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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.


Time Bandit DOS The bridge of the starship Excalibur. Read messages on the terminals.
Time Bandit DOS Nice crypt. Plenty of foes, though.
Time Bandit DOS The Darkside is a real challenge: the walls appear on touch.
Time Bandit DOS An interlude of interactive fiction.

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Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

Still has some things to work out Matt Stamas (2) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Power Play Mar, 1989 74 out of 100 74


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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)

-Chris (7561) added Time Bandit (DOS) on Oct 01, 2000
Other platforms contributed by B.L. Stryker (21078), Kabushi (229961), L. Curtis Boyle (750) and Belboz (6582)