Its demo version is called Titanic: The Lost Mission.
Characters in Titanic: Adventure Out of Time were rendered by way of photographs of actors given limited animation in sync with dialogue. The producers of this game used this same style of rendering for a previous adventure entitled Dust: A Tale of the Wired West.
The game begins in April 1942 with the main character (whose name is 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 was a British secret agent on the RMS Titanic, who must retrieve a priceless copy of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and now has a second chance to complete his mission. 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 Rubáiyát, 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 in the manner of inspecting embassies in the United States and Central America. Traveling with the Colonel is his young protegé, Willi Von Haderlitz, an Austrian Jr. Professor. It is revealed that the Colonel has made a deal with a Shady art dealer from London named Sasha Barbicon to exchange The Rubáiyát for an apparently unimportant painting, in which there are hidden war plans stolen from the British government. They each act through an intermediary go-between, a Serbian stowaway named Vlad Demonic. In addition to The Rubáiyát and the painting, Frank learns that Willi is a spy for the Russians and has a notebook with names of top Bolshevik leaders, people whom Zeitel is in alliance with; The notebook must be handed over to the Ochrana so that Communist rebels will be executed, preventing a threat to the Czar; it is also revealed that Zeitel is after the notebook in hopes of destroying it and causing chaos in Russia. Barbicon is also in possession of a stolen diamond necklace that will finance a Serbian military group called the Black Hand.
During his mission, Frank also becomes involved in several subplots that do not pertain to the central mission or, for that matter, the winning conditions of the game. One important subplot begins by meeting the ship’s 'gossip hound', in the form of a wealthy middle-aged spinster named Daisy Cashmore, who hands the player a note to meet with Andrew Conkling, the owner of Conkling Steel. Conkling tells the player to retrieve a business document that had been stolen by Shailagh Hacker, an Irish maid who had worked at his house in London. Other plots include meeting and helping the Lambeths, a wealthy couple whose marriage has deteriorated, as well as meeting with other passengers including Leyland 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 Seidelmann, an American freelance businessman from Philadelphia, who provides a back story and insight of varying value. Assisting the player from time to time is fellow agent Penny Pringle.
The number of objects the player retrieves before escaping the ship affects the final cut scene and how history is played out. If the player manages to retrieve all four objects, history is altered with World War I, the Russian Revolution and World War II never occurring — without The Rubáiyát AND 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) fails. The painting Barbicon was going to trade in to Zeitel was actually 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 the Czar, 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 certain wars or revolutions will still occur: alternative endings exist where Germany conquers Russia and the United Kingdom, or the Soviet Union conquers Europe, to name two.
- Penny Pringle (Pamela Hurley) — Pringle is a fellow English agent of Carlson who is responsible for initiating his mission and providing helpful advice and directions. After accidentally being booked in Second Class, her ability to roam around the ship to assist Carlson is limited.
- Vlad Demonic (Tom Appleton) — 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 any key item Vlad might be having) during the sinking, he is able to get into First Class and into one of the lifeboats, after finding him with Sasha Barbicon's body in the Turbine Room.
- Beatrix Conkling (Jennifer Coffin) — 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 steals 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 swiped Eddie, and Carlson returns him to Shailagh after trading in a letter about the steel in the Titanic to Mrs. Conkling.
- Shailagh and Jack Hacker — Shailagh Hacker is an Irish maid of Andrew and Beatrix Conkling, and the mother of Mr. Conkling's newborn son, Eddie. She and her brother Jack both travel Third Class.
- Ribeena and Henry Gorse-Jones — The Gorse-Joneses are a 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 a 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 Smoke Room drinking a glass of gin.
- Lord Charles Lambeth (Joe Loesch) — 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 and remains on the ship to die like a gentleman, quoting that he was "going to the devil full of gin".
- Third Officer Morrow (John Mayer) — Morrow is a British veteran of the Second Boer War and an officer on duty on the night of the sinking. In real life, Herbert John Pitman was the Third Officer who survived the sinking.
- Daisy Cashmore (Lona Livingston) — Daisy Cashmore is a wealthy British spinster and an old friend of Carlson. She loves to talk gossip and usually cuts Carlson off as soon as she spots another passenger she wishes to gossip with. She is too fussy about who she should ride with in the lifeboats.
