The random ramblings of a French programmer living in Norway...
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  Time Commando Marketing
Sat 1st May 2021   
Time Commando was released in July 1996, and since my old Time Commando web page only had small resolution pictures, I decided to make some new scans on fan's requests on my Youtube channel, a bit in advanced for the 25 years anniversary of the game release.

My idea is to post updated information the game, from how it was sold, to how it was made, possibly including some internal implementation details, but today let's start simply with the marketing information!

The postcards

I'm not quite sure about who came back with the idea of having Stanley incorporated in black and white photos, or the concept of the "Time Commando" meal in a bag, but there it is, in all 2021 scan glory.

Front of the enveloppe containing the postcards
Front of the enveloppe containing the postcards

Back of the enveloppe
Back of the enveloppe

And here is the content, with the four postcards

Postcard: Easter Island
Postcard: Easter Island

Postcard: Racing the train
Postcard: Racing the train

Postcard: Bowing to the Queen
Postcard: Bowing to the Queen

Postcard: Indian trip
Postcard: Indian trip

Shop advertising

I unfortunately do not have any of the human sized cardboard cut-outs, but at least I have this small cardboard picture (with a foldable stand on the back) which would typically have been on a shelf or near the cash register in a video-game shop.

In-shop cardboard advertisement
In-shop cardboard advertisement

Demo versions

Another common way of advertising was to release demo versions of a game, such as this one available on one of the French magazines "PC Team".

PC Team demo version
PC Team demo version

And since I'm in a good mood, I actually spent the time finding a optical drive to get the demo files out (compatible MS DOS and Windows 95)

Time Commando demo version (32 megabytes)

PC Version Read-ME

Just for the fun, here is the content of the Read Me file:


PC Version 1.00 July 12, 1996


This README file contains important information about Time Commando. It includes late breaking information, trouble shooting tactics, and recommendations on how to configure the game for best results.


1: System requirements
2: Installation
3: Last information
4: Game goal
5: Keyboard commands
6: Game screen description
7: Bonus decription
8: Hardware compatibilities


1. System Requirements

- Intel 486DX2/66 with at least 8 Mb of RAM
- Double-speed or faster CD-ROM drive
- MS-DOS 5.00 or higher with MSCDEX Version 2.10 or higher
- 6 MegaBytes of total free RAM or more

Windows 95:
- Intel Pentium processor or higher
- Double-speed or faster CD-ROM drive
- Windows 95
- 8 MegaBytes of RAM or more

Recommended (for both versions):

Intel Pentium processor or higher
16 MB of Ram or higher
4X CD-ROM drive
Supported Digital or 100% compatible sound card
Wavetable music card (Sound Blaster AWE32)


2. Installation
Before you can Run the game, Time Commando must be installed.

Installation with Windows 95:

- Insert the Time Commando CD into the CD-ROM drive.
- Select your CD-ROM drive (within the My Computer window) and click on the Setup icon. After clicking the Setup icon, the Autoplay screen will appear.
- After the AUTOPLAY screen appears, click on Install.
- Follow on screen informations.
- After game is installed, click the Play button in the Autoplay screen to play Time Commando.

Installation with MS-DOS:

- Insert the Time Commando CD into the CD-ROM drive.
- Select the CD-ROM drive letter.
- Follow on screen informations.


3. Last information:

* Game

- Even though this isn't necessary in the easier modes, once you get up to the Normal mode, vary your combat tactics: use the lateral dodges [CTRL]RIGHT or [CTRL]LEFT, the protection/ parry [CTRL]DOWN and frequently change the way you strike the enemy.

- To access to the "looped demo mode", wait for the audio track's end (about 3 minutes) in the main menu or press shift+D.

- The automatic game demo may be different each time you watch it, and the last selected skill level have an influence upon it.

* Dos

- If you don't have access to the SVGA High Resolution 640 x 480 mode whereas your video card can handle it, the problem might be that you don't have enough available RAM. You must have a minimum of 6 Mb of RAM available to access this mode.

* Windows 95

- If you only got 8 Mb of RAM, you might want set your desktop in 256 colors mode and remove any background picture to save memory and increase performances.

