Time Pilot was licenced in the US
1910 - Four years before the Great
Biplanes, bombs, and a Zeppelin boss.
- The beginning of World War II -
Skies full of fighters and Flying Fortresses.
Buddhists use paradox as a
means to achieve enlightenment. Perhaps
somewhere there is a Zen monastery where students
speak of an airplane that flies limitlessly through
the sky, yet whose location remains permanently
fixed. Or maybe they just have a Time Pilot
To describe it in words is folly. How can an
object that remains plastered to the center of the
screen convey a sense of constant, fluid motion in
all directions? We can speak of the relative
movement of the enemy planes, the parallax of the
clouds....but a simple
glance tells all that language cannot.
The game is a kinetic fugue. Each moment
features a new composition of angles and manoeuvers,
each blending seamlessly into the next.... until the
collision in the center. We must do everything
we can to postpone this fiery end, so the shifting
geometry can continue swirling about, propelling us
to further heights of complexity, resolution, and
It is not about the five discrete levels, each with
its own pace and challenge. It is not about the
choice between saving the parachutist and destroying
a complete formation. It is not about the need
to re-evaluate one's decisions at each instant.
It is not about homing missiles, time travel, or
spaceships who stubbornly refuse to fly in any
It is not about anything. It simply is.
features of Time Pilot:
The total freedom of movement
360 degrees and constant motion which
gave the game a unique, open-ended feel.
was one of the first to feature
end-of-stage bosses. Also the player could resort
to ramming a boss to finish a level without
having to restart again on that stage..
could choose to stay on a level as
long as they liked, only progressing to the next
when ready by destroying the stage boss.
quota system for passing each
stage - shoot 56 regular enemy planes to call
up the stage boss.. shoot the boss 7 times to
destroy it and move to the next level..
parachutist-rescue bonuses which
increase with each one collected as follows:
1000pts, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 then
5000 ad infinitum...
varied formation groupings and
'character' of enemy aircraft
from stage to stage.
effective use of parallax - one of the
first occurrences in an arcade game.
original sonics - rather than stock
noise waveform explosion effects the game used
pulse modulated sounds and unique effects for
each stage and boss.
what Bodhisattva is trying to say is that he rather
likes this game! ;) - as do I. That man Yoshiki
Okamoto ( the genius who was also behind 1942 and Gyruss ) strikes again! This was his
first attempt at a video game design after joining
Konami as a humble graphic artist a year earlier..
amazing really. Apparently Okamato was originally
asked to do a driving game.. but didn't like the idea
as he wanted to do a flying game instead. His boss
insisted he do the racing game however - but
confident of his own pet projects' superiority,
Okamato produced Time Pilot in secret while
pretending to work on the game Konami had asked him
for. Ironically Time Pilot went on to become a
massive arcade hit.. the companies biggest ever at
the time. And deservedly so. Be sure to take a look
at the interview with designer Okamato here:
Videogame Spot's interview with
Emulation: Time Pilot is
emulated extremely well (and is as playable as ever)
in Mame, along with the rather inferior sequel
(produced after Okamoto had left Konami for Capcom) Time Pilot
1970 - Helicopter warfare,
these come equipped with
homing missiles which stick to your tail like glue.
- Up-to-date with the same year the game
was released.. fast jet fighters hone in on your
even faster missiles make survival hard as hell.
A Space Oddity? Blue skies are replaced by the
dark vacuum of space and fluffy clouds by
sinister UFOs whirl around the screen like rabid
the final UFO boss and your reward - to go
through the game once more on extra hard mode.. Yippee!
More great info and playing tips on
Time Pilot can be found here at Heinrich
website 'How to Win at Arcade Video Games'