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SummaryDr. Brain does the time warp again
The GoodThe Time Warp of Dr. Brain (Dr. Brain 4) is the fourth and final game in the much-loved Dr. Brain series, sharing similar game mechanics as its predecessor. With the use of his latest invention, the good doctor teleports himself into last week to retrieve his car keys, only to end up floating in the space-time discontinuum. It is your job to make things right, by completing a series of puzzles that have you do a range of tasks including fighting for your own survival, building bridges made out of leaves, guiding hovercars to their garages, and constructing spaceships.
There is no Sierra company logo at the start. It’s straight to the introduction, followed by a throwback to Space Invaders. Here, you can choose to start a new game, load your last game, change language, or quit. You can choose not to select any options and just kill every invader. When you do, you get treated to a nice little fireworks display. If you select the first option, Dr. Brain asks you to input your name. I like how when you try to enter a swear word, he says “That’s a naughty name”, in a tone that I found quite amusing.
Once you entered your name, you’re jettisoned into the first time zone, titled “Primordial Soup”, named after that chemical in Space Quest 5. Up above the main screen are ten orbs, which you can click on to travel to different time periods. The whole point of going into a time period is solving puzzles until the orb is fully lit up (and Dr. Brain says that you’re done with it). This means that you can go to another period if you get tired of doing the same types of puzzles.
The number of puzzles you need to complete in a time period depends on which of the three difficulty settings that you’re on. The good thing about this game is that you are not restricted to the difficulty you have chosen. You can make the switch at any time, especially if the current puzzle is giving you hell.
The graphics in Dr. Brain 4 are stunning, being on par with the last game. There are two types of executables that can be run by the user, one with DirectDraw enabled and one without. For me, all I got was a black screen while running the DD version, so I stuck with the latter. I really liked the graphics in the future time periods, as well as the Beaver level.
The actor who voiced Dr. Brain in the last game makes a comeback, and I enjoyed listening to his witty remarks whenever you click the radio next to the orbs. The sound effects are excellent. I like how the beaver curses when logs destroy the bridge it is trying to make. Music serves as the background of some time periods, and there is one where you have to compose a piece of music. It has been a long time since I played this game, but I still remember the piece for “Spaceport” to this day.
The BadI have mentioned that no swear words are permitted in the name entry screen. The problem with this is early versions of Dr. Brain 4, ‘Christ’ is forbidden. Unless you manage to get a newer release of the game, or you apply a patch to your current version, it’s bad luck if your name happens to be Christopher.
You can be shot at while you are trying to select any option in the Space Invaders screen, and waiting five seconds while Dr. Brain re-materializes is rather frustrating.
The Bottom LineDr. Brain 4 is right up there with the third game, sharing similar visuals and sounds. Although it also shares the same mechanics from that game, some elements are slightly different. The voice acting is superb, and there are some memorable soundtracks in the game. The game isn’t without its annoyances, though, and one of these is the name entry screen, where early versions of the game forbid you from entering a word beginning with ‘Christ’.
This game is the final installment in the Dr. Brain series before it was sold to Knowledge Adventure, but I have no interest in the games from here on out. For me, I quite enjoyed the first two games rather than this one or the last. You get no repetition in the puzzles, and there are plenty of interesting things to look at in the backdrops than each of the individual puzzles.