Scramble was released in 1981, a side-scrolling, shoot ’em up (or “shmup”) developed by Konami and distributed by Stern in North America.
It was an immediate success, and sold over fifteen thousand arcade cabinets within only five months in the U.S, becoming the second highest selling arcade game, bested only by Berzerk. A sequel was developed called Super Cobra, which garnered similar popularity, selling over twelve thousand arcade cabinets that same year in the U.S. By the end of October, the arcade series had sold a grand total of 24,473 arcade cabinets.
In the game, the Player controls the “jet” and flies over – and through – scrolling terrain, fighting against various adversaries with a forward-firing gun as well as bombs. The challenge of flying through the various terrains, which appear both below and above the jet, is made further challenging by various enemies that attack from all sides.
The jet also has a limited supply of fuel, but the Player can add fuel by shooting various fuel tanks found throughout the terrain.
The Player flies his jet through six different stages, each with a different style of terrain and varying enemies. There is no reprieve – each stage simply following the one before, with new challenges appearing in each one.
In Stage One, the Player is initiated into the game, being shown a simple terrain, with the easiest of enemies – missiles that fire skyward, attempting to shoot the Player from the sky.
In Stage Two, the Player is attacked by flying ships, which fly around randomly and make it a challenge to navigate the new terrain – which is now encroaching from above as well as below. Flying through this new tunnel is not too challenging, however, as there is a significant amount of space, yet the Player can still find challenge in avoiding, or shooting down, the flying enemies.
Stage Three adds a new challenge – indestructible fireballs – which fly, fast and furious, in a horizontal path and cannot be destroyed. The Player must navigate through the ever changing terrain, shooting the various ground enemies that still threaten.
In Stage Four, the terrain becomes much, much more claustrophobic, closing in on the Player even further, making it even more difficult to avoid crashing.
Stage Five is the most challenging, with even tighter spaces and a solid brick-like environment.
The final stage, Stage 6, is surprisingly simple. The Player must fly over huge skyscrapers, avoiding crashing into the terrain, and finally defeat the main boss by dropping a bomb on them in an attempt to blow them up. If the Player misses the shot, then the stage repeats and presents the Player with another boss, until successful.
Once defeated, the Player is presented with a screen congratulating them on their success. When completed, the game starts over, with a slight increase in difficulty.
Scramble is an arcade classic that was incredibly popular from the day it was released, and if you frequented arcades in the 80’s, you’d regularly have to plunk down your quarter beside a line of others, just to stand in line for ‘next game’.
So, if you’re ready to fly your jet through the caverns and waste enemies, pop in a quarter, and let’s play some Scramble!
If you have a game that you would like to see Gameroom Designs showcase, Submit a game for Retro Rewind Friday!
Don’t forget to pick up all of your arcade needs in the Arcade Shop.