Saturday, February 19, 2022

Time Pilot

Name:Time Pilot
Genre:Top-Down Shooter
Time:1 hour

Here I am, thinking that 1982 doesn't really mean much, and here's a game that actually is something. The debut game of Street Fighter II producer Yoshiki Okamoto, who also by some convoluted means, is partially responsible for Red Dead Revolver. Nevertheless, while this man is famous, and this game did make Konami a lot of money, it doesn't exactly have a pedigree.

Time Pilot is a side-scrolling shooter that looks and plays remarkably like a top-down space shooter. The player is a time-travelling fighter pilot who goes through several eras of flight before...returning home...? Outside of Sinistar these endless loop video games don't really make snese when you try to think about their story.
What makes Time Pilot interesting among the arcade titles I've played is that its on the easier side. Even though the plane can take only one shot before dying. There aren't a million things on-screen and everything isn't going at 90 miles an hour. Now it does get harder later, but I can't help but feel like I'm incapable of being satisfied with the difficulty in these arcade titles. Just because its easier doesn't mean its amazing. Its sort of bleh.
Your plane moves at a constant speed, you only control how you turn and when you fire. Firing occurs in bursts. Enemies attack you with bullets, bombs and homing missiles. Anything that isn't a bullet can be shot down. The homing missiles are not the most accurate or swiftest of things either. Then enemies, you have planes, stronger planes which move horizontally, and the bosses that occur whenever you shoot down enough planes. There are also men in parachutes you can pick up for points.
The plane controls pretty well. There's an arc to the turning radius, which takes a bit of getting used to, but generally works. There's no real trouble cutting down enemies, but you do only shoot facing forward. I was disappointed by how despite the time advancing theme the game has, the ship stays the same throughout all the stages. Really, this whole thing is just a fancy coat of paint with the odd new enemy or attack.
This game is deceptively easy. And what I mean by deceptively easy is that it doesn't feel like a very hard game. Its very easy to take down, well, anything, enemy craft, bosses, other shots. Its easy to dodge, even the homing attacks aren't a guaranteed hit. And yet, I died quite a bit. Less so than your hardcore arcade titles like Sinistar, but enough that you can expect to put in some coins if you want to see all the game offers. It felt like all the times I died it wasn't quite my fault somehow, like the game changed the rules on me. Perhaps its just self-deception.

I never thought I'd have to hammer down the shoot button for an automatic weapon. 1/10

You have five types of enemies, spread out over five stages. You can put these into two categories, dudes who fly around/chase you, dudes who fly left-right. Its actually a good strategy to fly down and up on stages when these guys show up. 2/10


There's not really much to distinguish one endless sky from the next beyond what shows up. 0/10

Player Agency:
It works. Its nothing special either way. 3/10


Another endless fight game in an endless expanse of something. 0/10

Its okay. The ships move around smoothly, but I didn't like the palette of the player's ship. 2/10


Generic shooting sounds. 1/10

That's 9.

Curiously, this is one of the 1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die. I don't really feel like that's true. I don't really feel like this is distinguished enough from any other arcade title to be deserving of that much attention.


  1. Sorry but this is an absolute classic. Though if you don't like arcade games I can see how you might dismiss it.

    1. Fair enough. Most of the arcade-style games I've played so far have this issue where even if its fun, it is rarely interesting enough to me to last 2 hours at absolute most. I am curious though as to what I might have missed. It played competently, but it didn't feel all that exciting.

  2. Thats an interesting thing actually. Most arcade games really aren't made for long sessions. 20-60 minutes tops especially for "Pre Crash" era games. Low end if you aren't chasing your high score, high end if you are or are getting a bunch of plays on Hard. The kind of time one would put into a Soulsborne isn't the kind you do to any individual Crash era arcade or home arcade like title. Even post. Your average Final Fight styled beat em up gets boring after 30 minutes or so.