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Time Bandit

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Released: 1983

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Dragon 32/64

Publisher: Computer Shack

Developer: Bill Dunlevy / Harry Lafnear

Submitted by: Anthony Staude

Original game for the TRS-80 Color Computer and Dragon 32/64.

The TRS-80 Color Computer was my own first computer so it has a special place in my heart. As a gaming platform, it wasn't very good, no thanks to it's video capabilities, analog only joysticks and lack of big name titles.

Of all the games I played, easily the best was Time Bandit. Yes, there were other good games but Time Bandit was magic.

The aim of the game is to shoot the enemies, find the keys and escape to the next level ultimately trying to save the Universe.

Time Bandit is not a small game. The main arena sets the stage where our hero can select one of 16 portals to enter a new and different world. Each world could be entered 16 times – subsequent visits would see the world map flipped around and items repositioned. Memorable world themes include Wild West, Star Trek and Colosseum.

Upon entering a world, our hero had to locate at least one hidden key and use it to unlock the door to exit back to the main arena. He could also find and collect the treasures and interact with other objects.

Thrown in for good measure was the overall plot of the game, sometimes requiring you to use the keyboard to enter commands and responses. This was rare – the game is essentially arcade in style borrowing it's playing mechanic from the arcade classic Tutankham. The style of the mazes and the horizontal only shooting required some pretty dexterous shoot and run style play. Play Tutankham and you will get the idea.

With it's huge game world, I have never completed it, but it's one I plan on getting back to one day.

Though out of the scope of this Retrobate, there are superlative 16-bit conversions of this game, available for the Atari ST, Amiga and PC.