Time Pilot: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Often described as the most successful and influential classic arcade game made by Konami, Time Pilot instantly became a worldwide hit. First hitting arcades in November of 1982, Time Pilot introduced many new concepts to the video gaming world. Although it took years, Yoshiki Okamoto was finally recognized as the designer of Time Pilot. While working at Konami in the early 1980s, Okamoto was charged with the task of creating a new racing game. Instead of following his superior’s orders, he worked on Time Pilot secretly.

Along with Okamoto, several other notable people in the video gaming industry played a hand in the creation of Time Pilot. Mashahiro Inoue created the sound effects and music to the game, and Toshio Arima did the programming. Character designs were created by Hideki Ooyama.

The MSX is the only home console that the game was ported in during its heyday. However, Konami decided to revive Time Pilot during the 2000s and had it ported to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo DS, the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox 360.

One sequel to the game, called Time Pilot ’84 – Further Into Unknown World, was released in 1984. This game was closely related to the original, and Konami actually created the follow-up game as a conversion kit for Time Pilot.

Both Konami and Centuri published Time Pilot. Home console licensing rights were bought by Coleco. One or two players can play Time Pilot.


Game Play Overview

The goal of Time Pilot is to navigate an airplane through several time periods while battling enemies. Players add to their scores by shooting down enemies and performing special tasks, such as beating bosses. In total, there are five stages and five corresponding boss fights in Time Pilot.

The main difference between Time Pilot and other shooting games of its period is the fact that players are able to maneuver their planes with unparalleled flexibility. Players have complete range of motion, giving them the ability to perform strategic moves and easily evade opposing aircrafts. The main character, named Time Pilot, can actually move in eight directions in order to advance from stage to stage.

Even though the Time Pilot can move through the air with ease and great maneuverability, players are still vulnerable to gunfire, bombs and other aircrafts. Moving around the screen quickly and efficiently is vital to players’ survival. The Time Pilot is also equipped with a rapidly firing gun, which can fire off several bullets at a single time.

Standard enemies change from board to board, but they are always worth 100 points. Similarly, destroying any of their bombs will yield an additional 100 points. Completing each boss fight gives players 3,000 points.

The premise of the game is to move sequentially through all five time periods, defeating all enemies and making it to the last level. However, there is no end screen in this game. Gaining a high score and learning out to outgun enemies is the main goal of dedicated players.

Special Features

Parachutes carrying friendly forces can be collected by players for an extra 1,000 to 5,000 points. The very first parachute picked up will only be worth 1,000 points, but their value will increase by another 1,000 points until the 5,000 point maximum is met.

Bosses have to be defeated on each of the 5 levels of Time Pilot. Bosses are always difficult to beat, but they do yield a 3,000 point bonus.

At times, enemies will assemble into strategic formations, making it more difficult for players to proceed safely. There is a 2,000 point bonus given when these formations are disassembled and enemy planes disperse.


World War I aircrafts – During the 1910 period, both fighter planes and blimps will be present. Fighter planes are equipped with guns and are capable of dropping bombs.

Blimps – The blimp is the boss on level one. This sizable and formidable foe will attack until defeated.

Jets – Jets appear during the 1982 period. These enemies are comparable to the Time Pilot, and primarily attack with smart bombs.

Aircraft carriers – Players fight the aircraft carrier during the 1970 period of Time Pilot. This enemy group is larger than most other opponents, and it the last aircraft that you will fight during that stage.

Parachutes – Allies fall from the sky, carried by parachutes. Positioning the Time Pilot below parachutes gives players a point bonus.

World War II aircrafts – Prop planes are the main enemies in the 1940 period, and they tend to attack by way of tightly packed formations. Two other types of aircrafts, large and small bombers are also some of the opponents that appear during the World War II period.

UFOs – Since the 2001 period was still in the future when Time Pilot was created, UFOs are the main designated enemy group. With the ability to shoot straight forward as well as send projectiles in an arching direction, UFOs are particularly dangerous.

Small bombers – Small bombers are only seen during the 1940 period. These small sized planes are only capable of dropping bombs.

Helicopters – These enemies are fast and can maneuver just as accurately as the Time Pilot. Their missiles will follow the Time Pilot even as players twist and turn, so proceed with caution.

Time pilot – The Time Pilot is the player aircraft. Take control of the Time Pilot by using the directional keys and hitting the action button to fire.

