, in which I tell you exactly where all the interesting parts of this game are and in which order to do them to maintain the highest fun-to-tedium ratio. There are no puzzle spoilers in this walkthrough. I tell you where the puzzles are and whether it's possible to solve them yet, but not how to go about it. I tell you where to save your game to insulate you against Adrian's glass jaw the best, but not what's going to happen to him if you don't (see here for the full list of deaths and unhappy endings in this game.) If you're looking for the solution to a particular Timescape: Journey to Pompeii puzzle, I recommend the excellent UHS site--you can only see one hint at a time there, so you can get the answer to one puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. My walkthrough, bare-boned by design, is meant to help lead you past those sticking points that are the fault of the interface, bad writing in the game, or just your own uncertainty about what you're supposed to be doing next. Feel free to print it out and use it to help lend some added direction to your travels through Timescape: Journey to Pompeii. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example, and just want to know whether there's anything you're going to hate in it--please try my Journey to Pompeii Review page to find all the pertinent information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

The Non-Boring Journey to Pompeii Walkthrough

The game opens with a confusing cutscene about the Babylonian goddess Ishtar coming onto some hapless Daniel Jackson-type archaeologist, then getting pissed off and sending his girlfriend back in time to ancient Pompeii. With me so far? No? Well, it doesn't matter if you are or not: forget all of it. It will never be mentioned again. Apparently this was the set-up for an intended trilogy of games about Adrian and Sophia, and Ishtar's malevolent deus-ex-machina jealousy was going to be the plot arc that tied the three together. But Cryo Interactive went out of business before they could make the other two games, so the introduction just sort of sits there like a forgotten, long-expired carton of milk in the back of your fridge that you really don't want to try opening. The actual plot is about Adrian trying to rescue his girlfriend from Pompeii before the volcano blows up. But she's lost her memories and isn't sure who he is and doesn't want to leave her adopted family and so on, so he has to four days to find her, persuade her, and get her out of town. Before the volcano blows up. And kills everyone in a climactic cutscene. Now we're all on the same page.

DAY ONE

Adrian comes to in an ancient Roman villa which is actually a reconstruction of the House of the Cithara Player in Pompeii. You can wander around it marveling at the mosaics and murals and so on till you're used to the interface, but actually getting out of this house can be a real aggravation, because none of the doors that would seem to lead out are clickable. What you need to do is click on the striped wall hanging in the atrium with the trees and pool of water in the middle. It turns out that's actually a door to the vestibule. I got lost in this house more than a few times during this game, because there are three atria in here and two of them look rather similar to each other. But there's actually nothing that ever happens anywhere in this whole house ever except for the atrium with the little pool and the vestibule, so look around the other rooms as much as you want to, but don't be too concerned about them.

*Figure out how to open the chest in the vestibule. You won't be able to leave the house till you do this and talk to the people who come in. In every case from now on, whenever you talk to someone, you need to exhaust all possible conversational options before moving on. Otherwise you will frequently find yourself unable to proceed.

*After you step outside the house, save your game. There's a timed puzzle coming up. As with all timed puzzles in this game, failing to solve it in time will result in your death. Adrian has a very fragile constitution.

*Next you will need to go to the forum. Actually, you have no other choice; all the other roads are impassable until later in the plot.

*Explore the forum until you find Harpocrates. The plot will not advance until after listen to what Harpocrates has to say. Talking to the secretary in the duumvir's office is one of only a few optional encounters in the game. You can either talk to the people in Eumachia's house now or later, it makes no difference.

*Nothing more will happen until you return to the entrance to the forum, where Popidius will reappear.

*Go to Eumachia's house and talk to Harpocrates again.

*Go into Eumachia's house, talk to everyone if you haven't yet, and then solve the cloth puzzle. Talk to Eumachia and the fuller until you've exhausted all options. Ignore the fact that you now know where Sophia lives; you won't be able to reach it on your map anyway until Day Two.

*Dionysius' tavern can now be entered, so find the tavern door and go inside (use the map to help yourself, if you need to.)

*Solve the basket puzzle.

*Solve the loaded dice puzzle.

*Now exhaust all conversational options with everyone in the bar. You will not be able to access the baths, which is where you are supposed to go next, until you have located a free source of paint for Popidius. I don't know whether this was an error in translation or just sloppy game design, because neither Popidius nor anyone else ever requested free paint, but the chapter can't end until you have acquired some.

*Finally, go to the baths. They're north of the forum. In the cutscene that follows, there is a poetry-reciting contest. You have the choice of verses to recite; which one you pick has no bearing on the game.

DAY TWO

*Disturb Popidius at prayer. Seriously. He'll just motion you to be quiet, but you won't be able to leave this house until Adrian realizes Popidius is busy... and Adrian's not as quick on the uptake as you are.

*Exit the house. You'll automatically get a cutscene movie on your way.

*Once you've encountered Fructus, the Temple of Isis will now be accessible, so turn around and go to the Temple of Isis. You'll bump into a public servant enroute, who will ask you if you've seen Fructus, but it's irrelevant whether you answer "yes" or "no."

*If nothing is happening, pixel-hunt around on the ground until you find an object to pick up. That will trigger the unrelated entry of an NPC, who you should of course talk to until all options are exhausted.

