Time Killers is a 1-on-1 fighting game by Incredible Technologies Inc, published by Strata. It features 8 playable characters from different points in time, past, present, and future. Each has been summoned by Chronos, the Messenger of Time, to act as his champion and defeat the other seven Messengers of Death...or so they are told. Once they've finished off the other seven players, Chronos reveals himself as Death, seeking revenge against the 8 warriors for escaping his influence in their natural time.
Gameplay in Time Killers is somewhat reminiscent of Street Fighter, insofar as it includes special moves and hits of different strengths, but it sports a less common control scheme. Each player has a joystick for character movement and five attack buttons: Head, Front Arm, Back Arm, Front Leg, and Back Leg. Throughout the game, the fighters can deal damage to their opponent's limbs. If enough damage is dealt to an arm, it will be severed and the corresponding attack button will no longer work. Both arms can be removed, and a player can theoretically be left in combat with no arms, fighting only with their head and legs. In this case, the words "ARMLESS WIN" appears.
The game also features fatalities, though they work differently than Mortal Kombat. At any time in the match, the player can decapitate their opponent with a well-aimed strike performed by pressing all five attack buttons simultaneously, though the attack itself is unreliable against a moving opponent. Also, if the opponent is dizzy, the player can approach them, push toward and all 5 attack buttons together, and they will perform an instant kill. This can be performed at any time during the match, taking off any remaining limbs, and then the opponent's head. The command is identical for each character.
The characters in Time Killers manage to show a surprising lack of originality. Each one plays off one common stereotype and just runs with it. However, this was not a game that was renowned for its nuance.
- Rancid - Rancid is your stereotypical punk character. He was framed for the "X Murders" in New Chicago, in 2024 A.D., and had just finished off the real killer before being pulled out of his time. His weapon of choice is a chainsaw, which he wields with one hand.
- Orion - Grown in a test tube in A.D. 2885, Orion is a space explorer. He tried to report an alien attack without evidence, and fled in fear when the police began to focus on him. He was abducted by Chronos as he searched the galaxy to locate the aliens responsible. He fights with an electric sabre.
- Thugg - The primitive caveman of the group, Thugg fights with a giant stone axe. In his own time, he battled against a race of alien reptiles known as the Troglodytes. These alien invaders were using humans as livestock for food and slavery.
- Lord Wülf - Filling in the 'medieval knight' role is Lord Wülf. Wülf was fighting to kill the aptly named Count Morbid before he was kidnapped. Count Morbid was attempting to conquer England, and managed to kill Wülf's family in the process.
- Leif - An obvious reference to Leif Erikson, Leif is a viking with a giant battle axe. He fought continuously against Black Thorn and the Black Army, a squadron of undead.
- Musashi - Musashi is the generic samurai of the game. Though he fights with a samurai sword, his "weapon" was supposedly his great intellect. He was the most brilliant strategist and the finest general in Japan, having only been defeated in battle once. This defeat came at the hands of a powerful dragon, and afterward, Musashi traveled for years to avenge this defeat.
- Mantazz - Mantazz is the queen of an alien race from 4002 A.D. Her physical structure is much like a praying mantis, and she fights with her claws. Before being yanked out of her time line, her race was attacking (and overwhelming) humanity. However, after her disappearance, the war quickly ended and the two species have been able to live peacefully.
- Matrix - By 3297 A.D., humanity has perfected biotic limbs. Matrix, a female soldier from that time, has a single biotic arm and fights with a photon blade. She lost her arm in a war with the robots, all of whom went strangely berserk and began to attack humanity. She defeated the Master Drone, but was immediately grabbed by Chronos to fight in the tournament.
- Death (Chronos) - The final boss of the game and the only non-playable character on the list. Quite obviously, his weapon is a scythe, and he can't be defeated in the normal way. To win, the player must decapitate him with a Death Move or a Super Death Move.
- Time Killers was ported to Genesis in 1996. It was poorly received by critics for poor controls and graphics. The reason it was delayed for so long was to dodge the early '90s violence controversy
- The arcade release allowed for the violence to be turned down, unlike Mortal Kombat at the time.
- Incredible Technologies went on to program a similar fighter, BloodStorm, which re-used many of the concepts of Time Killers, like the 5 button combat, limb damage, and mid-battle deaths.
- Incredible Technologies also went on to program the widely reviled Street Fighter: The Movie in arcades. Capcom was dissatisfied, and so redeveloped the game for consoles themselves.