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Scramble

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Released: 1982

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Vectrex

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Scramble was a particular favourite of my 12 year old self. In the arcades of Brighton I used to search it out, not only to play it myself, but to watch other – better – players get far into the games depths. I had my own Scramble collection at home too. I had my Grandstand Scramble handheld, which in truth bore no relation to Scramble, but was fun all the same. I also had Penetrator on the ZX Spectrum, which was a quality game on an underpowered computer.

The version I really wanted though was the Vectrex version.  Actually to be honest I just coveted the Vectrex full stop. What a machine it was. It had vector graphics… and as a twelve year old I didn’t know what vector graphics were, but to my adolescent mind they sounded well cool.

Sadly I didn’t get anywhere near Vectrex Scramble until I was well into my thirties, but it was most definitely worth the wait.

Scramble on the Vectrex shouldn’t work. Taking a game that was one of the pioneers of colour graphics,  and porting it to a machine that showed only blue lines doesn’t sound like a clever idea.

In play though it soon becomes clear that it was a bloody good idea. Apart from the graphics it plays just like the arcade version. The varied stages are there, the bombs, the fuel dumps, the mountains, the caverns… they’re all there. What is also good about the game is it’s responsiveness. The little joystick of the Vectrex seems made to control the ship, which just glides around the screen.

In common with it’s arcade parent it is a very hard game, well to me it is. I’ve never seen the end, because I’ve never got past the third stage. It doesn’t stop me playing it still though, as it has a real magic about it.

If you’ve never played it, then I can only suggest in very strong terms that you do so very soon. It’s the sort of game that gives retro-gaming a good name.

Today I know a little bit more about computers, and I do know what vector graphics are… and I was right all those years ago, they are well cool!

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