W hen this game was first released for the ST – and you must remember that it was one of the first games available for that machine – it seemed to have everything a games devotee could have dreamed for. Excellent graphics, good sound effects, an enormous playing area, and a resemblance to Gauntlet, the game of the time.
The basic concept of the game owes a great deal to Gauntlet but unlike Garrison, Time Bandit does not aim to mimic; rather it takes the ideas of simultaneous play and walking around mazes collecting jewels and expands them. Instead of one maze leading to another, Time Bandit allows the player to choose which maze to enter, and the contents of that maze can range from standard Gauntlet screens, to Pac-man games, right through to invisible barriers.
As with Garrison, only two players can actually play the game simultaneously – a limitation originally set on the ST and unfortunately not changed on the Amiga version. But the biggest difference between Time Bandit and most Gauntlet clones is that you play on separate parts of the screen, and only see each other on your own screen when you pass each other within the maze. Another difference is that when one player finished the maze the other does automatically.
The graphics are, as we have come to expect from most ST-Amiga conversions, almost identical to the ST version. That said, they are still colourful and do the game justice. The sound effects and animation, however, are not good at all. Apart from the odd bang and splat there is a noticeable absence of any good sound effect, and the animation is actually worse than the original.
These criticisms apart, Time Bandit is essentially a good game. People who have not played the original and who like the idea of a true arcade adventure (and by that I mean a game that contains elements of arcade games, adventure games, and anything in between) will find Time Bandit an enjoyable and refreshing change from the plethora of shoot ‘em ups that seem to be available at the moment. Mind you there is always Garrison.
Ian J Frogsac
CU Amiga, March 1988, p.73
Microdeal, £19.95 disk, joystick with keys
Microdeal's chronological adventure casts the player in the role of a time traveller, seeking out fame and fortune in real and mythical historical periods.
From the title screen, joystick or keyboard controls and one or two-player options are selected prior to commencing play. The screen display then alters according to the number of participants: a solo player's actions are displayed using all the available area, while two-player mode sees the screen divided horizontally, each player having their own viewing screen. The information panel remains the same, however, giving the number of cubits acquired, the life levels remaining (initially ten, decreasing on contact with monsters) and the status acquired (increased by shooting guardians). Additionally, the location name and difficulty level are displayed.
The main four-way scrolling landscape contains 16 graphic icons, contact with which reveal further landscapes in the form of mazes, which are completed by escaping their labyrinthine passageways. Each maze carries a different theme, from spaceship interiors to a PacMan-style network, and often feature a variety of aliens and items to be shot, avoided or used as necessary.
Each location has 16 levels of difficulty, and completing the last one causes that maze system to shut down. Completion of the entire landscape thus requires the completion of 256 such mazes, and the task is made harder every time a location is re-entered.
An adventure sequence during the main landscape allows interaction with various characters, taking a standard verb/noun or simple response format. Talking to characters is necessary to acquire hidden rewards or to solve puzzles that aid progress.
Zzap, Issue 36, April 1988, p.p.62-63