Diehard GameFAN Hall of Shame Nomination: Time Killers

Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.

Game: Time Killers
Developer: Incredible Technologies
Publisher: Strata
Release Date: November 1992
System Released On: Arcade, Sega Genesis
Genre: 2-D Fighting

Who Nominated The Game: I did. Alexander Lucard

Why Was It Nominated: In truth this was nominated as somewhat of a reader request. In a previous Hall of Shame piece, a reader commented that Game X was bad, but it was no Time Killers. As several people on staff have played and were quite open about their dislike of Time Killers, it seemed like a good filler piece for a Hall of Shame nomination.

For those that have never played nor even heard of Time Killers, don’t worry. It’s a fairly obscure Arcade fighter where the object is to go after the limbs and/or head of your opponent. Even if you were behind in the battle, a good decapitation attack could still win you the battle. All you had to do was hit all five buttons at once, and because of this, the game required little to no skill to play it. It just became button mashing until you could do the five button simultaneous smash.

The plot of Time Killers revolved around a battle between living incarnations of Life and Death themselves. Eventually Death came up with a crazy plan to finally defeat life by disguising himself as Chronos, the master of time and plucking eight individuals from throughout history and arranging them to fight to the death with the winner received immortality, cash and prizes. In truth, the winner would kill Life and thus snuff out existence, but hey. Looking at the plot and the overall gameplay, the game sounds very close to another 2-D fighter with an emphasis on gore that would be released a year later – Eternal Champions. However, Eternal Champions was superior in every way imaginable, from gameplay to death sequences. However, Time Killers did indeed come first, much to the chagrin of EC fans everywhere.

In nominating Time Killers, we actually had to debate on WHICH version of the game we were nominating as the Sega Genesis version as noticeably worse than the arcade version, but the Arcade version was the one most staffers had played. In the end we went with the worse of the two and it’s time to see if it could make our list of the worst of the worst.

All in Favour:

Chris Bowen: Time Killers was worse than a “me-too” game. It was a me-too game that only did one thing better than the game it cloned (Mortal Kombat): gore. Oh, was it gory.

Unfortunately, the gameplay was a disaster. It was another shitty fighting game in a league of shitting fighting games. It wanted SO DESPERATELY to be like Mortal Kombat – a game not exactly renowned for its fighting engine itself – that it didn’t bother doing the few things that game actually did right. On its own, Time Killers was a bad game. Combined with the fact that it was obviously using gore to get ahead, it was an unmitigated disaster that brought shame upon the industry, and should rightly be put into the Hall of Shame.

D.J. Tatsujin: When this title was brought up, I actually had to clarify which version we were considering for hall of shame honors. Truth be told, if we were talking about the arcade version of Time Killers I would actually vote “nay.”

Certainly, the game relied a little too heavily on its borrowed gimmick, but, at the end of the day, it was something you and a buddy could slip a quarter into and have a few laughs at. While even the game’s strongest suits could maybe be considered mediocre at best, I actually remember the cabinet being fairly popular when it landed at my local Jolly Time. Time Killers just seemed to be one of those examples of entertainment being so corny, it becomes a fun time in small doses.

The SEGA Genesis version on the other hand … boy, where do we begin with this turd? The Genesis version of Time Killers shockingly isn’t even what I consider the worst fighting game I’ve ever played, but it is something everyone, sans collectors, should stay away from.

When you consider the original game released in 1992 and the Genesis version didn’t hit shelves until 1996, you just have to ask “why?” At that point, why not target the sequel game Bloodstorm just like Johnny Cage did? Regardless, if players received an arcade-perfect port, it still wouldn’t have justified a $50 purchase, but it might have saved Time Killers from being amongst the most awful games on the system.

The Genesis version took a hit on the number of colors available, making the title’s comic-style graphics an eye sore on the console. Furthermore, the jump to the Genesis resulted in ear-grating, static-inducing sound effects that, at points, completely drown out the “music.” When you face off against the computer, the AI is a cheating bastard on any difficulty level, but the game is so shallow and is so clunky with the Genesis game pad (I don’t even want to think of how this would fare on a 3-button controller), you’ll just want to play a number of the far superior 16-bit fighters. The entire package is so devoid of any effort or development quality, I couldn’t derive an ounce of enjoyment from this version – and that’s a rare statement coming from me about a video game.

The only saving graces the game has with me is the fact there is a button marked “head” and with the game releasing so late in the life of the Genesis, it had a limited run, making the value of the title, at one time, almost $80 for a complete copy. That figure was always based on its rarity, though, as now the game can barely hold its own at $20. Everything about this port screams disaster and someone just needs to kill Time Killers.

Alex Lucard: You know, I don’t think Time Killers for the Sega Genesis is the worst fighting game I’ve ever played, but it’s easily the worst I have played for Sega’s 16 bit system. While games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II actually somewhat resembled their arcade counterparts, was a huge downgrade in visuals, to the point where if you put the two games side by side, backgrounds and characters were noticeably worse. The music was awful and the game can only function with a six button Genesis controllers. I’m still not sure why it was released for the Genesis in 1996. It was four years after the arcade game had come and gone, and most gamers were ready for the Saturn/Playstation era of gaming.

The controls however are the worst part of the game though, and they are why I would say YAY to either version of Time Killers. Any game where you can pull off a 100% damage instakill at any time in the game starting from the first second is a horrible piece of crap to me. There is no skill or finesse involved. It’s just to see who can do the Death Move or the Super Death Move first. This is highlighted best of all with the boss battle, where the only way to win is to do your Death Move as quickly as you can. It’s the only way to take Death down. The game has always annoyed me for this reason and the Genesis version doubly so because it’s so much worse than the arcade version on every level. Is it playable? Sure, but it’s still a horrible experience from beginning to end.

All Opposed:

M.L. Kennedy: It is a stupid and ugly game but completely playable. Its worst crime is mediocrity. Frankly, I enjoy playing this game more than some of its ridiculous combo-fest peers. What other game can you get both of your arms chopped off and still kick your opponent to death? That’s brilliant!

Okay, fine, I’m just a sucker for anything with space bugs.



Result: 3 In Favour, 1 Opposed, 75% Approval = ACCEPTED
Conclusion: Time Killers becomes our first fighting game entry to make it into the Hall of Shame, beating out failed attempts by Shaq-Fu and Iron and Blood. Unfortunately my personal least favorite fighting game of all time, Battle Monsters, will never even see a nomination since only I appear to have been stupid enough to play it.

Next Week: We go up, up and away to see if one of the most reviled games of all time can make the Hall.



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One response to “Diehard GameFAN Hall of Shame Nomination: Time Killers”

  1. Phil Avatar

    I recall this game getting its’ five minutes (A month or two in game publication time) of fame. I could never find the game in any arcade, or perhaps I just didn’t look diligently enough, but it was just a one-dimensional product that nobody cared about. Like a blatantly me-too television program or music act, it began to fade into obscurity as soon as it arrived. The hall of irrelevancy is where it belongs, right alongside those 3DO fighting game clones.

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