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Video Game / Time Commando

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Time Commando...

The future.

The military are training their soldiers with a program that can mimic any combat from any time period.

A man puts a predator virus into the system, creating a time vortex that threatens to consume the world.

Enter Stanley Opar, a S.A.V.E (Special Action for Virus Elimination) operative to get rid of the virus. But this virus might be more than he can handle...

Time Commando is a 1996 action-adventure game for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC, developed by Adeline Software and published by Electronic Arts, Activision and Virgin Interactive during several years. It is available on GOG and FINALLY on Steam.

Notable for the MANY different enemies and attack varieties (at least 6 per level, including bare fists), and allowing the player to bring down a tank with simple weapons.


This game provides examples of:

  • 1-Up: Odd triangle shaped items. Stanley starts with none but can carry up to three.
  • Acrofatic: The sumo wrestler in Feudal Japan level is very light on his feet.
  • Action Survivor: The hero is basically a glorified IT support technician.
  • After Boss Recovery: Averted. Even after a grueling boss fight you'll be left with the same amount of health for the next level.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Averted. The cavemen in the first level look Homo Sapiens.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: You fight a presumably karate monk in Feudal Japan. Medieval Europe also has these.
  • All There in the Manual: The intro doesn't explain what's going on in any detail. Even the name of the main character, Stanley Opar, is never stated in an updated intro where the narration was removed.
  • A.I. Breaker: The boss of the Conquistadors level will not start attacking you until you move. If you simply hold still as soon as you enter the room and just shoot him with the pistol and blowgun, you can kill him without taking a scratch.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Wild West and Modern Wars levels are much more oriented towards gun fighting rather than the melee combat from every other past level.
    • The final level makes Stanley much more agile with his movement and dodges than before. The Final Boss has Stanley and his partner flying around while fighting the Virus. Stanley also has to protect her as the Virus will hurt him if she is harmed.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. The Crossbow in Medieval Europe is among the deadliest weapons Stanley can use.
    • Played straight with Wild West enemies. While their arrows hurt, they're ridiculously slow and easy to dodge, but do serve as a deadly distraction to much more dangerous gun wielding enemies.
  • Arm Cannon: The Future has one. True to the trope, it can fire your entire ammunition without reloading.
  • Armor Is Useless: Generally averted. Heavily armored enemies can be only harmed by strong weapons. For instance, trying to punch heavily armored knights in the European Medieval Ages will result in No-Sell. The armored space suit that Stanley finds in the Future level also causes him to take much less damage from enemy attacks.
  • Bag of Spilling: Semi-justified as each time Stanley travels through time he loses all of his weapons.
  • Battle Theme Music: The music will get more intense during combat in several parts of all levels.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Especially when the boss of the Prehistoric level is one.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: You'll fight several enemies with their own weapons or weapons of the same type.
  • BFG: Medieval Europe has one of these used by enemies; you can get one for yourself too.
  • Big Red Devil: The final boss of Medieval Europe level.
  • Blade on a Stick: One of the weapons in the first level. Roman Empire features a trident and shield too.
  • Bottomless Pits: Shows up every once in a while and due to how graphics are rendered it's not always easy to distinguish them.
  • Bullfight Boss: Against an actual bull no less.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Two in the first level, a normal-sized and a gigantic one. The latter is so large that Stanley simply hides behind it when using it to block attacks.
  • Critical Annoyance: The Time Limit bar will start beeping loudly and constantly if it's too close to filling up.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Stanley can survive with a sliver of health just fine. Anything beyond it drops him dead.
  • Covers Always Lie: See all those weapons Stanley carries before the adventure starts? He never wears them, not even in the game's intro.
  • Damsel in Distress: The final level.
  • Death Cry Echo: Most enemies and Stanley, in some cases, do this upon meeting their demise.
  • Deadly Dodging: All enemy attacks are capable of damaging other enemies, so proper use of this trope can make otherwise tough fights much easier.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Averted. Only few armed enemies don't drop their weapons.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: You can't fire any ranged weapon while moving at all.
  • Early Game Hell: Some of the levels can be difficult until you get a hold of at least one weapon.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: In the Future, an elevator ride gets interrupted twice by enemies.
  • Empty Room Psych: Here and there, though most of times you'll have at least one Hidden Bonus in it.
  • Everything Fades: Dead enemies will break up into fragments that fly up and offscreen. Getting a Game Over will show Stanley disappearing in similar fashion.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Anyone/thing you meet is an enemy. No exceptions. Partly justified as it's the virus' doing and all enemies are anomalies that must be killed to clean the program.
  • Excuse Plot: The whole idea of the virtual reality training is basically an excuse to allow players to kill things from different eras of time.
  • Fixed Camera: No level allows free camera change at all.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, and how. A skilled player can make enemies hit each other and in some cases enemies will brawl among themselves because of that.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Stanley is member of the S.A.V.E (Special Action for Virus Elimination).
  • Fur Bikini: The Nubile Savage actually wears a fur minidress.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Most final bosses of a historical period are this. There's little to absolutely no foreshadowing of them. For instance: one of the final enemies in Feudal Japan is a dragon.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One of the weapons you get in the Future level isn't actually a weapon, but a space suit. It does actually have a point, but you only find this out after failing to use it at the right moment gets you killed (aside from this, wearing it also greatly reduces the damage you take from enemy attacks).
