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Time Pilot

From The Cutting Room Floor
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Title Screen

Time Pilot

Developer: Konami
Publishers: Konami (JP), Centuri (NA/EU), Atari, Inc.
Platform: Arcade (Custom)
Released in JP: November 1982
Released in US: December 1982
Released in EU: December 1982


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
PiracyIcon.png This game has anti-piracy features.


Time Pilot is a multi-directional shooter inspired by Namco's Bosconian. It is not a driving game.

Anti-Piracy

Konami Copyright String

There are two copies of the Konami copyright string in the game: One at 0x086D (Konami) / 0x086F (Centuri) / 0x086C (Atari), and another at 0x4902 (Konami) / 0x4925 (Centuri) / 0x487F (Atari). The game draws the first string on even-numbered frames and the second string on odd-numbered frames. Potential pirates would have to find both strings to actually change the text on the title screen.

...but it's more complicated than that, because there are many more checks to keep pirates at bay.

Phase One - Game Boot

The game gets the checksum of three bytes: The palette number for the Konami copyright string on the title screen, the first character ("©" or "L" depending on the publisher), and the third character ("K" or "C"). If the checksum doesn't match, the game will not boot.

Phase Two - Crosshatch Pattern

On the crosshatch screen, the game gets the checksum of memory space 0x5648-0x5647 (Konami) / 0x0E20-0x0F1F (Centuri) / 0x0BC0-0CBF (Atari). If the checksum doesn't match, the game resets.

Phase Three - Title

There are multiple checks on the title screen.
Before drawing the "CREDIT" text...

  • In the Konami version only, the game gets the checksum of 0x086B-0x087E (The copyright string). Game resets if checksum doesn't match.

Before displaying the high score table...

  • In the Konami version only, before displaying the high score table, the game checks to see if the copyright string is using palette 05 or 10. If it doesn't use either, the game hangs.

On the transition from the high score table to the game demos...

  • The first check gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x0008-0x0307 (Konami) / 0x0038-0x0307 (Centuri) / 0x4930-0x4C2F (Atari). Game resets if checksum doesn't match.
  • The second check gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x3310-0x340F (Konami) / 0x4850-0x494F (Centuri). Game hangs if checksum doesn't match.

Phase Four - Demo / Gameplay

Before drawing enemy plane icons on HUD...

  • In the Konami version only, the game gets the checksum of 0x0711-0x0811. Game resets if checksum doesn't match.

Before displaying the "READY" text...

  • Game gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x4D9F-0x4E9E (Konami) / 0x0114-0x0213 (Centuri) / 0x0090-0x018F (Atari). Game hangs if checksum doesn't match.

On the transition from the demo / game to the title...

  • The first check gets the checksum of the first three bytes of the second copyright string (Konami / Centuri) or the first copyright string (Atari). If checksum doesn't match, game hangs.
  • The second check gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x4AA0-0x4BA0 (Konami) / 0x1880-0x197F (Centuri) / 0x16A0-0x179F (Atari). Game resets if checksum doesn't match.

Phase Five - Special Copyright Checks

The following four checks are only in the Konami version. The game checks to see if certain characters in the Konami copyright string have been modified and saves those values in RAM before starting a new game.
When the player loses a life...

  • If the "M" in the copyright string isn't using palette 05 or 10, the game resets.

When the player is exploding after losing a life...

  • The game loads the tilemap byte from the second Konami copyright string's palette ID - this should be 05 in a normal game. If that byte has been modified, the explosion will either create garbage graphics or hang the game.

When the player is transitioning to the next stage...

  • If the "K" in the copyright string isn't using palette 05 or 10, the game resets.

When the player is about to enter Stage 5 (A.D. 2001)...

  • If the "N" in the copyright string isn't using palette 05 or 10, the game resets.

Phase Six - High Score Entry

When the game is transitioning to the high score entry screen...

  • Game gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x01F1-0x02F0 (Konami) / 0x5291-0x5390 (Centuri) / 0x2750-0x284F (Atari). Game resets if checksum doesn't match.

When the game is about to draw the high score entry screen...

  • Game gets the checksum of the bytes in the range of 0x4880-0x4980 (Konami) / 0x0BB0-0x0CAF (Centuri) / 0x3750-0x384F (Atari). Game resets if checksum doesn't match.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Graphics

TimePilotArcKonamiSprite.png
There are two more copies of the Konami copyright string in the sprite graphics ROM. Just in case.

TimePilotArcUnusedClouds.png
Three of the four long clouds are unused (The only one used is in Stage 1), and one of those clouds that are like...double clouds.

TimePilotArcUnusedMeteors.png
Only two of the four medium-sized meteoroids are used in Stage 5.

TimePilotArc500.png
This 500 point bonus is lower than any special bonus in the game.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Regional Differences

Title Screen

Konami Centuri Atari
TimePilotArcTitleK.png TimePilotArcTitle.png TimePilotArcTitleA.png

All three versions have different copyright strings, which should be obvious, but they're also on different lines in each version. The "PLAY" text is only on the Konami version.

TimePilotArcAtariFlash.gif
The Atari copyright has a nice palette cycling effect.

Konami Centuri Atari
TimePilotHighScoresK.png TimePilotHighScoresC.png TimePilotHighScoresA.png

All three versions have different default high score lists that display the name of the publisher.

  • In the Konami version, the last two entries are "OOYA". This is short for Hideki Ooyami, who later worked on Konami's Gyruss.
  • In the Centuri version, the last three characters are "ASA". This might be part of Masahiro Inoue, who also worked on Gyruss.
  • In the Atari version, the characters in the first column spell "ATARI" while those in the third column spell "ARIMA". This is Toshio Arima, who, guess what, later worked on Gyruss.

Attract Mode

The original Konami version doesn't have a demo sequence for Stage 5. Presumably they wanted to keep the last level of the game a secret, something that Centuri and Atari apparently weren't as concerned about.

Stage 4

Stage 4 (The "modern" stage) takes place in "A.D. 1982" in the Konami version, and "A.D. 1983" in all other versions.

(Source: Original TCRF research)