Arcade Scramble is known to be the first ever horizontal scrolling shooter. Manufactured by Konami in 1981, and distributed throughout the U.S. by Stern Electronics, Scramble helped spawn many varieties of the game across many platforms including the Vectrex. Tomy released a handheld Scramble in 1982 and the Commodore 64 received it’s own Scramble called ‘Skramble’ in 1983.
Scramble has been described as ‘the poor man’s defender’ by many critics over the years though Scramble has had it’s own fair share of influence inspiring such arcade games as Vanguard, R-Type and Gradius. (Coin-op.org 2003) Scramble has also had it’s share of controversy when a 1982 Court Appeal saw Omni Video Games involved in copyright and trademark infringements with Stern Electronics.
In 1981 Scramble went to the top of the arcade money earners for that particular year and usurped such arcade classics as Pac-man, Defender and Asteroids. The game itself sees you piloting a rocket ship equipped with horizontal missiles and bombs which arc to the ground in front of you. What may be the most picturesque Vectrex game Scramble is set across six levels ranging from mountain combat with enemy craft, an encounter with UFO’s in the cavern level, dodging ‘flamoids’,a maze level ,which proves to be rather tricky, and finally the enemy base.
In an unusual twist bombing enemy fuel tankers revives your ships’ fuel. Fuel is a constant problem in Scramble and it may have turned out to be a better game without the refueling predicament. All in all a reasonably fun game which is much too difficult in parts to keep the gamer coming back for more. Find Scramble on ebay for around $25U.S..
Review written by Daniel Foot
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