Time Commando

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a game by Activision
Genre: Action
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 6.2/10, based on 6 reviews, 7 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.3/10 - 6 votes
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See also: Action Adventure Games, Action Games

Become a computer repairman from the future in this third-person action/adventure. A powerful computer virus has thrown you back in time, and, of course, you have to battle more than 80 historical enemies to get back to the present. Each of the 18 levels requires mastering a weapon of that time period as you club your way from the prehistoric age to 20th-century shootouts and beyond.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Not much is known about this game, which comes from the developers of Alone in the Dark. According to our sources, Time Commando will involve traveling back and forth into the past and future, battling enemies with, more than 50 weapons. The weapons will be specific to each of the nine time periods. It's an intriguing premise, and the game sports sharp graphics, even at this very early stage.


A computer virus has infected the Historical Tactical Center's Supercomputer. The only way to stop the virus is to travel back to the beginning of time and battle your way back to the heart of the virus. Time is only one of the foes you will encounter along your journey that spans across the decades. The only way to gain valuable time and slow the virus is by collecting uninfected memory chips and placing them in a memory upload terminal that temporarily stalls the virus. Just when you think you have the virus stalled long enough, a new enemy crosses in your path.

Are you up to the challenge? You better pack some extra clothes because this is going to be a long journey.


Time Commando is a difficult game to place a label on. It is a combination Action-Adventure-Fighting-Strategy. There is a little bit of everything wrapped up in this one. The object of Time commando is to gather uninfected memory chips to stop a computer virus from destroying the memory of your supercomputer. These memory chips are randomly placed throughout different time periods. You have been sent back in time to recover the chips and save the supercomputer.

The first time period you must complete is the prehistoric era. In this era, you battle cavemen, apes and tigers. Now, the best part of all of this? You must battle these enemies only with the weapons available for this time period. These weapons include a small club, knife, rock, spear, large club and your bare hands. This world is fairly easy, giving you a chance to adjust to the controls and get comfortable with the game.

The next era takes you to the Roman Empire. There are a number of enemies ranging from a very mean pharaoh to a whole army of Roman soldiers. The weapons include a dagger, double-edged sword, sling, trident and shield and an ax. The game gets difficult quickly in this era.

The remaining time periods are the Japanese, Medieval, Conquistador, Western, Modern Wars, Future and ending with the virus itself. You begin each level with only your bare hands to defend yourself. You must acquire weapons by either searching or defeating an enemy with a weapon. Each time frame contains weapons only available at that point in history.

At the beginning of this section, I said that this game was difficult to put in one category. First I said it was an action game. You are always in a race against the clock. Enemies are constantly challenging you, trying to stop you from making it to the next time period.

Next, I called it an adventure game. Time Commando has some fairly large worlds with numerous hidden treasures along the way. Be careful or you may spend too much time looking and not enough time moving forward.

Then, I said fighting. Now, this is not your Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat type fighter. It is a hand-to-hand, exchange-blows-until-someone-falls type fighter. This is really all the game needs. Activision is not trying to make this a pure fighting game.

Finally, I called it a strategy game. Time Commando is full of strategy. My guess is that this game was designed for the PC and ported over to the Playstation because most PC games are more strategy-based and most Playstation games are arcade-based. Time Commando is a good combination of both but definitely leans toward the strategy side.


Graphically, Time Commando was pretty good. During gameplay they were nothing spectacular but they are a great fit for this game. Activision appeared to be going for substance and a good game over sparkly graphics. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are good but don't expect full screen, 3D enemies. I will say that the intro screen is graphically spectacular. Activision must have spent a long time creating the intro. It is well worth watching more than once.

Bottom Line

Time Commando is fun. Plain and simple. I played this game for hours. I was always wondering what my next enemy would be or what weapon I would find next. The idea of starting from the beginning of time and fighting through the different eras was pretty cool. My only complaints about the game are that you can't backtrack, and that there are not enough clues on where to search for necessary items. Both of these are minor since you don't have to find everything to win the game. Some of the sound effects and facial expressions of the enemies are a little silly but it sort of lightens the game up. If you are looking for a game that will give you hours of fun, excitement, frustration and then more fun, pick this one up.

