Time Pilot

Please deposit coin and try this game.

Source // YouTube

For a short while I was really hoping Time Pilot would be some game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, based - however loosely - on the film of the same name. Unfortunately, that film was called Timecop, and it would come out 12 years after Time Pilot. I'd imagine that even if the latter parts of those titles aren't similar, then the notion of travelling through time is, so I'll be disappointed if we don't do anything time-y.

Piloting something is everywhere in games, it's been done. How can we play with time?


Well we can't and we don't. Firstly, I'm unable to play this game, which is a shame because it looks pretty darn good. You are a pilot, as we could have guessed, and your futuristic jet fighter has been dumped into the skies of 1910, and they are swarming with biplanes.

You've got nothing to worry about, really, as your infinite ammunition can chew through your opposition in no time at all, provided you are nimble with your movement. Your mission is to rescue downed pilots, but you will progress through the stage by destroying a set number of enemy craft before finishing off a period-specific mothership. Once that happens, you blip through time to the next stage, which sees a jump forward in time and a bump in difficulty.

Enemy craft upgrade depending on the time period, firing weedie little weapons up to homing missiles and so on, and you'll see the expected jet fighters to the perhaps unexpected helicopters and beyond. The 'motherships' are equally period themed but bigger - Blimps and B-52 bombers and the like. You don't have any upgrades yourself, so get moving and shooting.

That's about it from the looks of it. No control over time at all, no choice where to fly to, you just do your job, hopefully don't lose a life, then do it all over again, but faster and more intense.

Fun Times

To me, having not played it, that sounds like a bit of a let down. I was hoping for more, but what does keep me interested in Time Pilot is the camera, locked as it is above your craft. You are the center of attention in this game, and the world (or the sky at least) revolves around you.

Again, it's hard to tell through video as opposed to playing, but I get the impression that it controls well thanks to this view. I was trying to imagine whether you feel like you're flying through a massive playing field as it were, infinitely scrolling in all directions, versus being stuck in the center of a moving background and simply spinning around. I'm going to guess at the former, thanks to the movements of your opponents in relation to you, but I'm definitely interested in finding out for sure some day.

Final Word

I'd like to play Time Pilot in the future, which is handy because, like Time Pilot, I can only move forward through time (ignoring when I hop back to the start after five stages and begin looping). It's nothing incredible to look at, the almost cutesy design of your targets makes each stage interesting, if only for what you're fighting and in which time period - UFOs in space in 2001, obviously...

It probably doesn't do anything major for gaming, but probably does deserve its place on the list. Then again, the list is huge and I've not played Time Pilot.

Fun Facts

The game shouldn't have been made and was worked on in secret. Little harder to do so these days.

Time Pilot, developed by Konami, first released in 1982.

Version watched: Arcade, 1982