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Time Bandit

Description official descriptions

Time Bandit is a Gauntlet-style arcade game with text adventure elements.

Having nothing to do with the Terry Gilliam movie Time Bandits, this game utilises the time-travel theme for a fast-paced preview of the concept getting famous with Gauntlet two years later. Your bandit visits 16 different worlds throughout time to grab as much loot as possible and, in the long run, do some universe-saving stuff as well.

Each of the 16 locations -- featuring such varied places like a medieval arena, a bomb factory, a wrecked spaceship and a ghost town -- is basically a labyrinth filled with treasure and -- you guessed it -- monsters. You've got to dodge these or blast them with your weapon, while collecting keys, opening doors and searching for the exit. Although theoretically each location consists of 16 sub-levels, these are merely the basic layout flipped or mirrored, some items redistributed and the monster speed increased. After completing a level, you return to the world map, where you may freely choose the next challenge (nice) and save your game (very nice).

Interestingly, Time Bandit tries to spice up the fast arcade action with text adventure scenes. Due to this strange mixture, you will occasionally bump into persons or computer consoles with which interaction is possible. For example, you've got to explore and repair the damaged spaceship Excalibur. However, the parser is crude at best; you'll have to know exactly what to do, or else you will trigger no reaction.

Gaming veterans will discover a score of elements of and allusions to arcade classics, such as Tutankham, Pac-Man, Centipede, Bomberman, and others.

Groups +



Credits (TRS-80 CoCo version)




Developer Harry Lafnear couldn't stop himself from turning the game's background story into a poem in the manual. The following excerpt does (in my humble opinion) not only perfectly sum up the poet's talent, but also the whole plot and the entire significance of the game:

*Into all the confusion the Time Bandit goes.

Among the Guardians he finds only foes.

For he takes the treasures that they wish to own

And carries them off for reasons unknown.*



  • Zzap!
    • January 1990 (Issue 57) – 'The Best Games of the 80's Decade' (Stuart Wynne)

Related Games

Time Bandit
Released 1984 on Atari 8-bit
Released 1977 on KIM-1
Released 1986 on DOS
Released 1977 on Mainframe, Sol-20
Released 1970 on Mainframe, 1975 on Wang 2200, 1981 on Sol-20
Released 1983 on Commodore 64, VIC-20
Released 1989 on Atari ST
Candy Bandit
Released 1983 on Commodore 64
Sea Bandit
Released 1983 on Atari 8-bit

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 2468


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by -Chris.

Amiga added by B.L. Stryker. TRS-80, Dragon 32/64 added by Kabushi. TRS-80 CoCo added by L. Curtis Boyle. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: FatherJack.

Last modified February 22nd, 2023.