Pepper's Adventures in Time

aka: Twisty History
Moby ID: 6312
DOS Specs

Description official description

This point n' click adventure game is actually an edutainment (entertainment leading to education) title developed by Sierra, who were also responsible for other games such as the EcoQuest and Dr. Brain series. The object of this game is to help a little girl called Pepper, solve puzzles based on history and logic, so that she can fix the mess caused by Dr. Fred's time machine. At certain points in the game, the player is even allowed to control her pet dog, Lockjaw.

The game consists of an educational factor where the player can learn about many important facts concerning the colonial times of the United States. It is divided into Acts in which the player has to reach given goals and, apart from other, typical for adventure games things, learn about facts listed in the opening. To do it the special TRUTH icon has to be used. When the act is concluded, the player is challenged with a quiz about the things he learned. For each correct answer he receives progress points.

Cartoonish graphics similar to the style in Day of the Tentacle were used in order to appeal to younger audiences.

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Credits (DOS version)

57 People (54 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 4 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 2 reviews)

Excellent edutainment title from Sierra

The Good
Pepper's Adventures in Time is an edutainment title by Sierra, along the lines of EcoQuest and Castle of Dr. Brain. It is based on a concept by Bill Davis, who was Sierra VP of Development/Creative Director at the time.

Pepper Pumpernickel and her dog Lockjaw learn that their Uncle Fred is up to something when he moves into her parent's attic. Pepper discovers that Fred has built a “What-if” machine, capable of manipulating history. He tests it out on Founding Father and inventor, Benjamin Franklin, changing his mindset into that of a flower child from 1968. They attempt to stop Fred, but are sent back in time to Philadelphia 1764, where they find out that General Pugh, governor of Philadelphia, takes advantage of Franklin's mental weakness and slaps the colonist with illegal stamp taxes. To make matters worse, Pugh's bitchy daughter, Ima, sets eyes on Lockjaw and kidnaps him. And so, Pepper needs to set things right again by curing Ben, bring the colonists back to their senses, and expose the corrupt General. Only then she can save Lockjaw.

Pepper's Adventures is a point-and-click adventure aimed at children age eight and above. It teaches them about the life of Franklin, both as an inventor and as a contributor to American politics. The game still plays like any Sierra adventure out there. You interact with people and objects using icons and explore the sights. The thing I like about this game is that you control both Pepper and Lockjaw, and the icon bar is different for each of them. Also, there is one new feature, the “Truth Detector” that sits next to the icons, and it looks like a green traffic light with the world Truth on it.

The way the Truth Detector works is you click it on something on screen (be it people or objects), and the game will tell you if its historically accurate. This is important because you must answer at the end of each of the six acts. You can answer them incorrectly and still continue with the game, but you don't get any extra points. I like the way Lockjaw howls twice when you get a question right.

Pepper's Adventures is laced with humor. Just trying something that you don't need to do generates a witty response, even most of the dialogue is hilarious. My favorite is the introduction. Instead of the usual opening credits, you see Pepper walking down the street, delivering lines like “Do you know that Lorelai Shannon wrote all the text for the game?”, passing residents in the process, who are outside doing something. The result is the people would rush inside their houses, and Pepper doesn't even give a shit about it. There are three screens of these lines.

Graphic-wise, both icon bars are quite colorful, and most of the hand-painted backgrounds are amazing. The hills in some backgrounds are designed in a way that they remind me of Chessboard Land in King's Quest VI. I like the way the inside of Penn Mansion looks. There are also some good character animations, especially coming from Lockjaw as well some of the major characters in the game.

The music is well composed, and some of the pieces are snippets like “Yankee Doodle”, “The Star-Sprangled Banner”, and “Rule, Britannia!”, songs that were quite common back in the day. When you reach the end of the game, there is also a snippet of “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”, but I'm not sure about its relevance to the game's theme. The sound is much better if you are using the MPU-401 General MIDI sound module, rather than SoundBlaster.

There is one interesting thing about this game. In past edutainment titles Sierra made such as EcoQuest your character doesn't die, no matter how dangerous your actions are. But that's not the case in Pepper's Adventures. You see a huge picture come out with the American flag (morphing into the Union Jack) in the background, hovering over a white building in which huge versions of Pepper and Lockjaw come out of, and then Pepper tells the player what he should have done. I think this is pretty neat. Also neat is the way you don't have to restore a game to an earlier point, but to “rewind” the game seconds before disaster strikes.

The Bad
Pepper's Adventures was released around the time when Sierra started to give players the option of starting at a chapter/act other than the first one, and they started out with this game, where the chapters are referred as acts. This means that the acts can be played out of sequence. The only saving grace is that the game tells you what would have happened if the players decided to play the act in order.

The Bottom Line
Pepper's Adventures is an edutainment game that teaches children about American history and especially about Ben Franklin. It plays like any Sierra adventure game, but it encourages children to make use of the Truth Detector so that they can answer some multiple-choice questions at the end of each act. The graphics, animation, and sound are excellent; and the game's dialogue is full of humor. Sierra wanted this to be in the same vein as Day of the Tentacle, but it doesn't even come close. Like all of Sierra's Adventures at the time Pepper's Adventures was released, the game had the potential for a CD-ROM release. (In fact, in some parts of the game you can hear audio clips of the major characters talking.) It's a shame that this didn't come to light.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2016

Great edutainment, and at the same time - great classical adventure.

The Good
This one is a truely great mix of edutainment and adventure into the game for everyone. The game begins with Pepper, a little girl, and her doggy Lockjaw sucked in the time portal, which her uncle Ed constructed for his evil plans - to change the history... When Pepper found herself in colonial times, she also found out that a lot of things were already changed by her uncle. And, to make things worse, Lockjaw was kidnapped by awful rulers of the country, and...relatives of her uncle at the same time! In your attempts to save your doggy and America, you'll meet a lot of characters, including Ben Franklin. The game was a part of Sierra Discovery series (with Eco Quest and Dr.Brain series), the edutainment line, and oh, it succeeded in all aspects. While playing Peppers Adventures, you'll learn a lot of facts on the history of America in colonial times. A great role plays a new icon, added to regular Sierra-four-icons, with the help of which you can be given comments on every single object on the screen, first - if it really was/wasn't an historical fact, secondly - some information on it. There is always a test at the end of every part, which test your knowledge. As for the parts of the game, from which the game consists of - you can choose to play any of them in the beginning of the game, though I suggest you to play them in the right order. Everything in the game is made on a fun note, the humor is great and not rude. One of the best things in the game is the opportunity to play not only in the role of Pepper, but also in the role of your dog, Lockjaw! With his own, personal abilities like to bite and to smell! But THE best things is that the game is not just a great educational title, but also a very nice adventure game, which can satisfy both kids and adults. It is quite long, have some nice puzzles which can stump you for awhile, even multiple solutions.

The Bad
Bad? Not much. Well, the games main aim was on kids and on edutainment, so some adventure gamers can find the game too easy and childish. The graphics was on a strange side. Not like in all other Sierra adventure games, the characters have large heads, quite ugly, with some ugly animation. And all the graphics is not on a high level (especially comparing with other games of the same period, Gabriel Knight, for example). And a sort of labyrinth in the end...which is not a problem for people of a good thinking skills :)

The Bottom Line
One of the best educational games ever, which is a great experience for both children and adults.

DOS · by Afex Tween (129) · 2003

Trivia

According to producer Mark Seibert, a CD-ROM release with full speech was started but never finished.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Roger Wilco.

Windows 3.x added by POMAH.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, POMAH, Patrick Bregger.

Game added May 10, 2002. Last modified June 30, 2023.