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Time Bandit

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Time Bandit by Bill Dunlevy and Harry Lafnear may very well be one of the most epic "mash ups" of all time to hit video gamers.

Let's count down the influences:
-) No, this isn't based on Terry Gilliam's 1981 movie classic Time Bandits, but it very well may have been partially inspired by it. Terry Gilliam was quoted as saying the movie was about the "craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible." And if you take a quick look at the game, it's all about finding the "exit" from one world to advance to the next. And each world is indeed crazier than the last.
-) It also isn't based on Doctor Who, the most famous Time Lord ever imagined. But you - the player, the hero - are a singular character on the screen working your way through various Time Gates (16 to be exact) that are all completely different from the last. Almost like episodes from a TV show, perhaps.
-) Often referred to a Gauntlet Clone, the popular game classic created by Atari, Time Bandit actually pre-dates Gauntlet by two years! But the story doesn’t simply end there in a weird jolt of potential plagiarism. No, because Time Bandit was admittedly heavily influenced by an even earlier arcade game by Konagi called Tutankham.

One of the creators, Harry Lafnear, admitted as much in an interview in 2003, which AmigaLove has been granted the permission to re-post on AmigaLove in its entirety. Lafnear explained:
"Actually, the game was originally called "Pharaoh" and was heavily based on the arcade game, Tutankham. If you've never seen it, you wind your way through a scrolling maze looking for keys to get past locks. You shoot tomb monsters and collect treasure along the way. Our twist was that you have a lot more freedom choosing which maps you want to visit, thanks to the Timegates.”
-) Some Timegates are direct rips of popular games of the times, including Pacman and Centipede. Taking your “Time Lord’ and running through a Pacman maze, where the enemies are essentially ghosts, is beyond awesome. Not to mention there are also the power pills, which you can use to gobble up the bad guys.

In terms of more mash-ups, you have to read the interview (particularly section 7) to get all of the different influences found in the game.

Time Bandit ultimately inspired and informed the Atari legend Gauntlet to some degree (as did Tutankham before it). Time Bandit, however, doesn’t get stuck in a single them of fantasy. It dabbles literally everywhere, and is a total blast to play.

Get your joystick ready. Time Bandit is about to steal some of your time away, too.
2 total votes



2 total votes
MichTron Corp.
Microdeal Ltd.
Bill Dunlevy, Harry Lafnear,
Harry Lafnear
Bill Dunlevy, Timothy M. Purves
Action, Arcade
Player mode:
Single-player, two player
Release date:

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