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By Konami Arcade 1982


Time Pilot was licenced in the US to Centuri

1910 - Four years before the Great War -
Biplanes, bombs, and a Zeppelin boss.

1940 - 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 machine.

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 rapture.

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 recognizable pattern.

It is not about anything.  It simply is.


Notable features of Time Pilot:

The total freedom of movement through
360 degrees and constant motion which
gave the game a unique, open-ended feel.

The game 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..

Players could choose to stay on a level as
long as they liked, only progressing to the next
when ready by destroying the stage boss.

The novel 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..

The parachutist-rescue bonuses which
increase with each one collected as follows:
1000pts, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 then
5000 ad infinitum...

The varied formation groupings and
'character' of enemy aircraft
from stage to stage.

The effective use of parallax - one of the
first occurrences in an arcade game.

The very original sonics - rather than stock
noise waveform explosion effects the game used
pulse modulated sounds and unique effects for
each stage and boss.


I think 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 Yoshiki Okamoto

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 '84.

1970 - Helicopter warfare, these come equipped with
homing missiles which stick to your tail like glue.

1982 - Up-to-date with the same year the game
was released.. fast jet fighters hone in on your plane

and even faster missiles make survival hard as hell.

2001- A Space Oddity? Blue skies are replaced by the
dark vacuum of space and fluffy clouds by asteroids.. as
sinister UFOs whirl around the screen like rabid insects..

Defeat 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 Rückeshäuser's
website 'How to Win at Arcade Video Games'
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