- Time Pilot 84 -




Time Pilot 84 - November 28, '99 by SkiBum
Game:Time Pilot 84Company:Konami

Since somebody else reviewed Time Pilot, I figured it would be appropriate to review Time Pilot '84. This game is a direct sequal of the original Time Pilot which came out in 1982. Time Pilot '84 was introduced two years later, thus the '84 in the title. Like the original, there was no story that I know of. Again, it was pure gameplay, with the idea to shoot just about anything that moves.
There are some major differences between this version and the original Time Pilot. The biggest difference is the much improved graphics and the location portrayed. Instead of flying through a colored sky with cute little puffy clouds or asteroids in the ufo stage, the action is now over some large futuristic, alien city. The graphics seem to be much more detailed, not only in the background, but also in the enemy and player ship sprites. Even the explosions are more detailed than in the original.
The sound effects have also been improved, such as the ship explosions when hit by a missile, the sound of a ship being locked on, etc. I do miss the nice resounding "bang" of enemies being blown up in the original, however.
The weaponry at the players disposal is also updated. Along with the typical machine gun style weapon, the player also has guided missiles. The player must first "lock on" an enemy ship by pointing his/her ship at it. If the player is in range, a pair of brackets ([]) will sorround the enemy. Up to two enemies can be locked on at a time. Once an enemy is locked on, a hit is guranteed as long as the missile connects with its target before the target leaves the screen. If a missile is fired with out first locking on an enemy, it will just fly around randomly about the screen and another cannot be fired until the first one leaves.
The missiles are necessary because there are now several enemy types that can only be shot down with the missiles. The emeny now comes in several variaties. There are two types of enemy ships - green ones that can be shot down with the regular weapon and grey ones that can only be shot down with the missiles. There are now also ground based enemy units that can only be shot with the missiles. The big boss ship at the end of a stage can be taken down with one missile. I cannot remember if it is still possible to pump several shots into him with the regular weapon like the original. As a result of the increased variety and number of enemies, Time Pilot '84 is a bit more difficult than the original.
There are also little things hidden in the game that can net the player bonus points, such as the formations of ships that appear from time to time. One of the bi-planes from the original makes a cameo appearance. If found, shoot it with a missile and a free ship is awarded to the player. There are others, but I'll leave it up to the players to discover them.
The stages are also portrayed differently. Instead of moving through the years like the original, the stages now represent parts of the day. The first stage is at night, the next stage is pre-dawn, the third - dawn and so forth, until they cycle back to night. The portrayal of the different parts of the day is actually pretty convincing. The night stage shows the various lights on the ground. The dawn stage has that orangish shade like it tends to be in real life at dawn.
For controls, the original cabinet had one joystick and two buttons, which was easy to emulate. The keyboard will work, but the game is much better served with a decent joystick or gamepad. With a Hot-Rod or in my case, a Stick-It, controller, it is about as close as one is going to get to the arcade expeirence without getting an actual machine.
For performance, the game runs flawlessly in MAME, even on my older Pentium 166MMX based machine.
Overall, I actually enjoyed this game as much as, if not slightly more, than the original Time Pilot. The greater variety of enemies as well as the much improved graphics does make this game. Unfortantly, like the original, this game does tend to get repetitive, but not as much due to the greater variety of enemies thrown at the player as well as the difficulty being notched up. If you liked the original Time Pilot, I would suggest at least giving Time Pilot '84 a try.
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