The Game: You’re flying solo through the fourth dimension! In what must be the least subtle time-traveling intervention since the last time there was a time travel episode on Star Trek: Voyager, you’re blasting your way through dozens of aircraft from 1940 through 1982. From WWII-era prop planes, to Vietnam-era helicopters, to 1982, where you confront jet fighters with the same maneuverability as your plane, you’re in for quite a wild ride. Rescue parachutists and complete the level by destroying “boss” craft such as heavy planes and dirigibles. (Centuri [under license from Konami], 1982)
Memories: One of Konami’s best-ever coin-ops, Time Pilot is an outstanding combination of addictive game play and the concept of “wanting to see what’s on the next level.” If you’re good enough, you get to see what kind of aircraft you’ll be up against in the next time period.
Admittedly, the somewhat oversimplified view of flying takes a bit of getting used to, but Time Pilot‘s controls are very instinctive. They make the game easier, not harder, and that always helps!
Coleco picked up the rights to Time Pilot and turned out an excellent ColecoVision port of the game. An Atari 2600 version was also released, but naturally, it wasn’t up to ColecoVision standards.
For latter-day Time Pilot fans itching to log more flight time, good news! The game has been almost perfectly reproduced on Konami’s various retro compilations for such platforms as the PS1 and Game Boy Advance – a pure rush of arcade authenticity, though the D-pad’s never going to be a proper stand-in for the joystick.