TimeQuest is a great interactive fiction game made by Legend in the early nineties. You play a "Temporal Corps" private from 2090 who has to go back in time and fix the meddlings of an evil time traveller in order to save history. You can travel to Rome, Dover, Baghdad, Cairo, Peking, and Mexico in a wide variety of years: 1361 BC, 44 BC, 452, 800, 1215, 1519, 1588, 1798, and 1940, which correspond to ten historical "mistakes" that you have to rectify:

  1. Natural death of Julius Caesar
  2. Attila the Hun's attack on Rome
  3. Charlemagne's refusal to be crowned
  4. Yahya's early overthrow of Sultan Harun al-Rashid
  5. Secret funding to King John (so he doesn't have to sign the Magna Carta)
  6. Genghis Khan's defeat at the siege of Peking
  7. The Aztecs defeating Hernando Cortez
  8. The Spanish Armada's defeat of the Royal Navy
  9. Napoleon's invasion of Britain
  10. Early German invasion of Dunkirk
A variety of characters make cameo appearances, including William Shakespeare, Michaelangelo, Cleopatra, and Moses.

Once you beat all ten missions, you can go for the "Master Game": facing down the bad guy in an epic time battle. The Master Game is hidden, and you have to piece together a bunch of clues from the game world to discover how to get to it.

Overall, it's an awesome game, especially for history buffs. It's a tad scripted and often frustrates you when you don't have the item you need, but the story that eventually unfolds is awesome, and the endgame showdown is simply mindblowing (not to mention really, really hard). Even though it's a text adventure, there are decent graphics to go with it, and the parser is pretty smart.

Time Quest is now downloadable as abandonware from several Web sites.

If you don't want spoilers, stop reading now. Otherwise, here is...

How to beat the missions

Prereqs: None

First, go to the grandstand and get a piece of foccacia, which you'll need later. Then, go through the gladiators' entrance, take the jar and peg from the locker room, and enter the arena. Put the wheel on the axle, put the peg in the axle, and oil the axle. Then get in the chariot and keep waiting until you win the final race.

When Julius Caesar addresses you, ask him for his wreath. Then put it on, and wait for the lion to charge. The guard will drop his sword: grab it and slay the lion.

ROME 452
Prereqs: Dover/Rome 1940

First, go to Peking 1361. Follow the mourners into the tomb and let them all drink the poison. Sit down and meditate, then get up and pour the water into the statue's mouth. Take the emerald and leave.

Next, go to Peking 452. Give the emerald to the priest in the city. Then go to Peking 800, and the priest in the temple will recognize you and invite you into the back room. Get the mask full of fireworks.

Finally, go to Rome 452, follow Pope Leo to Attila's camp, and light the mask up once Attila denounces the Christian God.

ROME 800
Prereqs: Baghdad 800, Rome 1798

First, go to Dover 1798 and show Napoleon's pass to Horatio Nelson. When he leaves in rapture, take his boarding hook.

Now, go to Cairo 1798 and have Napoleon follow you into the pyramid. When you get to the chasm, tie the hook to the vizier's unraveled turban and toss the makeshift rope at the strut in the ceiling. Swing across, and let Napoleon retrieve the crown.

You'll find the crown in the display case in Rome 1940. Take it back to Rome 800, set it on the table where you found it, and then go back into St. Peter's and wait for the priest to come out raving about the miraculous appearance of writing on it.

Prereqs: Rome 44

When you enter the city, give the foccacia to the beggar, who will reveal himself to be the sultan. Agree to his offer. Once you're in the harem, take the bowl of figs and wait for the girls to go to their bath. Go to one of the bedrooms, put on a veil, and slip out of the harem.

Give a fig to the vizier, then return to the bedroom, put the veil back, and hide under the bed. The girl will come back and go to bed, and then the vizier will show up and get in the bed, leaving his slipper on the floor. Take the slipper and wait for the sultan to show up. Then, once the vizier is gone, show the slipper to the sultan.

DOVER 1215
Prereqs: None

Get on the horse outside the tavern and ride into the forest. Hide behind the tree, then come out and take the message attached to the arrow. Hide again and wait for the courier to be ambushed. Come out, search his body, open the pouch you find, and show the letter to the friar. Then go on to Runnymede and wait for chaos to ensue.

Prereqs: Rome 44

First, go to Cairo 44 and wait for Cleopatra to show up. She will invite you into her palace, and when you try to get it on with her, she'll give you an aphrodisiac. Take it to Baghdad 1215 and sell it to the Chinese merchant.

Now, go to Peking 1215. After your meeting with Khan, give the password to the guards, enter the city, and go to the pleasure house. Show the yuan to the madame, and she will give you twenty courtesans. Tell the girls to follow you outside, and then go back to the gate and let them lead the guards away. Open the gate for Khan.

Prereqs: Dover 1588

Go to Dover 1361 first, and sit down at Stonehenge and wait until the sun comes up. Talk to the druid you meet.

Next, go to Mexico 1361. Keep telling the Olmec headhunter about the eclipse until he kneels in fright. Then get out of the pot, pick up your stuff, and enter the time machine before his spear hits you.

In Mexico 452, follow the footprints in the maze until you reach the closet, and jot down the directions you move in. Then, go to Mexico 800 and retrace your steps. Take the costume from the closet.

Put on the costume in the time machine, and go to Mexico 44. Put the helmet on the priest's pillow.

Finally, go to Mexico 1519 and let history take its course.

DOVER 1588
Prereqs: Rome 452

Go to Rome 1519, give the Pope the book he drops, and then give the indulgence to the vendor outside for a plaque. In Dover 1519, pull up the floorboard in the bedroom upstairs, hide the plaque in the cache, and close it up. Then, in Dover 1588, open the cache and show the plaque to Queen Elizabeth, who will storm off in anger. Drake will then catch her in a bad mood and be admonished.

Downstairs, give Pope Leo's parchment to the sailor in return for his helmet.

ROME 1798
Prereqs: Dover/Rome 1940

First, go to Peking 1940. Wait for the Kuomintang guys to attack the Japanese tank, and then take the Molotov cocktail. Next, go to Rome 800. Disassemble the cocktail, pour the ether on the handkerchief, and then put the handkerchief on the priest praying over Charlemagne's crown. Take the crown.

In Cairo 1361, go up the Nile River, take the baby, and give it to Tut's sister. He'll take you back to the palace and ask you for something royal: give him the crown. You'll get a map showing you where it is. Go to Cairo 1215, enter the pyramid, and follow the directions on Tut's map. Take his ankh.

Now it's time for Rome 1798. Grab the rock in the street, and hurl it at the window of the house. When you meet Napoleon, wait until he's done with his advisor, and then show him the map. When he asks you for proof, give him the ankh. He'll ask you to meet him in Cairo, at which point your mission will be complete.

Prereqs: None

Go to Dover first. Hang out at the tavern until Winston Churchill shows up. Wait until he starts his radio address, and then grab his cigar. After he yells at you, wait until he leaves, and then take his lighter (you'll need it later).

Then, in Rome, go to the house where Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are listening to the radio. Wait until you hear Churchill yelling about the cigar, and then unplug or turn off the radio.