Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model: # 2663
Programmer: Harley H. Puthuff, Jr.
This is a slightly scaled down version of the arcade classic that really captures the spirit of the original.
You are the Time Pilot! A man who has been tragically caught up in a time warp who can only progress into the future by murdering pilots from bygone eras. It’s never explained why you are shooting down all manner of aircraft, only that you must do so. Not sure what sort of ramifications destroying an entire military’s worth of aircraft will have on the timeline, but chances are you won’t live long enough to worry about it.
There are five different time periods you show up in, each with their own type of aircraft. In 1910 you face off against biplanes. In 1940 you fight monoplanes. 1970 has helicopters buzzing around you. In 1983 you’ll be fighting off squadrons of high tech jets. And in the far off year of 2001 you’ll find that the world has been invaded by flying saucers. All of the enemy craft have similar basic movements and will occasionally fire at you, so while it’s not a tremendous amount of variety it does spice things up a bit.
Each level plays out in the same way. At the bottom of the screen you have an enemy remaining line that goes down with each aircraft you blow out of the sky. When that’s depleted the boss ship appears, which is just a bigger form of whatever you are already fighting (with the exception of the first level when a Dirgible shows up). Land a well placed shot on them and you’re off to the next time period.
There are some things missing from the arcade version that really hold this back from being a great game. The parachute men that you fly around and rescue are missing, as is the constant stream of bullets from your ship. In its place is a double shot that comes out with every button press, that vanishes when you hit the button again. The controls are also a bit clunky compared to the fluid motion of the arcade ship, so instead of having 360 degrees of targeting space, you click into position with each turn. This makes some of the diagonal shots difficult to pull off, which will occasionally force you into flying alongside an enemy instead of blowing it out of the sky.
Issues aside, it’s pretty remarkable they were able to squeeze all five levels onto a 2600 cartridge. If you are a fan of the arcade game, or shooters in general, this is a solid way to go.