People say:


Although the Idea behind Time Commando is Interesting-traveling in time fighting the population of that time period--The control of the characters while battling is tedious. This Is mainly when you're fighting smaller enemies (like spiders, etc! The backgrounds pan as you move around the level which looks cool but also makes it hard to control at times, The weapons you can obtain from the various eras are very cool (like a dub or machine gun), There are a huge amount of enemies to fight, everything from people to animals. The character animations are just hilarious, though they probably aren't supposed to be.


Time Commando sports some of the freshest concepts seen in quite a while, Ravel to exotic worlds and visit zany times, I loved foe different locales and foe weapons that go along with them. (Self plug: See my Next Wave rattled) I found the combat to be a pain In the you-know-what to handle, Many enemies are almost Impossible to hit In hand-to-hand combat, Ranged combat Is mildly better, that Is, until you try to reload your guns (forget about it--switch weapons Instead), The only real parts of this game that l enjoyed are the backgrounds and the weapons, but I liked them enough to give the game a "worth" score.


I thought this game was pretty entertaining--but for too many of the wrong reasons. TC Is, well, goofy. Your character-who looks a little like he's buck naked-walks with a stiff, silly shuffle through the game's FMV environment. His karate moves look hokey, too, as if the guy doesn't really know any mar-tall arts but is Just pretending, Fortunately, most of the bad guys don't look as goofy (except for the angry chimps you fight In the first level). TC does have a cool plot and plenty of levels-and time periods-to explore, These levels are linear, though; they just keep you moving forward from one fight to the next.


I found this game so funny, I couldn't possibly rate It badly. The reaction of the monkeys when you punch them In their lower regions Is priceless. Even though the control is less than friendly, I feel this game is good fun for the player who plays It on the easy level and takes It for what it is. The rest of the game includes an interesting plot and some really fun levels to explore. Items and hidden objects only Improve the complexity and allow the serious player to search while looking for Items helpful In his journey. Overall, a failed attempt at a challenging video game, but in turn Is somehow still mysteriously fun to play.

Where can you find yourself clubbing Homo Erectus one second and lobbing plasma grenades at (extraterrestrials the next? In Activision's newest title Time Commando, of course. This PlayStation action-adventure takes you through several eras in Earth's history and future in an attempt to avert a major chronological disaster. In our future, scientists from a wealthy corporation discover how to travel through time. The military uses this technology to study combat tactics in the past and future.

A competing company decides to sabotage some of the military's experiments with a computer virus. This virus gets a little out of hand and creates a time vortex that threatens to destroy everything. Luckily, a special team has been created for contingencies like this (this has shades of the movie Time Cop all over it, doesn't it?).

This is where you come in: You play as Stanley, special agent of S.A.V.E. (Special Action for Virus Elimination). Stanley, trying to stop this virus, is sucked into the vortex and gets sent back in time.

He must face numerous obstacles in various eras, all while collecting healthy (non-infected) memory chips. These chips are needed to slow down the virus' infection rate because if the infection becomes complete, the vortex will envelop everything and our existence will become nil.

Time Commando is an action game with a new twist on the time limit. As you progress through the game, a meter is continually building, showing the virus' (and therefore the vortex) growth. When you collect chips and send them back to the main computer, the virus' power wanes. You have to obtain enough chips and complete each level quickly enough to prevent the virus from completely destroying everything.

It is not as simple, however, as a race against time. Enemies in every era will try to halt your progress. All of these opponents are representative of the time period they are from. World War I soldiers will try to stab you with their bayonets, and knights will try to smash you with their morning stars. What's great is that you arrive in each era barehanded. so you'll get to use the same weapons that your enemies use (see Gamer's Edge). Your weapons don't carry over from level to level, so you'll be using new weapons every time.

The different types of levels for the different ages are also fantastic. Each stage's backgrounds were rendered to draw you not only into the game, but into a new world. You'll see medieval castles, Aztec pyramids and futuristic alien worlds. The scenery is lush and detailed. It scrolls along smoothly as you travel but in a limiting fashion. The backgrounds were retendered, not real-time rendered, so don't expect anything like another Doom game.

Time Commando is almost worth getting just to see the amazing worlds. On the other hand, any gamer will tell you that graphics do not make the game; gameplay and fun does. To see how Time Commando fares in those vital categories, check out this month's Review Crew.

