Time Pilot (夕イム・パイ口ツ卜?) is a multi-directional scrolling shooter arcade game designed by Yoshiki Okamoto and released by Konami in 1982. It was distributed in the United States by Centuri. It is a time travel themed aerial combat game that allows the player's plane to fly across open air space that scrolls indefinitely in all directions. Home ports for the Atari 2600, MSX, and Colecovision were released in 1983.
A sequel, Time Pilot '84, was released in arcades in 1984. It has a top down view instead of a side view, allows the player to shoot guided missiles, and takes place over a science fiction-themed landscape.
The player assumes the role of a pilot of a futuristic fighter jet, trying to rescue fellow pilots trapped in different time eras. In each level the player must fight off hordes of enemy craft then defeat a much stronger enemy ship. The player's plane always remains in the center of the screen.
The player travels through five time periods, rescuing stranded fellow pilots. The player must fight off droves of enemy craft while picking up parachuting friendly pilots. Once 56 enemy craft are defeated, initially 25 on the MSX platform and increasing by 5 after each game cycle (finishing the last battle against the UFOs), the player must defeat the mothership for the time period. Once she is destroyed, any remaining enemy craft are also eliminated and the player time-travels to the next level. The first three levels (1910, 1940, 1970) have a varying shade of blue sky and clouds as the background. The fourth level (1982) features a purple sky, and the final level which has space and asteroids instead features a black background. The specific eras visited, the common enemies, and the motherships are the following:
- 1910: biplanes and a blimp
- 1940: WWII monoplanes and a B-25
- 1970: helicopters and a large, blue CH-46
- 1982 (Konami version)/1983 (Centuri version): jets and a B-52
- 2001: UFOs
The mothership is destroyed with seven direct hits. Once all the eras have been visited, the levels start over again but are harder and faster. The Game Boy Advance version of Time Pilot in Konami Arcade Classics includes a hidden sixth era, 1,000,000 BC, where the player must destroy vicious pterodactyls in order to return to the early 20th century.
Extra lives are usually given at 10,000, and per 50,000 scored thereafter.
Levels and enemies Edit
In the first four levels, the common enemies and motherships can fire yellow bullets; these are similar to the white bullets fired by the player, except that they travel rather slowly.
In the 1910 level, the biplanes can fire bombs in addition to the yellow bullets. The bombs, which resemble tin cans, are initially fired upward but accelerate downward, moving faster as they fall to the bottom of the screen. Their paths simulate gravity, following the parabolic trajectory of a thrown object, despite the fact that the player can fly downward indefinitely and never reach the "ground". This is the only time when "gravity" is present.
The 1940 planes are slimmer than the biplanes and blend in with the background, making them tougher to target. This level also features red-and-yellow supply planes that fly horizontally across the screen and require multiple hits to destroy. They cannot fire at the player and pose no threat so long as the player does not crash into them.
The helicopters of 1970 are smaller than the airplanes. They fire bullets as well as homing missiles. The missiles travel faster than the player but cannot make sharp turns. The player can destroy missiles by shooting them and avoid them by turning sharply.
The jets in 1982 resemble the player's own craft. They are more aggressive, making it easier for the player to collide with them. They fire more homing missles than do the helicopters, meaning that there will typically be more missiles on the screen at any given time in 1982 than there were in 1970.
In 2001, the action shifts to outer space, where the enemies are flying saucers. These saucers fire fast-travelling circular bullets that blend in with the background. The asteroids on screen will not hurt the player but will serve to camouflage the enemies and their missiles. The saucers' bullets and missiles can all be shot and destroyed.
In each level, a parachuting pilot will occasionally appear. Collecting ("rescuing") this pilot will initially award 1000 points, and then increase by 1000 points for each consecutive rescue, up to a maximum of 5000. The award is reset to 1000 points upon losing a life or advancing a level.
Enemy "formations" appear in each level. These formations are heralded by a series of quick tones, and 2000 points are awarded if the entire formation is destroyed within approximately 3 seconds.
According to his account, Yoshiki Okamoto's proposal for Time Pilot was initially rejected by his boss at Konami, who assigned Okamoto to work on a driving game instead. Okamoto secretly gave instructions to his programmer to work on his idea, while pretending to be working on a driving game in front of his boss. When Time Pilot was a success, Okamoto's boss claimed credit for Okamoto's idea.
- PlayStation as part of the Konami Arcade Classics compilation in 1999.
- Game Boy Advance as part of the Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced compilation on March 18, 2002.
- Xbox 360 as part of Xbox Live Arcade on August 30, 2006.
- Nintendo DS as part of Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits.
- Released for i-mode mobile phones in Japan in 2004.
- A special version named Time Pilot '95 also appears in the Super Famicom game Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Douchuu: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake (of the Ganbare Goemon series), and can be unlocked when the main game is completely cleared.
- A version of the game for Xbox Live Arcade by Digital Eclipse features optional updated graphics, although the game plays identically (it is a port of the original).
- The emulated version was re-released in 2005 for PlayStation 2 in Japan as part of the Oretachi Geasen Zoku Sono-series.
- Konami released a similar game, Time Ace, for the Nintendo DS in 2007.
- Time Pilot was released for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on April 11, 2019, and it is part of Arcade Archive series.