Site Map

Play-Asia.com - Japanese Video Games, Accessories & News


Time Pilot

Konami 1983



Back in the day Time Pilot was one of those games that I wasted far too much time and money on. This game is single handedly responsible for turning me into the man I am today. If it weren't for this game I probably would have gotten better grades in school, gotten a much better job, and maybe even have cured cancer.

The game is simple enough: You're the pilot of a time traveling jet fighter that has to blow up everything that moves and rescue the occasional parachuting guy. You start in 1910 and go up against bi-planes, but eventually progress to WWII, Vietnam, and even face off against flying saucers in the future. In each level you have to kill 20 bad guys until a "boss' character shows up (which is usually some kind of larger period flying machine - airship, bomber, etc.) Kill the boss and you zap forward in a Quantum Leap-kind of time warp.

The game is played with your ship always in the center of the screen. This makes it easy to see around you, but actually is to your detriment at the advanced levels. Enemy ships have a habit of flying right up next to you before firing, so you think you're going to fly past them and you suddenly get blasted. You also tend to fly faster than anything else on the screen thus the danger of accidentally colliding with an enemy is always present. A good bet is to try and stay behind any particular ship and shoot it down.

Graphics and sound are very good for a home version of this game, but as with nearly all Colecovision titles the fatal flaw here is control. The programmers tried to give the authentic arcade feel to the game (which used a spinning nob to control your ship, if I remember right) and thus made  your ship turn by pressing left or right on the controller. Problem is for some reason the ship gets easily confused and doesn't always turn in the direction you tell it to. You end up accidentally turning the wrong way and crashing into stuff a whole lot. This doesn't seem to be a case of "learn the controls" either; They seem to be genuinely broken. Good gravy, how hard would it have been to just make the ship go in the direction you point at?

Good graphics, sound, and accurate gameplay make the game superior for the time but goofy-footed controls knock it down several notches. In the end it boils down to how much fun any particular game is. The controls are not so wrong that the game becomes unplayable, but they are bad enough to where the less dedicated among us would not spend more than a few minutes before switching to something else.

Graphics: Very good compared to what was on other home systems at the time. Of course you could say this for all of Colecovision's games.

Sound: Zaps and bags, nothing to write home about.

Gameplay: Does a good job of emulating the arcade feel but is hampered by substandard controls.

Back to Game Reviews