  • MANUFACTURER - Activision
  • DIFFICULTY - Moderate
  • THEME - Action


A deadly virus has invaded the military's top-secret super computer. Spreading at lethal speeds, its catastrophic time-warping effects now threaten to overtake the computer systems of the world. If the core memory cannot be restored in time, the situation will escalate irreparably ... the future will be ruled by chaos ... and the virus will mean the world's collapse. The battle lines are drawn. Time holds the key to stopping this technological demon's out-of-control mutations. The corridors of history are its battlefields. Vicious warriors, both past and future, form the barriers to freedom. Instinct is a Time Commando's only armor; all-out warfare his only choice. This is the setting for Time Commando, a game that mixes the fun of 3D fighting with the beauty of pre-rendered scenes. You fight your way through a variety of enemies in several different ages and locales, in a pre-rendered environment similar (but superior) to that in Rebel Assault, with a greater deal of control. Although it is a fighting game, any time you kill a monster, since they are computer creations and not real, they disintegrate into a swirl of pixels, so you parents with young kids, relax. If you don't like blood and gore, it's okay. However, this is still a fighting game, so don't expect things like quests, conversations, and "edutainment." This is an action game, pure and simple.


This game's graphics are its strong point, and both screenshots and actual video are quite impressive to watch. Throughout the stages of the game, there are a variety of environments (outdoors, in a castle, in a Japanese temple, on a battlefield, etc.), and each one varies from the others in colors and textures, thus avoiding the color overload that can happen with Quake or some other games. In addition, each of the characters has been given a wide variety of moves, allowing them to move and interact smoothly. Even after winning the game, I found myself watching the credits a couple of times to see all of the enemies that walk out and strut their stuff. When it comes to graphics, this game is a winner.

I really enjoyed the richness of the graphical environment. Everything is pre-rendered, so shadows, reflections, transparency, et al abound, making for an entertaining setting. These are not just fighting arenas. They are cities, castles, houses, and battlefields, so you will find books, clothes, tools, and all of the things you would expect to see in such an environment. Although you can not interact with the majority of these items, they make you feel like you are truly there. Many locales, especially the Modern Wars (my personal favorite), are very extensively detailed, and make for convincing and entertaining battles. The team responsible for the graphics, both pre-rendered and real-time, deserves a pat on the back for a job well done. This is the kind of game you might run for your kid brother to show off your new computer. Several screenshots and videos are available on the Activision web site, and should give you a good feel for the level of detail and action that exists in the game.


In Time Commando, the sounds are well done and add appropriate atmosphere, but not to the point that they are absorbing. Although I enjoyed the sounds of the game, I did not find myself listening for enemies or trying to pick up any other audio hints. On the other hand, the sounds did add an element of excitement to the game, like the way the karate masters run around screaming "hi-yaa" and chopping through the air. The sounds do not play an integral part in the game, but are definitely entertaining.


Documentation for this game was par for the course. There was a handy little key sheet, which I greatly appreciated (it means I don't have to read anything until after I have died a couple of times and whet my taste for blood). In addition, the CD cover has an ample color description of the storyline, items, moves, and interface. Although documentation was not extensive for a game like this, there is no need for a thick manual.


This is the one part of the game that I have a big gripe about. Although the game was fun, in many stages, it was totally aggravating. In fact, I have friends that quit the game halfway through (which is where it finally starts to get good!) because of the clumsiness of the interface.

First of all, most hand-to-hand combat is a pain in the behind. With most weapons, you have three modes: Attack1, Attack2, and Defend. The two attack modes are typically similar attacks with different times and damage, such as punches and kicks, and the defend command usually steps you back to get out of range. This changes with range weapons, but the idea stays the same.

The problem comes in the fact that there is little grace in hand-to-hand combat in this game. This is not Virtua Fighter. Do not expect to see yourself dancing back and forth, doing smooth crane kicks and eye-popping combos. Instead, you have a simple question to answer: Do I punch or kick? Do I thrust or slash? Do I swing or smash? That is really what close-quarters combat narrows down to -- either action A or B, and it occasionally gets annoying. You get the feeling that you are jerking around a clumsy mannequin, with poor results.

