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  • GCE
  • GCE
  • Action - Arcade Port (example - Asteroids)
  • 1982
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8  |  From The Arcade To Your (Vector) Screen...
Darryl B. , 10/25/2005 9:26:30 PM
Scramble was kind of an unusual choice to be ported to the Vectrex; after all, due to the arcade original being in raster scan, and the Vectrex having vector graphics, it would end up not looking much like the original at all. However, it made sense in three ways: one, no one else had bought the license at the time (the sequel of Super Cobra would appear for several consoles, but not Scramble, although I think there was a Scramble portable), two, it was a fairly big arcade hit, and might be worth porting it anyway, and three, the Vectrex could handle scrolling really well, as most of the other gaming systems out at the time -- the Atari 2600, Intellivison, and even the powerful Colecovision couldn't scale worth a crap! -- were really jerky (although there were a few exceptions, such as River Raid for the 2600).

Scramble was one of the early scrolling shooters out there, although you got to shoot lasers and drop bombs at the same time, making it a bit unique, and no other game played like it, either. The game was divided into several sectors, the first of which just gave you the feel of the game and the targets you were up against, being rockets, fuel and mystery bases. Rockets were the only real threat, as they would launch, kamikaze style, which you had to either avoid, shoot or bomb them to oblivion (I guess they were ticked off at you for stealing their fuel supply and blowing up their mystery bases). A fuel gauge at the bottom of the screen could be replenished by bombing the fuel bases (dunno how the fuel would magically get sucked into your ship from there, but what the hey, it's a GAME), and the so-called mystery bases, which were worth 100-300 points in the original, were worth 200 here.

Sector two had the same elements as sector one, although with an added ceiling to avoid (coming into contact with either the ground or cavern ceiling would destroy you), the rockets would no longer launch, but a fleet of fast-moving u. f. o.'s would be right in your path, dodging and weaving faster than Enron executives could shred their documents before the F. B. I. would shut them down.

Sector three was filled with indestructible meteors -- actually, rumor was that if you could shoot one five times, you could destroy it, but I've never seen or heard that be confirmed -- and sector four was a bit like the first sector, although you seemed to be flying over a long, man-made cavern (which the rockets would start launching again). After that was a difficult batch of tunnels to navigate through with nothing more than fuel bases to bomb to ensure your passage through it (not to mention not smashing your jet into a narrow passage ceiling), and the last sector only had one target: a base. However, it was tricky to destroy, due to you would automatically lose a jet doing so, since you either had to crash it as you dropped a bomb on it (the base was nestled too low for lasers), or you would hit the high cavern wall right behind it, should you be fortunate enough to bomb it without wrecking your jet (which a lot of players didn't know that you would receive an extra jet though, once you destroyed the base). And then it would start all over again, aside from your fuel being sucked down at a faster rate (uh, I'm going to leave out a rude, obvious x-rated joke on that one), and the rockets would start taking off sideways.

This version was actually pulled off really well, as it played pretty much the same as the original, with only a few small differences: the u. f. o.s were bigger, easier to hit (granted, the Vectrex's screen was pretty small though), and they moved slower, the meteors were also slower, your bombs dropped a little differently, and the base was made way easier to hit, a bit anti-climatic. Oh well. At least the graphics weren't bad, the sounds were pretty good, and the controls perfect.

This was actually one of the GOOD early games for the Vectrex, rather than the boring Starhawk, the not so hyper Hyperchase, the slow moving, bad Pac-Man clone of Clean Sweep, etc., which is what helped fuel the interest (uh, pardon the pun) in the unique, very classic system that us Vecy fans all know and love today. 8/10

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