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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Scramble

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What more can be said about Scramble other than, “It’s a SHMUP.” You fly your little spacecraft across a scrolling map, you destroy enemies and you get points. It’s the same game we’ve seen a thousand times before.

Released in 1981, Scramble followed on the heels of Atari’s Defender and while it never attained quite that level of acclaim, it did help spawn one of the greatest SHMUPs of all time, Gradius.

The game is broken down into six levels, which seamlessly roll into one another, each bringing with it a new wave of enemies. Some enemies are particularly quick so you’ll have to work fast if you want to get them all before the screen scrolls past.

Movement and shooting in Scramble is pretty straightforward. Stick moves, A shoots, B bombs and it’s all incredibly responsive and smooth, which is important when the game gets moving fast.

Hitting ground targets can be a bit of a pain, largely due to the fact that your bombs don’t fall straight, but instead are scrolled with you ship. This causes a bit of an unusual arc and it takes a bit of getting used to before you can nail a target every time.

Like Konami’s previous XBLA entries, Scramble features updated graphics and sound effects, as well as the original graphics. However this time Konami has opted not to include the original sound effects.

There is a multiplayer mode, but it’s nothing to write home about. Players trade off to see who can get the higher score, or if you’ve got Xbox Live, you can play for a combined co-op score. In other words, it’s shit.

Basically, Scramble is the same as every other game Konami has released on XBLA. It’s arcade perfect, it’s got pretty graphics and it’s got very basic multiplayer. There are really no faults with Scramble aside from its age, but there’s also nothing special added to it.

Scramble is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Fantasy Violence.

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