I've got 31 years of video gaming under my belt. I remember arcades from 1980 until they closed down for most of the country. I remember playing some of the hardest games known to man. I remember when SNK was prominent in the arcades and really brought some great material to gamers.
What I don't remember is Time Soldiers from SNK, which could possibly be the hardest arcade game known to man.
What to expect...
Straight out of the Ikari Warriors (1986) book for blowing sh*t up, Time Soldiers brings the same type of gameplay that made IW a helluva hit. You have 360 degree rotation on your character from a top-down viewpoint. You have hoards of oncoming enemies to deal with as you progress through various historical eras trying to rescue your soldiers from the clutches of enemies.
If you were looking at this title without playing it, you would swear it's just a beautiful carbon copy of the Ikari Warriors with a different theme, time travel, built into it. You would be right for the most part. You get an insane amount of action in this shooter that seriously doesn't stop. You have bosses at the end of each era that create an insane amount of fighting. It's classic just because of these elements.
When I mention 'an insane amount of fighting', I really mean an INSANE amount of fighting. And that could be the downfall of this title.
What to watch out for…
This was out in the arcades in 1987 and it had to create one of two things for SNK:
1. Making them rich as hell.
2. Dying quickly from the arcades.
What's funny about those two choices is that the second has a double meaning. You literally will die quickly in this game. Before you even start, just load up the credits because you're guaranteed to die in the first 30 seconds of playing it. You have so many enemies and so much gunfire coming at you through every level of the game. If someone took $5 worth of quarters with them to the arcade with strong intentions of only playing Time Soldiers then it would last about 15 minutes at best. I went through 8 credits in the game within a 5-minute period of playing.
And before you think it, no, I don't suck at top-down shooters. I was raised on them!
Time Soldiers is just an incredibly difficult game. It might frustrate you, but for me it just made me giggle a bit. It's got some really intense moments, as you get some impossibly tough bosses and hoards of enemies to keep the action going, but the 'death' factor really does put a slight damper on the overall gameplay.
For $2.99, I can deal with that, but some gamers who weren't raised on video games like this might just immediately hate it. It's a good game, though it's incredibly difficult.
With that said, you should see that entire section of this review as a challenge to you. Haha… yeah.