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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Not Ranked

Genre: SHMUP (Horizontal)

Awards: None
Scramble: When You Absolutely Have to Kill Every Last MFin' Alien in the Room Pros: Tons of Fire Power/ Fast and Frantic
Cons: Pro-Line Controllers are Painful to Use/ Odd Color Schemes
COOL! COOL! COOL! TIGHT! TIGHT! TIGHT!


Overview: Bob Decrescenzo, aka, Pac Man plus Doesn't know it, but he's unknowingly made, or is working on, three out of my five secret game wishes for the Atari 7800. That guy is in my brainz!
And wouldn't ya know it? Scramble was one of those secret secret games that I wanted on my favorite system. Thanks, Bob! Scramble is side scrolling shooter, and probably is one of my favorites shooters on the system. Scramble and another arcade game named Super Cobra are oddly very similar, were made by the same companies, and released only a few months apart. I remember Super Cobra at the Hills department store and it being very intimidating to me for some reason. Like I would look at it and think "naw..." In fact, I never played it, and saved my quarters for other weenie games. Depending on the arcade version of Scramble, this title can be relentless, but thankfully Bob included three difficulty modes to appease the arcade hustler and the pigeon alike.

Graphics: This game is almost spot on with what you see in an arcade version, but I actually prefer this port because of the wider screen. The main ship is colorful and looks like there's a disco going on inside. All of the ground targets are impressively ornate and even the ground itself has the cleverly designed piping on its edges. The arcade version and this version alternate between color schemes as you play- I guess to break up the monotony of the game, but it is unneeded and some color pallets look kinda weird. A strange graphical omission in the 7800 version are the missing stars in the background, but for some reason I prefer that they're gone. This feels more like a military game than a space shooter to me, anyways. Anal Atari fans will notice a strange jittering on the edges of the screen that can be distracting, but according to Bob it was the only way to make the scrolling work for this game, or it couldnt have been made at all. I'm cool with it, and when the game cranks up you don't even notice it. So get over it, anal fans. ;)

Sound: The audio this game is terrific. Explosions sound good, laser blasts and dropping bombs have decent audio and even the spastic UFOs on stage 2 brings their strange song into the mix. It reminds me of what I used to do with my kids when I was pretending to be a vampire and hiding outside of their room: this creepy and dork ass "ewwwwwwwwww" noise. I dig.

Gameplay: Scramble doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it makes the wheel a helluva lot cooler. You pilot a rocket ship that is capable of rapid fire laser blasts and deploying two bombs at a time. Part of the rush of the game is taking out hordes of ground targets in a matter of seconds. Scramble was first side-scrolling shooter with forced scrolling and multiple distinct levels. Like Astro Fighter and Astro Blaster, your fuel depletes rapidly, however shooting the readily available fuel tanks replenishes your gauge. Because.... science. Although there are tons of missiles and other defenses poised to knock you out of the sky, your fire power can easily overcome them. The main problem us Scramble pilots will face is navigating the tight corridors, especially later in the game. There are six stages here, and if you're successful in completing your six duties, the game will flip and you'll start over at stage one again. The opening salvo has us invade the outskirts of the base- taking out ground targets with virtually no scrambled defense. Stage two is that cooky UFO stage with the odd flight patterns and goofy dad noises. Third is an indestructible asteroid stage which is possibly the toughest part. After that, there's another stage with multiple ground targets, but this time you're at the beginning of the main base. Stage five features no enemies but a series of tricky and tight corridors to navigate, and finally, the sixth stage features what looks like a city skyline and an enemy base to destroy. For a game with such grandiose defense systems, the enemy base is kind of small, pathetic, and impotent. And no, I'm not describing your father's member.

Interpretation: If you love the arcade version Scramble, you'll go crazy over this version. It's only lacking background stars and the word "Base" at the top of the screen. Plus, I enjoy the fact that the screen is wider on the 7800 version... this gives you slightly more time to prepare for upcoming enemies.

Value: The game comes with alternating two player options, and three difficulty levels. Oddly enough, if you play on the hard difficulty the company name on the title screen changes from Konami to Stern. I know I am in the minority on this but I do enjoy the 7800s pro line controllers for most games. But the older I get, they do tend to hurt my hands more than they used too, and this game is murder on them. I would suggest picking up Sega Genesis controller and the Seagull 78 Eladdin Genesis adapter from the Atari Age store. I've got my set up pictured here. Slap those two buttons on turbo and just sit back and lay waste to these enemy bastards, pain free. The adapter and Sega genesis controllers are fairly cheap and worth every penny for games like this.

Overall: This game is just pure fun, and one of my favorite shoot 'em ups for the Atari 7800 now. It is virtually an arcade perfect port, with enemy patterns and the maze-like layouts on stages 5 and 6 perfectly replicated. Bob Decrescenzo always makes sure his games are high quality, and this time he spent his energies porting a shooter to the Atari 7800 that has universal appeal. Simply put, Scramble is the very best horizontal shooter for the system, and my third favorite way to prepare eggs.

Other Reviews:
The Video Game Critic: B-

Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.