- Depending on the performance of your CD-ROM player, it may be necessary to activate or deactivate the memory buffer for the CD-ROM. To access this setting, go into the "Configuration Panel", then select "System Properties", "Performance", "CDROM", and change "Access Optimisation for".

* Windows NT

- You CAN'T run Time Commando under Windows NT because Microsoft DirectX(tm) 2 isn't yet supported by Windows NT.


4. Game goal:
Your mission is to destroy the virus that has invaded the HISTORICAL TACTICAL CENTER's central computer system. The game leads you through 8 of history's grandest epochs to arrive at the 9th level where the virus is located. To do this, as you travel through time you must capture as many non-infected memory circuits (represented by blue chips) as possible. This way, you will send all the healthy memory circuits back to the main computer each time you reach the memory upload terminals.

But watch out! Time is against you, and the virus is progressively attacking the main computer's memory. When the memory is completely contaminated by the virus, the game's over. Your work will be slowed down considerably by the horde of virtual enemies deployed by the virus. You must combat and eliminate all these enemies as quickly as possible.



The following key commands are those designated by default. You can, of course, modify these commands (see corresponding menu).

UP Move forward (if an enemy is near, Stanley will jump forward slightly).
DOWN Move backward.
RIGHT Move clockwise.
LEFT Move counter-clockwise.

When you are faced with an enemy and close enough to him, his "life bar" is displayed.


CTRL + LEFT Left handed punch
CTRL + RIGHT Right handed punch
CTRL + UP Kick
CTRL + DOWN Protection / Parry

HAND WEAPONS (club, sword, mace, broad blade knife)

CTRL + LEFT Lateral strike to the left
CTRL + RIGHT Lateral strike to the right
CTRL + UP Frontal strike
CTRL + DOWN Protection / Parry

FIRE ARMS, THROWING ARMS, PROJECTILES (rocks, bows and arrows, pistols,...)

CTRL + LEFT Turn left and aim
CTRL + RIGHT Turn right and aim (When an enemy can be attacked with the weapon you are using, a rifle sight will be displayed over him.)
CTRL + UP Fire / throw
CTRL + DOWN Reload (In case of danger, you can interrupt the reload phase by dodging right or left.)

ALT + LEFT Rapid lateral dodge to left
ALT + RIGHT Rapid lateral dodge to right
ALT + UP Long forward jump.
ALT + DOWN Dodge backwards or duck

Search / action
The space bar is the "adventure" key. It allows you to search the decor to try to find a bonus, to turn on a mechanism, to open a door, or to make Stanley take a particular action if the situation calls for it (for example, he can climb, lay down flat, ...).

1 2 3 4 5 6 Direct selection of a weapon
These key allow for direct selection of one of the weapons displayed in the six boxes on the bottom of the screen as long as the number you choose corresponds to a box containing a weapon.

W X Rotating weapon selection
These keys allow you to go from the weapon you're using (highlighted by a yellow frame) back to the one before, or on to the next one in the list. The selection frame moves directly on to the last / next weapon available. (There is no difference in the result if you choose a weapon directly by its number. Use whichever method suits you best.)

ESC Display Menu "Option"

P Pause
To momentarily pause the game in progress. Music and sound effects are deactivated. To resume the game, press another key.


6. Game screen description:

- PLAYER ENERGY (upper left corner)
Your energy level is shown by more or less filled "batteries" The maximum number of batteries is 4, and each time you get hit, your energy drops. When you reach 0 "battery", you're dead.

The maximum number of extra lives is 3. Each time you die (meaning you have no more energy or that the virus has completely contaminated the computer's memory), you can continue to play the current game if you have an "extra life." In this case, your energy is recharged to the maximum level (but in no case will it be more than the number of batteries). During the few seconds of flashing, you will be immortal.

- ENEMY'S ENERGY (upper right corner)
Each time you are confronted by an enemy, his "life bar" will be displayed.
When it reaches 0, he's dead.

During the game, the virus progressively infects the memory of the HTC computer. This bar indicates its progress. A few minutes before it is full, you'll hear a steady "beep" that grows louder.
When the memory is completely contaminated, you're dead.

- NON-INFECTED MEMORY STOCK (lower right corner)
Throughout the game, you must collect as many non-infected memory circuits as possible. These must be put in the memory upload terminals in order to stop the virus' progression.

