The Time Traveller
When I travelled to the future, I was expecting to see flying machines and cities that reached far into the sky. Instead I found ruins. Mankind had withered away and devolved into the Eloi, a feeble humanoid people. Their saving grace was that they were kind and welcoming, and truthfully I was glad for their company.
When the first night of my visit fell, I became acquainted with humanity's other new children, the Morlocks. They are the feared shadows that stalk the night in this age. They prowl relentlessly, until they can satisfy their taste for human flesh.
Last night the Morlocks took away my Eloi companion, Weena. My poor sweet Weena. One moment she had been playfully sticking flowers into my pockets with her tiny hands, and the next moment claws were dragging her away into the eternal darkness.
Morning has now dawned, and I swear I will destroy this filthy Morlock scourge. I will fix this horrible thing time has done to humanity. I will avenge my Weena.
- the Time Traveler
Your goal is to shoot all of the Morlock enemies, avoid being shot, and protect the four humanoids that eventually appear in each level.
If you happen to lose all humanoids in a level, the lights will go out. In the dark the enemies will become more agressive, and an invincible hulking enemy will tirelessly hunt you down, until the level is complete. Shooting at the hulk will push him back, but only a little.
If the brain enemy manages to touch a humanoid, it will be converted into a killer prog. The prog will race through the battlefield after you until you shoot it, or it kills you. Periodically you'll need to reload ammunition. An alarm will sound when you have ten bullets left, and you'll see a pack of replacement ammunition appear on the battlefield. Touch the ammunition to reload.
A destroyed enemy will sometimes leave behind a smart bomb. If you touch the smart bomb before it disappears, each enemy on the battlefield will be destroyed.
Every two levels you'll encounter the challenge stage, where four waves of enemies will race across the screen in differing patterns. If you manage to shoot all of the enemies in the challenge stage, you'll earn an extra life!
Dual Joystick Support
If you have two joysticks that are suitably anchored, you can switch T:ME Salvo into "2Stick" mode at the title screen. When using this mode, the left stick moves the player, and the right stick controls the shooting direction, similar to the arcade game Robotron: 2084.
T:ME Salvo supports saving its high score table to either the Atari 7800 High Score Cartridge, or the AtariVox/SaveKey devices. If you have both the High Score Cartridge and AtariVox/SaveKey peripherals, T:ME Salvo will use the AtariVox/SaveKey as the preferred saving device, due to its larger save space and portability. T:ME Salvo also supports the AtariVox voice function and speaks several phrases throughout the game.
T:ME Salvo includes a box, game cartridge, and a full-color, 8-page manual.
|Number of Players||1|
|Controller||1 or 2 Joysticks|
|Code and Design||Mike Saarna|
|Label/Cover Art/Manual||Corey Kramer|
Off the bat, players can opt for either one controller or two controller action. Salvo plays great either way, but admittedly the dual joystick option is a tad bit sweeter.
Part of the beauty in the game%u2019s design is not only the control mechanics option, but also offensive style approach of the player, whether shoot and run, or camp and shoot, ultimately needs to be mixed. Mastering one or the other will only get a player so far. The game encourages and fosters someone to be an overall better player.
The game is not just contingent on destroy or be destroyed, there are humanoids that can be saved, released at different time intervals, noted on screen by a rising bar threshold assigned to each of the four areas in which a humanoid will appear. One of the questions on a player's mind may be: "Do I save or abandon the humans?"
Unlike the Arcade game Robotron: 2084 where points are the only thing being lost when lives are not saved, lose all 4 of the captives, the maze goes dark, and the daunting and indestructible Hulk robot comes aggressively at the player.
However, saving a humanoid is not enough, for the duration of the level the player must keep the innocent protected in his tow; not always an easy feat. A brush with the enemy means death for the innocent in many cases. However, at other times, the walking monstrous brains will turn a human into an enemy drone which turns on their savior in a rabid kamikaze style.
Speaking of kamikaze, the explosions/death animations are top notch. The burst of a mini-light show of particles erupting on the screen is almost euphoric and is arguably only trumped by the bouncing level and other notifications the appear at the beginning of level. Nearly as cool is the scrolling left to right and right to left bonus round notifications which the rounds themselves serve as a mini-breather and chance for a player to increase their score considerably.
Sprinkled through the level is a destruct-all type bomb which can be a lifesaver and short reprieve from the onslaught of enemies. The care and attention to details for the enemies is impressive. It is not just an ordinary cosmetic change either - which itself is beautifully executed as each line of characters are distinct and have very nice detail and animation; additionally, their style and attack patterns vary.
Shot utilization needs to be carefully monitored at times and risks planned accordingly. Throughout the level an indicator will provide both notice the player is running low on ammo and where the player must go to retrieve more. It adds another layer of strategy and excitement to an already thrilling game.
As if all of that was not enough, the game supports a copious amount of speech and high score saving through an AtariVox connected into. Last but not least, there is a very nice Easter Egg to be discovered.
We're really just touching the surface here. This game can only be fully appreciated when experienced. The wonderful introduction melody (Nearly unbelievable under TIA) is worth the price of admission alone. Nonetheless, this is not a quick fly by night work, but arcade gaming at some of its absolute finest. Highly recommended!
Note: Apologies for what is likely incorrect naming of game characters and some items in the above review. While writing the review I did not have the manual at my disposal. A lot of creative time and energy went in naming of the characters, features, as well as an intriguing backstory. A well-polished and excellently presented title from every aspect and angle; money indeed well spent.
When you turn on the system you are presented with a snazzy title screen with good music making a very appealing attract mode.
Gameplay: I did not have a good way to use dual joysticks, so I mainly used the standard controller setup. This game provides some difficult arcade action. You must be both efficient in you grid movement and when you shoot. Controls are tight and require just a little bit getting use to. In addition to the shooting of baddies you are trying to track down and save other humans. The gameplay of trying to shoot, avoid bullets and keep humans from touching the baddies both fun and challenging. Sometimes it's best to not try and shoot an better to retreat a distance. It is nice when you get a smart bomb to clear the board and frantic when you need to track down bullets when running low. Great academic action!
Graphics: The opening looks great. Sprites are varied. There is a nice little homage to Berserk with one of the bad guys. The human and Ayer sprites are simple and not flashy but it works for this game.� If sprites were any bigger, it would be too much of a cluster on a playfield that can get crazy in the heat of battle.
Sounds: The opening has great intro music. Gameplay sounds are simple but adequate.
Other things: It might have been cool if there was a 2 player cooperative mode or competitive mode where you are fighting for saving more humans. The wife and myself did have some 2 player fun by setting the controller style to dual. That way one of use would move and the other was shooting. Game wasn't designed for that but we found it fun. Also I won't give away how to find it but there is also a neat little festive Easter Egg.
Final thoughts: I have really enjoyed this game so far! If you like Robotron or something like Berserk and Frenzy this is an easy choice. This game will easily get plenty of play on my 7800 and it's always great to see an original for the 7800.