The Game: You’re back in the hotseat as the Time Pilot, but this time an even more fearsome breed of ships from the future is after you. The good news is that you have a new weapon at your disposal – guided missiles – but the bad news is that the enemy has them too. Blast enough enemy planes out of the sky and lure their command ship out of hiding; if you can survive long enough to blow the missile-spewing command ship to pieces, you’re off to the next level. (Konami, 1984)
Memories: Bearing the deliciously Engrish-esque subtitle “Further into unknown world,” Time Pilot ’84 is a re-interpretation of the original game, with a few more bells and whistles in both the audiovisual and game play departments. Those accustomed to just constantly blasting away with both barrels in the original Time Pilot have to adjust to the proper use of the missile guidance system (don’t waste a missile until your screen paints a viable target), but other than that, it’s the same game with a new coat of paint.
Where the original Time Pilot presented you with a slightly odd side-on view of the action, Time Pilot ’84 depicts its combat from an overhead view which, with the movement of your fighter and the enemy’s fighters, actually makes more sense. Where the original gleaned some novelty out of pitting your futuristic fighter against obsolete biplanes and the likes, Time Pilot ’84 dispenses with that notion: this entire game takes place in the future, period.
One wonders if the Time Pilot “franchise” (if one can even really call it that) isn’t due for a modern-day revamp. Konami has been generous in sharing the Time Pilot lovin’ with classic gamers via retro compilations, but Time Pilot ’84 hasn’t been so lucky. But could a modern-day Time Pilot game combine the best of both with modern gaming sensibilities without breaking the game?