An American TRS-80 release imported to the Dragon 32, Time Bandit is a scrolling maze game with shoot ’em up elements. It was written by Bill Dunlevy and Harry Lafnear and first published by MichTron in 1983. Microdeal published it in the UK.
In some respects Time Bandit reminds me of Tutankham by Konami (which was released in 1982, a year before this) because you can only shoot horizontally, and also because movement is continual once you start moving in a certain direction. Let’s face it: Time Bandit is a clone of Tutankham…
Playing the game is tricky because enemies keep coming out of generators, and the idea is to avoid being hit by said monsters and to pick up keys that unlock doors to new areas. It’s a little confusing to begin with because you seem to keep reappearing back at the start, but you have to enter specific portals to reach certain areas and keep collecting keys and opening doors to take you to new places.
Time Bandit is better known on the Atari ST and Amiga, which it was converted to in 1985, although the TRS-80/Dragon 32 version is still playable and reasonably fun to spend a short time with. The game can be played in three different colour modes (probably to cater for different televisions at the time), although the standard green setting is probably the best to play in an emulator. I’ve shown all three colour modes here so you can judge for yourself.
During the course of writing this article I read the original Time Bandit manual, which says: “this game is so exciting, challenging and fun that you need never leave your home to find an arcade again!” Erm, no. As good as Time Bandit was for the time it was certainly no challenger to any arcade game that I’m aware of. Except for maybe Leprechaun.
More: Time Bandit on Wikipedia