- Eric Burns (Erik S. Quist) — Eric Burns is an American photographer on his honeymoon on board the Titanic with his newlywed, Stephanie, who is disappointed in him not spending enough time with her. He has a vast collection of photographs of other passengers.
- Max Seidelman (Tom Parkhill) — Max Seidelman is an American gambler, and smoker. 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.
- Claris Limehouse (Stacey Heinecke) — Limehouse is a young American woman, who travels First Class on the Titanic. Willi von Haderlitz apparently befriends her and the two begin a romance while aboard the ship. Carlson then encounters her in the First Class Lounge while the ship is sinking, where he informs her of Willi's death. Distraught, she gives Carlson her shawl before pledging to go down with the ship, staying with Willi.
- Reverend Edgar Troutt (Ed Wright) (dies) — Edgar Troutt is an American minister returning from a religious mission in Nyasaland to Sunapee, New Hampshire, where him and his late wife, Emily, lived. Troutt reveals to Carlson that Emily had somehow 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. He remains consoling the doomed passengers on the Boat Deck until the very end. As the reality of his situation begins to overwhelm him, he confesses to the player that he bought his ticket for the Titanic by siphoning funds from the mission in Nyasaland.
- Leyland Sachum Trask (Phil Campbell) — 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 ship during the sinking, after 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 the player's actions throughout the game have changed the past, and wonders, now, if they may also have changed the future.
- Buick Riviera (Rand Cabus) — Riviera is a middle-aged French man from somewhere in the French Riviera. He is a Blackjack aficionado who apparently spent a lot of time at the Monte Carlo Casino before he boarded the Titanic for America. Upon meeting the player, Buick asks Carlson if they have met at the casino in Diamondback, New Mexico. Buick talks fondly of his time there, in reference to an earlier CyberFlix game, Dust: A Tale of the Wired West. Throughout the game, he is playing cards in the smoke room and never leaves.
Killed by other charactersEdit
- Willi von Haderlitz (Sean M. Allen) — Colonel Zeitel's Austrian protégé, 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, implied after Willi 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. Willi invites Carlson to a fencing match that takes place in the Titanic's Squash Racquet Court. After the match, Willi makes an ironic statement and mentions to Carlson that the Titanic is nearing the Grand Banks and that the ancient Vikings thought that area of the Atlantic Ocean was cursed. He also states that he recently returned from a trip to New Mexico to study the Zuni people there. He is later found dead from being electrocuted in the electric bath (located within the Turkish Bath), murdered by Zeitel after realizing that Willi is a spy and is not loyal to Germany. He dies around half an hour before the ship strikes the iceberg.
- Sasha Barbicon (Kevin Garrett) — Barbicon is an English/Serbian art dealer who "isn't above selling stolen merchandise". Sasha uses his wealth and art gallery in London as a front for meetings of sympathizers for the Black Hand terrorist organization. He is smuggling a painting for Colonel Zeitel in exchange for the Rubáiyát, which he will use to fund the Black Hand's operations. He also obtains a diamond necklace from Lord Lambeth that he gave him to sell for him at a commission. During the sinking, Sasha is killed by Vlad Demonic in the Turbine Room for not being loyal to Serbia and the Black Hand cause.
- Andrew Conkling (Michael Prescott) — Andrew Conkling is the American owner of a fictional steel company known as Conkling Steel, which provided the metal used for the Titanic, which had been later revealed to be high in sulfur. He is shot by Third Officer Morrow after attempting to bribe himself into a lifeboat.
Fate depending on playerEdit
- Frank Carlson — Carlson is a former agent of the Secret Intelligence Service living in a tiny London flat, eking out a meager existence repairing clocks while surrounded by the painful memories of his failed mission on board the Titanic which led to his dismissal. 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 are far more important to the history of the modern world than they first appear.
- Colonel Alfred Zeitel (William Benson) — 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 Rubáiyát with a Serbian revolutionary in exchange for a painting created by a then-unknown Adolf Hitler (valuable to Germany at the time, not because of the artist, but because of secret war plans hidden inside 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. If given a lifeboat pass, he will survive the sinking but play no major role in history; otherwise, he will die in the freezing waters of the Atlantic.