*Now you have to collect ingredients. You can collect them in any order you like:
1) Three stones from Octavius' garden
2) Wine, oil and incense from either Popidius' house or the tavern
3) Rose from a rosebush on the side of the street
4) Powdered donkey tooth from the bakery
5) Drop of blood and tear of Apollo from the Temple of Apollo
Make sure you save your game before you do the next one, because it's possible to die there.
6) Feather from the Temple of Isis

*Once you have everything, you have to find Locusta again, but this is impossible until you solve the unrelated problem of the donkey outside the flower shop.

*Once the florist has appropriately rewarded you, go back to Dionysius' tavern because that's where Locusta will be standing.

*Now you must go into the back room to talk to Marcus. Actually playing his game with him is optional, and since it's a very dull game, you may just want to exit out of the screen.

*Finally, you can go into Octavius' house and try to get Sophia interested in you! (You can talk to her less approving adoptive mother, too.)

DAY THREE

*Step outside the house and save your game. There's a timed event coming up.

*Go ahead down the street and deal with the timed event. Reload and deal with it again if you have to.

*After that talking-completely-to-everybody-in-the-vicinity thing, you'll end up on the javelin field. Save your game before throwing any javelins. Those things are sharp. Throwing javelins is entirely optional, but you can get some special cutscenes if you throw them in the direction of Mt. Vesuvius, which will result in some new dialogue at the end of this chapter (different dialogue depending whether the javelin is decorated or not at the time, too!)

*Go clockwise around the arena, until Locusta appears to talk to you. Exhaust all conversational options.

*Go counter-clockwise around the arena, until you find a guard to talk to (he won't be there until you've first talked to Locusta.) Save your game before talking to him as you can be executed if you say the wrong thing to him. Save the game again before talking to Fructus, because there's a wrong choice here, too.

*Go clockwise around the arena, until Palmyre and her gladiator boyfriend appear. Exhaust all conversational options with them, as usual.

*Go up into the arena and figure out how to get through the gate.

*Save the game again before approaching Fructus, because it's easy to die here.

*Now head back to Octavius' house. Optionally you can stop by the tavern first to play some more Tali with Pyramus, but it's a completely boring game and you don't need money so I don't know why you'd want to.

*At Octavius' house, you have to convince Sophia to leave town with you. (If you seem to be at a total impasse, look around Sophia for a hot spot and start clicking random objects on it till she starts talking to you again.)

DAY FOUR

*First talk to Popidius.

*Then head to the Street of Abundance intersection and talk to the donkey driver, but it doesn't matter what you say to him.

*Before you can explore the new area you need to--the Triangular Forum where the theater is--you will first have to exhaust all conversational options with the florist and the tavernkeep.

*Now you can enter the Triangular Forum, but you still can't do anything at the theater, so go to the other end instead, by where the ruins are, and find Locusta. She's of on the eastern steps of the ruins, facing a big tree. You won't be able to see her until you're in precisely the same area she is.

*Save your game. Timed puzzle coming up with a very short time limit and very few cues.

*Get Locusta her damn branch. You'd think this woman would appreciate you a little more, for all the times you risk your neck for her and her crazy son...

*Once you've finished talking to Locusta, people will appear at the theater. You can see where it is on your map, but it's hard to get to with the interface; you need to go all the way back to the exit, but instead of walking through it, turn 90 degrees to the right and go forward. Then, you can turn right and walk down this walkway to the theater. It doesn't matter what you say to the aedile.

*Go into the theater. Don't neglect to pixel-hunt for objects, because you won't be able to progress in the plot if you don't have everything. Talk to the incredibly annoying diva actor. Remember, "escape" skips you past his dialogue. All he tells you anyway is "One of my actors has left, so our troupe can't act for Popidius." But at a much higher decibel.

*Go to the bakery. Talk to the baker and to Fructus.

*Figure out how to disguise Fructus.

*Go back to the theater. Go inside and just talk to everyone until all dialogue options have been exhausted.

*Go to the Temple of Isis.

*Save your game.

*Find the sylphium. It doesn't actually matter how you answer the priest's question, he'll let you keep guessing.

*Go back to Propidius' house. Exhaust all conversational options with him, then play his cook's guessing game (it's just for fun and you have as many tries as you want.)

*You will appear in front of Octavius' garden at night. Save your game. Once you take the next action, the next part of the game is on a timer, so if you get a bland "You have failed" EOG screen, it's because your time has fun out.

*Use the nightingale on the door. I'm assuming Sophia must have told you to do this in the original French version of the game; there's no clue about it anywhere in the English version.

*Escape the attack on Adrian. Pretty much the only way to do this is to let him die, then reload, then move away from the direction the attack is going to come from.

*Catch Adrian's assailant. If you squint, you can just make out his silhouette ahead of you in the darkness. Follow him as far as you can, then move around until you hear a noise, turn around, and go get him.

*Interrogate and incapacitate Adrian's assailant. Don't delay about it, because the timer's still running. Once he's incapacitated, you may want to save your game again, but in a different slot than the last savegame.

*Find Sophia. I'm not sure if a second timer starts or this is part of the same timer, but you can run out of time here, too. There are no ingame hints as to where Sophia is, and you will not be able to see her until you are standing right in the same square with her. If you run out of time, reload and search somewhere else.

DAY FIVE

This is the endgame.

*Go to Stabies Gate. If you can't click on it, it means you and Sophia aren't prepared to leave yet.

*Get past the guard at the gate. There are three distinct ways to do this, so save before talking to him if you want to try more than one of them.

And that's it. Congratulations, you've completed the game!

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