Secondly, this game resorts to a factor that I absolutely detest in a game: pixel hunts. You know, where you have to activate a secret button or twist a pot lid to continue the game. While this in itself is annoying, it is compounded by the fact that you are in a race against time, and when time runs out you lose a life. Also, your player is a very slow searcher, so every time you hit the search key, he staggers around for several seconds before raising his hands in defeat and saying "huh?"

The real frustration point that I have heard is near the end of the Japanese Middle Ages level. You fight a big dragon and once you defeat him, you come to an altar with several pots around it. You are low on time, and you have to try twisting all the pots, pushing on the altar, etc. before you can find the way to continue. I spent well over thirty minutes before I found that in order to open it, you had to twist one of the pots while standing at a certain spot and a certain angle.

I was very frustrated by this, because even when I knew where to go and what to do, I still could not do it. In addition, occasionally there are situations like this where you don't even know what to push, so you keep wandering around, pushing everything (saying "Huh? Huh? Huh?") until you find it. This is what makes people quit the game, and I don't blame them. These kind of interface problems should have been ironed out in consumer testing, and I was disappointed that they were not.

These hindrances are only prevalent in the initial stages, and later on in the game, you get hints, such as the phone ringing or a space suit before entering a room that looks like an airlock (hmm ... ). If you can get past the difficult parts in the first half of the game, the rest gets much better. I just wish there was less start-and-stop in it.

System Requirements

100% IBM-compatible PC, Pentium processor, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 10 MB hard drive space, 256 color VGA (320x200)

Recommended: 640x480 w/ VESA VLB or PCI video card, 100% SoundBlaster-compatible sound card, Win 95 or DOS (it comes with a version for each)

Reviewed on: P-133 w/ Win 95, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 PCI

Bottom Line

Time Commando is one of those love/hate games. I loved the game, and still play it regularly, especially the latter stages such as the Conquistadors and Modern Wars, both of which are filled with a good deal of swashbuckling, cool weapons, and lots of fun and interesting locales. However, there was a big gripe to get over before I got to this point. Once you get over the clumsy movements, the single-direction game flow, and the annoying pixel searches, this game is a lot of fun and looks very nice. This is a fun, beautiful game with flawed execution. Although I want to rate it higher, I have to give it an 81 when I think of all the frustration I had with it and the number of times I considered putting it down, which is something I don't want to see in a game. I want the world to finally pull me away from a game after long hours, not the game to push me away to a more comfortable setting. This could have been a great game, but I can only call it good. If you think you would enjoy a game like this, I suggest you go out and get it. If waiting 15 minutes for pizza delivery is too long, I recommend something non-stop, like boxing.

Time Commando is a good adventure game that sometimes takes too much time to get to the action. As Stanley the Time Commando, you must defeat a virus that threatens to destroy reality from inside a virtual combat supercomputer. You journey through eight historical environments, such as feudal Japan, medieval Europe, and America's Wild West, where virtual foes from each period ambush you.

During battles, the intelligently configured controls enable you to launch creative attacks. You can find five weapons in each era, and you can effortlessly fire off combinations, block attacks, and switch weapons.

Commando's polygon-rendered character graphics are sharp and the backgrounds are a knockout, but the animation is sometimes glaringly stiff.

Time Commando's main shortcoming is sluggish overall game speed. Fighting moves are fluid and smooth, but basic moves like jogging or simple turning are slow. The overall effect is to make the game feel slow between fights.

Patient players who don't mind going slow at times will find a good adventure here. Given time, Commando could grow on you.


  • Since unarmed combat enables you to kick, in some situations it's more effective than short-range weapons like the dagger.
  • Search suspicious areas immediately. The autoscrolling screen won't give you a second chance.
  • Some power-ups and weapons are hidden, so search behind background objects like bushes and rocks.
  • Jump aside by pressing 12 or R2, and your loe is momentarily open to attack.
  • Your forward jumps take time to execute. Get the timing down because you need to jump past critical obstacles.


The lush cinematics and smooth fighting movements are cool, but the overall visual impact is diminished by pokey, lame-looking basic moves.


Succinct effects and unobtrusive background meld nicely with the action.


Crisp controls make possible a creative mix of combat moves. You can actually develop a style on both offense and defense.

Fun Factor

Time Commando is a solid adventure game with a simple yet effective combat system, but it may be too slow for some tastes.

Snapshots and Media

Playstation Screenshots