- Lady Georgia Lambeth (Biz Lyon) — Lambeth is an English lady and a former lover of Carlson from five years earlier. She is eventually poisoned by Colonel Zeitel and Carlson is offered the choice of trading in the painting to Zeitel 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 a desperate Zeitel to regain the painting after the initial trade.
- Stephanie Burns (Stephanie B. Quist) — Even though the player could not engage in conversation with her, she is a recurring character in the game. She is upset with her new husband for not spending enough time with her on their honeymoon. She is seen on the Boat Deck during the sinking.
- 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 (Eric Whited) — The Lift Attendant operates the lift in the Grand Staircase and can provide the player with detailed directions to any area of the ship. The lifts are shut down when the Titanic hits the iceberg and the attendant is no longer seen.
- John Smethells (Terry Sneed) — The straight-laced, prim and proper John Smethells, or simply "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 hits the iceberg.
- The Stoker (Douglas C. Rocket) - An unnamed foul-mouthed fireman shoveling coal in the Boiler Room. He does not hesitate to engage in an insult match with the player. He also has romantic designs on Shailagh Hacker. He is not seen again during the sinking.
- Seaman #1 (Alex Tschetter) - An unnamed gruff, portly seaman who takes watch on the starboard wing of the bridge. He will not let the player pass. He also is seen fixing the electricity on A-deck. Later, he is assisting with the lifeboat launching.
- Seaman #2 (Michael Kennedy) - This unnamed seaman is in charge of guarding the Cargo Hold. He does not let the player pass unless they possess the Carter's car keys. He is later seen assisting with the lifeboat launching.
- Seaman #3 (Bob Clouse) - This unnamed, no-nonsense seaman does not let the player from enter the Engine Room unless the player proves handy in fixing the turbine power output. Later he is seen preventing access to steerage reaching the Boat Deck in the 2nd Class Stairwell, though he seems more concerned with keeping the steerage passengers below than trying to prevent the player from entering.
The game employs several "triggers" which advance the storyline and allow the player to move closer to the point where the Titanic impacts an iceberg and begins to sink. Prior to striking the iceberg the game is not in real time and only progresses to a later stage once the player meets certain criteria. A trigger is activated by speaking to a certain game character which then places other characters in certain locations or opens up certain rooms to explore. Some rooms may only be accessed by completing a puzzle. Many secondary characters will offer advice or tell the player certain information, leading to several game sub-plots. If a player speaks to certain characters before certain actions are performed, the game will advance with a needed task left unfulfilled. For instance, if the player speaks to certain characters before searching the ship for a valuable painting, the painting will be removed from its crate in the cargo hold before the player arrives. Failing to meet certain tasks before the game advances will also make the game impossible to win. For instance, if an antagonist character obtains two or more of the critical items to win the game, the player will only be able to bribe one of the items back thus leaving the second item unobtainable to win. Once the Titanic strikes the iceberg, the game progresses in real time (approximately 15 minutes real time - an hour and a half in the game). The player must race against the clock to speak to certain characters and obtain needed items before the ship sinks. As time progresses characters will begin to disappear as they board lifeboats and escape the sinking ship. An in-game pocket watch alerts to the player to time elapsed as do cut-scenes showing the Titanic sinking. Areas of the ship will become inaccessible as water fills the spaces and the game playing field is placed on a noticeable slant as the bow of the Titanic sinks underwater.
Titanic: Adventure Out of Time was initially released on October 31st 1996, making it the first video game to be released about the Titanic.
The game 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 seven languages: English, French, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish and Korean.
In addition to the game, the CD-ROM also includes a separate exploration feature that features characters in the game discussing various aspects of the ship, its crew and passengers, 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 release of the game includes a bonus CD-ROM with these download-able narrations). They were later available for download on the website of Cyberflix's successor Barracuda, and are now available at http://www.titanic-titanic.com/titanic_adventure_out_of_time_tour_guide_downloads.shtml.
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. Although, 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 mentions at the beginning of the game. In addition to the main characters, there are only a few sparse "wallpaper" characters who appear as unmoving and unheard figures in the major areas of the ship.