    • Certain enemies can only be killed by one particular weapon. One particularly irritating mini-boss in the Medieval Europe level can only be killed by a weapon that can only be picked up by examining a piece of scenery in a corner of the previous room, with very little to distinguish it from the rest of the pre-rendered background.
    • After killing the dragon in Feudal Japan, you need to interact with the pot to proceed.
    • Finding Hidden Bonuses isn't much easier. You have a very vague sound cuenote  that plays seconds later of coming near the spot and even then actually making Stanley get them can make you go on a 3D Pixel Hunting.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Twin Revolvers weapon for the Wild West. Yeah, despite having a single revolver as a weapon, somehow dual-wielding the same gun counts as a different weapon.
  • Guns Are Worthless: This game averts this trope. Any time a gun is available it'll be times stronger than any other weapon.
  • Gun Twirling: In the Wild West level, this is the reloading animation for the Twin Revolvers weapon. It's the fastest reload of any available weapon, and therefore essential in the boss fight.
  • Heroic Mime: Stanley doesn't have much to say during the game besides screaming a lot while fighting and an eventual "Oh yeah!" upon finding Hidden Bonuses.
  • Idle Animation: Leave Stanley alone long enough and he'll start dancing. Some weapons also have unique idle animations.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • The Future has a Melee Weapon too. It is a Yo-yo. That can destroy heavily armored Robots.
    • The Modern Wars stage has a mook who blows cigar smoke as an attack.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: Careless melee combat results in this. Enemies will try to get between your attacks and maul you.
  • Killer Gorilla: The first boss of the Prehistoric level. More appear later with varied sizes.
  • Knife Nut: The first melee weapon of the game is a bone knife. Roman Empire's first enemy is a lady ready to shank you.
  • Life Meter: In the form of batteries.
  • Loading Screen: In the form of the 1-Up with clock hands.
  • Magic Knight: Stanley can become one having Sword & Shield and Magic Scrolls in the Medieval Europe stage.
  • Magical Computer: And probably half the sub-tropes.
  • Magnet Hands: All weapon holding enemies and Stanley himself.
  • Mayincatec: With human sacrifices and mystic technology.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Losing one life automatically removes one Heart Container from you.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Unfortunately it's only available if you lose a life.
  • Mighty Glacier: Some weapons like the massive club from Prehistory and the axe from Roman Empire turns Stanley into this. He won't be fast, but damn, is he going to hurt if he lands the attack.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Stanley can use any melee weapon.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The boss of the Wild West level is a group of normal bandits. They're just like the other enemies you've fought in the level but the number of them, and the fact that they can all shoot at you while you need to focus fire on one of them, makes them dangerous. It's pretty much required to start the fight with the double-barreled shotgun, then switch to the twin revolvers.
  • Ninja: Found in the Japanese Middle Ages.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Any weapon, even a dinky dagger, is almost always preferable to unarmed combat. Certainly, your enemies will not hold back.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even on Normal the game is pretty tough. Hard makes enemies more numerous, stronger, tougher, faster and much more aggressive.
    • On top of everything the Time Limit won't reset after completing levels nor is your health refilled.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In the Future triggering the last event without wearing the space suit will kill Stanley instantly regardless of how many lives you still have.
  • Nubile Savage: The woman in very first level.
  • Panthera Awesome: There is a smilodon in the Prehistoric level.
  • Password Save: The game has this even though it also has save slots for every checkpoint you reach. Helpful if you want to skip immediately to a certain level.
  • Playing Possum: In the Future, there are space zombies that will try to do this. Remember, it ain't dead if it don't fade!
  • Respawn on the Spot
  • Rolling Attack: The sumo wrestler from the Japanese Middle Age will do this.
  • Rule of Cool: The whole game runs on this trope; gets ramped up towards the end.
  • Save Point: An odd case where it also counts a Checkpoint. They'll also restore some of the time limit if you have chips for it.
  • Sidetrack Bonus: Moving from the most obvious path often rewards the player with Hidden Bonuses (although they still have to be manually uncovered) or Hidden Rooms.
  • Screaming Warrior: Stanley does like to scream and grunt when attacking with melee weapons. He doesn't when using guns, though.
  • She-Fu: Stanley Opar is an extremely rare male example. However, he only does his acrobatic fight style (cartwheel, backflips included) in the final level.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Dying to melee weapons will knock Stanley down, dying to guns will have him clutching his chest before falling dead.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There's usually only one woman per level (Feudal Japan level has two).
  • Threatening Shark: The Predator Virus looks like a shark.
  • Time Crash: The predator virus' time vortex can apparently cause this.
  • Timed Mission: All of them. There's a bar filling up that will cause Stanley to lose one life if it does so. Fortunately there are places where you can feed "chips" to temporarily reduce the bar's progress. Unfortunately death by time limit will not reset it completely.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It's quite possible to get to an enemy without the one weapon you must use to kill it.
  • Victory Pose: Sometimes Stanley will strike a triumphant pose at the end of a level, others he'll simply take a deep, relieved, breath.
  • World War III: The second part of the Modern Wars's level supposedly takes place during this one (The first part takes place in World War I). Double Subverted when it seems that this third war is a non-nuclear one. Cue a cutscene showing a mushroom cloud as you leave. Also interestingly the Future level is supposed to be Stanley's own era which is stated to be 2020. So in this reality World War III happened anywhere between the end of The '90s and the end of The New '10s.


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