Each level disposes of weapons from that time period. You will find them by destroying an enemy, picking them up off the ground, or searching for them in certain places. Each time, they are stockpiled in your weapon inventory boxes.
Additional information may be displayed above or below them, depending on the characteristics of each weapon. For each arm that requires ammunition, the total amount of ammunition available is displayed above it. For a weapon with a charger, small white bars indicate the weapon charger's capacity and the total quantity of ammunition available. If the charger is empty, but you still have ammunition for the weapon, you have to reload .

A yellow frame and a brighter display indicate the weapon you have in hand.

If your weapon has a charger, the ammunition available in the charger is
displayed on the side of the screen.


7. Bonus description:

- Healthy memory (blue chips)
Memory circuits non-infected by the virus. Pick up as many of them as possible.

- Memory upload terminal (plasmatic demi-sphere)
Each time you near a memory upload terminal, place yourself in front of it and use the Action key [SPACE BAR]. All the healthy memory circuits you have collected will then be sent back to the main computer to hold off the virus' progression.
Each time you upload your memory, the game you're playing is saved. (You can make one save per memory upload terminal and per player at the difficulty level chosen).

- Life points (yellow cubes)
When you step on a yellow cube, you win back a little energy. But the power you gain is limited by your current number of energy stockpile batteries (1 to 4).

- Life Points (red cube)
When you step on a red cube, you gain the equivalent of one battery's worth of life points. Once again, the power gained is limited by the number of energy stockpile you have left.

- Energy stockpile battery (yellow battery)
Each battery you acquire is added to your energy stockpile capacity (points of life) until the maximum number of "batteries" (4) is reached.
Your current energy level will go back up to the maximum level each time you pick up a new battery.

- Extra life
The game is over when your energy level reaches zero, or when the virus has contaminated all of the HTC computer's memory. However, if you have an extra life, you've got another chance... You will reappear, flashing on and off, at the spot where you died. As long as the flashing continues, you are immortal.
When you use an extra life, part of the infected memory is restored and your current energy goes back up to maximum; however you lose one of your stockpile batteries (if you had more than one).


8. Hardware compatibilities:

This software was tested for hardware compatibility with:

Sound cards

- Adlib Gold (music only)
- Sound Blaster (sound effects only)
- Sound Blaster Pro
- Sound Blaster Pro 2
- Sound Blaster 16
- Sound Blaster 16 + Wave Blaster
- Sound Blaster AWE 32
- Sound Blaster 32 Plug & Play
- Microsoft Sound System
- Microsoft Sound System (Crystal chipset)
- Maxi Sound 32 FX
- Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16
- Gravis UltraSound Classic
- Gravis UltraSound Max
- Pro Audio Spectrum 16

Video cards

- Matrox MGA Millenium PCI
- Diamond Stealth 64 Video PCI
- Diamond Stealth 64 968 PCI
- Diamond Stealth 64 964 PCI
- Diamond Viper Pro Video PCI
- ATI Graphics Pro Turbo Mach 64 PCI
- ATI Graphics Pro Turbo Mach 32 PCI
- ATI 3D Rage PCI
- Virge (S3) PCI
- Cyrrus Logic 5430 PCI
- Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM VLB
- Orchid Fahrenheit VA VLB
- Trident TGUI 9400Cxi VLB
- Tseng Labs ET4000/W32 VLB
- ATI Graphics Pro Turbo Mach 32 VLB
- Cyrrus Logic 5424 VLB
- Paradise 90C033 VLB


- Wearnes (8X)
- Mitsumi FX600S (6X)
- Plextor SCSI (6X)
- TEAC 56-E (6X)
- Toshiba XM-5302-TA (4X)
- Mitsumi FX400D (4X)
- Panasonic CR-562 B (2X)
- Pioneer (4X)
- Sony CDU 76-S (4X)
- NEC (2X)

Joysticks & Joypads

- Creative Blaster GamePad (DOS, Win95)
- Analog Joysticks (Win95)
- Gravis Pad (Win95)
- Microsoft SideWinder Game Pad (Win95)
- Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro (Win95)

So there you go, I hope you found the idea interesting, I've already managed to get the Time Commando level editor to run using DOSBOX, so there's a chance I can get interesting stuff out of it.


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