Hype: The Time Quest is an adventure game based on the medieval line of Playmobil toys, with almost all elements in the game modeled after actual Playmobils. The style of game play and story has been called similar to that of the Legend of Zelda series. It was released in 1999 for the PC, and was developed by Ubisoft.
The game opens with a cutscene showing King Taskan IV and his followers holding a celebration. We learn that Hype, a knight serving the king, is engaged to the princess. Suddenly, a man in black armor riding a dragon appears, causing general mayhem. He casts a spell on Hype, turning him into a statue, and then casts another spell that throws him back in time.
Hype’s statue appears in a ruined courtyard, and is discovered by a young wizard named Gogoud. Gogoud returns Hype to his normal state, listens to his story, and decides to help him. He sends Hype through the Forest to the main city of Torras to find a magical jewel that, in conjunction with the sword in Hype’s possession will allow him to return to his proper time period. Hype does so, but discovers that the jewel only sent him partway into the future. Consequently, Hype must navigate 3 eras of the past, and collect the necessary jewel in each, before he is able to return to his own time and defeat the Black Knight.
In each era, Hype visits the same locations and frequently meets the same people, allowing us to observe the passage of time. Gogoud is present in all eras to offer assistance, even appearing as a ghost after his death (The voice of Gogoud also provides the narration). Hype takes an active part in the history of each era, although it is not stated whether he is changing history, or creating the society he lived in. Various characters will grow old, have life-changing experiences, and die as the game progresses (children in one era will become bosses later on, former bosses will become allies, etc). Near the end of the game, Hype goes to a magical ‘Lost City’, where he meets a god, although all the player can see are gigantic feet wearing sandals, and the edge of a robe. This god informs him that the Black Knight is actually Barnak, a former god who had been cast out of heaven by the others because of his wicked deeds. When Hype finally returns to his own time, Barnak has taken over, and the oppressed kingdom has taken on a dark, post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Hype climbs the newly constructed Black Tower, defeating hordes of black-armored soldiers and undead creatures, and upon reaching the top vanquishes Barnak and his dragon. With the death of the Black Knight, the skies are clear once more and Hype is reunited with the princess.
Each time period is unique, with noticeable differences in environment, and the attitudes of characters. The first playable time period, that of Taskan I, is a pleasant summer's day, contrasted by Taskan I himself, who is arguably the most brutal of the 4 kings encountered in the game. The second era is played entirely at night, the third during autumn, and the fourth and final era is an oppressive, hellish wasteland, caused by the Black Knight having taken control of the kingdom. While the kingdom has distinct areas, they are all very much part of the same region, without being the ‘desert area, water area’ setup seen in many adventure games.
Town: The main town of Torras surrounding the castle. Here, Hype can purchase healing potions, magic herbs, and repair his armor, as well as take on side quests, besides learning more about the era. The townspeople are varied in their attitudes towards Hype, their King, etc. and some of the town’s children in earlier eras become major characters, both good and bad, later on. Areas such as the sewers, castle, dungeon, and gladiator arena appear several times as well.
Forest: Filled with random bandits, wolves and reanimated skeletons. Eventually, a faction known as the Brigands (stemming from the bandits fought previously) begin to inhabits the gigantic, redwood like trees in one area of the forest. This group takes on a politically rebellious role in response to the harsh actions of the Taskans. Most of Hypes allies are located in the forest; they include Gogoud (whose tower is located at the edge of the forest), the Brigands, and the dragon Zatila. The Stonehenge-like magical portal to the 'Lost City' is also located deep within the forest.
Monastery: Sometimes aloof from the outside world, sometimes fully engaged in it to the point of rebellion, the monastery is hidden away in the mountains and is the home of some of the more interesting characters in the game. The Black Tower is eventually built on top of the Monastery.
The gameplay alternates between platforming, light puzzle solving and combat. Hype is armed with a magical sword that is used to send out a wind-like attack rather than actually make contact with enemies. Because this is an E rated game, enemies are knocked unconscious rather than killed. If Hype is defeated, he reverts to a statue. Hype also has a crossbow, and can discover different magical attacks throughout the game, some of which are required to advance through areas. Enemies include forest animals, royal guards, bandits, ghosts and skeletons. Each era has multiple boss fights. The bosses are usually the more fantastical aspects of the game, as they range from an impossibly obese monk 10 times your size, to an evil doppelganger of Hype, to a 3-headed dragon made of gold coins.
Side quests include destroying bee hives and bats, and running timed races. Completion is rewarded either with potions, or a larger quiver or purse, until the final race, when Hype is given the Speed Boots, which allow for faster travel. Halfway through the game, Hype discovers a better set of armor as well. Another recurring game segment is riding Zatila the dragon through the sky to collect energy for the jewels.
After Hype finishes a particular era, he can return to it at any time (and is in fact required to later on). While wandering around is allowed and in some cases encouraged, the mission structure of the game is very linear. Progression of the story flows directly from one area to the next, rather than through individual, loosely connected missions. Games are saved at lecterns located throughout the kingdom.
Conversations are frequent, and although Hype is a silent protagonist, his attitudes are sometimes reflected in his facial expressions. All of the other characters, however, are given unique, often humorous voices and personalities, even the townspeople.