Capybara Games has gone back to the 80s in the newest preview build of Super T.I.M.E. Force. By 80s, I mean 80,000,000 BC, or the Cretaceous era. That’s right — it’s a pixelated shooter with a unique hook, and now it includes dinosaurs. Continue reading as soon as you’re done fist-pumping.
The basis of the game hasn’t changed from the build at PAX East 2012. The game is a side-scrolling action-shooter in the vein of Contra, where you’re tasked with blasting through as many enemies as possible until you reach the end of the level. The enemies are usually placed in the most inconvenient place possible for the player — a flamethrowing enemy at the bottom of a ramp and out of view, pointing his weapon toward the top, for example — so you’ll likely die many times when tackling a level for the first time. However, dying is actually a big part of how the game plays. Restarting allows your previous attempts to repeat their actions alongside you as “ghosts”, meaning their bullets will kill the same enemies they did the first time through. It’s not uncommon to see an entire gang of ghostly soldiers around a player who died more than a few times on a difficult stretch. If you can prevent them from perishing then you’ll be able to save them and add their life back into your total. That spot will also serve as a checkpoint to restart from, should you fail again in the future.
There were four classes of character initially available at the start of this new demo build, each with a special attack: A single-bullet gunner with a spreadshot, a laser-rifle wielding chick who can shoot through walls, a shield operator who can reflect attacks and a grenade launcher who can fire missiles. The team takes the Wayback Machine all the way to the days of the dinosaurs in an attempt to save them from extinction, which is slightly ironic because you’ll kill every one you come across. The end of the level culminates in a fight with a mechanically-altered tyrannosaurus rex, complete with a rapid-fire machine gun and grenade cannon. He’ll eventually drop a new companion and playable character — a skateboarding dinosaur with sunglasses who looks like he dropped off of a 1990s cereal box. I mentioned to the booth operative that he reminded me of “Poochie” from The Simpsons and got a pretty strong laugh. “He definitely has been ‘Poochified'” he replied.
The final level of the demo is set on the wings of a plane in flight, similar to the boss battle against Captain Orange in Gunstar Heroes. A large, rock-encrusted ship is in the background firing smaller rocks at you. Destroying them eventually gives way to the ship itself, which you’ll defeat by clearing a path through the geological armor and shooting the operator inside.
Capybara is currently playing with the idea of having one life total through the whole game, meaning players would have to return to previously played levels and prevent previous deaths if they happened to run out of lives later in the game. While it’s just an idea right now, they have plenty of time to figure it out. Super T.I.M.E. Force is slated for a 2013 release, which sounds way too far away for our liking. If there were only some way the team could go forward in time to bring us a completed version of the game back. Or just teach us how to do it — we aren’t picky.