Ikari Warriors was a classic top-down vertically-scrolling arcade shoot ’em up where you played as a couple of soldiers trying to reach some village but having to shoot through ridiculous amounts of enemies before getting there.
The sequel, Victory Road, saw the game’s Rambo-like protagonists time travel, funnily enough.
Which is why a Sega Master System port of the game was planned and… somehow kinda got made.
Except it ended up being called Time Soldiers.
The game opens with some big cyborg dude capturing a bunch of little soldier guys:
And the plot is promptly spelt out for us:
I suppose “Gylend” is either the big robot dude’s name or some form of futuristic transportation I don’t know about because it doesn’t exist yet.
Like space blimps, or something.
I’m also unclear as to where these guys have traveled back to but I’m sure the game’ll tell me momentarily.
Ok, this phrase is all over the place but basically I think I need to go back to “The Age Of Rome” in order to find one or some of these guys.
Actually, they’re kinda scattered around various historical locations so you’ve got a few different places to travel back to, including the upbeat-sounding:
Wow, all of ’em?!
Nah, it’s never specified which war we’re stuck in the middle of but it doesn’t matter, all you need to know is your enemies are random soldiers:
Random soldiers in jeeps:
And… really big tanks:
The first thing you notice playing the game, or at least it’s what I personally first noticed, is the sound effects which really don’t seem to match the action on screen all that much. It kinda sounds like you’re constantly throwing large pieces of cheese at an iron gate while your phone rings over and over in the background.
Not so much like you’re shooting at bad guys with guns.
The music doesn’t exactly help putting you in the right mood as it’s got more of a medieval feel to it and sounds more like it belongs on a Game Boy Gauntlet game. It’s not bad, it’s just not exactly what you’d expect from that type of adventure specifically.
Another level is amusingly called:
I was confused at first but I think that by “The Primitive Age”, they actually meant Bedrock because…
Cavemen and dinosaurs coexisted it seems:
Anyway, that level builds up to its inevitable conclusion: you fighting a big green Stegosaurus.
And a T-Rex, or at least I think that’s what they were going for:
It’s shooting flames out of its mouth!
What an odd-looking dragon.
You only get three continues per player so, although the game is a little less non-stop than Ikari Warriors, it’s still pretty challenging considering there are so many enemies and bosses to beat.
You travel from time period to time period with the help of this device called a D-Scanner which you tend to find at the end of each level:
The graphics in the game aren’t mind-blowing but they’re decent enough, definitely worthy of an Ikari Warriors game. Although the floor background you see in the screenshot above appears several times in completely different timelines, which is a little lazy on the game designers’ part.
Kinda hard to tell what you’re fighting half the time in The Age Of Rome, by the way.
Although I’m pretty sure that’s the Egyptian god Anubis.
I’m not sure why he’s here, frankly.
The best part of this game, arguably, is the bosses which, with the exception of that stupid tank, are pretty creative and memorable. I mean, one second you’re hanging around the front line during World War I or II, the next you’re fighting a badass goat demon!
How cool is THAT?!
There’s also a Juggernaut-style tough guy in there to beat:
And this creepy red-haired demon dude:
They of course get harder and harder as the game goes on but they’re never impossible.
Even good old Gylend:
The other level you get to discover is The Future World, which looks pretty much how you’d expect.
Blue-themed and full of complex machinery and blinking lights that do nothing:
It’s a fun, action-packed game which could have done with a tad more variety level-wise but which never gets boring. There’s always something to shoot at or somewhere to go.
Unfortunately, the ending is unexpectedly anti-climactic and the game kinda gives up on you at the last second.
Thanks for that, that was totally worth travelling through time, potentially screwing up present day forever in the craziest of ways, destroying dragon dinosaurs, Pacific Rim robots and anime-style demons.
Oh well, at least the enemies were cool.
Yes, even the pink ones.
Overall I do recommend Time Soldiers: it’s a fun, enjoyable arcade-style Master System port that’s definitely worth a go, especially if you’re a fan of Ikari Warriors and the Commando games.
Or the movie Commando.
That’s a great movie, right there.