How to Play Time Pilot

With five distinctive stages that go through historically noteworthy periods of time, Time Pilot takes players on an unforgettable adventure. The Time Pilot itself is a small blue, white and purple aircraft that is both aerodynamic and maneuverable. It can take sharp turns and shoot simultaneously.

This game has additional features that give players and advantage. The enemy counter located at the bottom of the screen gives gamers an idea of how long they have before each final stage boss will appear. While shooting and evading enemies is the main point of the game, players must also come up with different ways to approach each level.

Level 1 - 1910
Stage 1 marks the beginning of Time Pilot. Players start off in the 1910 period, where fighter jets fill the sky, dropping bombs often. These enemies can appear individually, in small groups and larger, tightly packed formations. The Time Pilot is most vulnerable when fighter jets fly above. It will be easier to move out of the path of a stream of bullets than it is to avoid multiple bombs falling.

During this period, players can rack up bonus points by picking up parachutes. Eventually, the blimp boss will appear and you will have to do battle. Surprisingly, this boss can move around quite easier. Keep the Time Pilot toward the middle of the screen so that you cannot be cornered by the blimp. Finish the blimp off to move to the next time period.

Level 2 - 1940
This is another stage where there are plenty of parachutes to pick up for extra points. Most of the opponents you will be fighting are prop planes. These aircrafts only have one primary weapon, so you will only need to worry about being hit by bullet shot in a straight line. Because they have limited weaponry, prop planes tend to come into the three in groups. Do no fly directly into a formation of prop planes. Instead, try flying as high as possible and take them out individually.

The two other secondary enemies, small and large bombers, however, have two weapons each. Large bombers have to be hit three times in order to be destroyed, but they also have a 1,500 point value. Small bombers are few and far between, but they can also prove to be formidable foes. After the boss fight is completely, you will go to the 1970 period.

Level 3 – 1970
In the 1970 period, helicopters are the main enemy group. They are quick, but the Time Pilot is still faster. Watch for the smart missiles that helicopters shoot. Even if you move out of the way, these smart missiles will continue to follow you. Either shoot them down or position yourself so that they fly off screen. Helicopters can also shoot a standard gun, so maneuver as needed.

A large aircraft carrier is the final stage boss in the 1970 period. This large and cumbersome boss is moderately easy to beat as long as you have mastered maneuvering the Time Pilot. Shoot this boss until it is destroyed and go to level four.

Level 4 - 1982
All enemies move faster than the Time Pilot in 1982, which makes this level particularly challenging. In addition, their weaponry is superior. Players have to contend with heat seeking smart missiles and rapid fire guns. In order to progress in the game, players will need to learn how to perform loops, shooting all the while.

On the other hand, the one advantage that players have over the jets on this stage is that their enemies cannot turn as sharply as the Time Pilot. Confuse foes with quick, sharp moves, and shoot as soon as targets are close enough.

At the end of this board, a large bomber will attack. Try to stay behind the large bomber, then shoot. As it turns to confront you, get behind it again and repeat the process. After a couple of cycles, the large bomber will be eliminated and level 5 will be next.

Level 5 - 2001
Although UFOs did not exist in 2001, the makers of Time Pilot envisioned this period would be futuristic and abstract. UFOs manned by a group of invading aliens are your enemies, and their weaponry is fearsome. The Time Pilot can only stay alive if players are able to avoid enemies’ laser beams.

The best way to approach UFOs is to immediately shoot their lasers. With no weapons, they will be vulnerable. Stay out of the path of arching laser beams and make sharp turns often. If you stay on the move, UFOs can be evaded.

When level 5 has been completed, the game starts over from the first stage. You can continue to play Time Pilot until you run out of lives or record a high score.

Hints and Tips
- Even though the Time Pilot only has one offensive weapon, it also has better defensive abilities than most of its enemies. When players become outnumbered or become trapped in a corner, the best plan of action is to perform an evasive maneuver. If outrunning an enemy is not possible, try twisting and turning until you are out of harm’s way.

- Enemies that attack in groups are worth more points. Get an easy point bonus by aggressively attacking enemies in groups, and then quickly make a getaway.

- Continue to hit the fire key even if you don’t see any enemies. You can never run out of bullets, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Using this strategy will allow you to take out enemy aircrafts almost as soon as they enter the screen.


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