Rookery’s Retro Review: Time Pilot (Atari 2600)


Overall Score: 4 (of 5), shoot planes to travel through time!

Story: Caught in a timewarp, you find yourself in 1910.  To earn your wings, you must destroy a number of fighters to advance to the next age.


Next jump 1940, then 1970, followed by 1983 (the modern age?), and the future which is 2001!

A faithful port from arcade to the Atari 2600, TimePilot offers a lot of good parallels such as the directional flying, enemy formations, and firing scheme.  Although my hopes were to give it a 5-star rating, there’s a few rough edges that didn’t seem to get ironed out as well as even older classics such as Asteroids.  Because of this, the game seems to get a bit crazy difficulty, but by no fault of the player.  Bullets fly at you faster than you can react or collisions seem unavoidable despite best efforts.  Still, there’s that intensity that drives the player to say, “you can do this!” which caused me to set the reset button many times with delusions that I could beat the game.  Though a few tries may have caused me to give up, after a number of days, I’d see that cartridge on the shelf haunting me, calling to give it another go.  That kind of beconing for replayability isn’t common in many other games.

Highlights: A “boss” aircraft to destroy at the end of each level, similar controls to the arcade version, challenging gameplay, interesting theme with only a few levels needed to complete the game.

Lowlights: A bit ‘jumpy’ in controls, shots get cancelled when you fire a second time, some shots or collisions seem unfair.

Similar Style Games:  Asteroids, Combat

Final Thought: Must have for Atari gamers for its unique aerial shooter style and two player alternating competition.