When 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.
Time Bandit was even acclaimed as 'The best game ever' by one American computer mag. I too, was impressed when I received the ST version. Nearly two years later, however, I find it more difficult to summon up such enthusiasm for the Amiga version. Microdeal have compacted the storyline into one and a half small pages. The aim of the game is to travel around time, entering and exiting castles, and despatching villains along the way.
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.