Retro Game Guy

It's the 1980's again!


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Scramble is a video game developed by Konami in 1981 and distributed in the United States by Stern.  It is a side scrolling ‘shoot ‘em up’ with outstanding graphics and game play.  In Scramble, you control an aircraft with the goal of getting as far into the Scramble system as possible.  In addition to controlling the movements of the aircraft, you must also use your guns and bombs to destroy rockets, UFO’s, and fuel tanks.  You must keep an eye on your own fuel and destroy a fuel tank to increase your fuel level.

In Scramble the terrain is constantly changing and you must fight your way through six stages:

  • Stage 1:  Launching Rockets
  • Stage 2:  UFO’s
  • Stage 3:  Meteors
  • Stage 4:  Launching Rockets from tall buildings
  • Stage 5:  Mazes
  • Stage 6:  Base

The Scramble arcade units were powered by two Z80 CPU’s and two AY-3-8910 sound generators.  It was ported to the Commodore 64, Vic 20, and Vectrex, but not to any Atari systems.  Scramble was succeeded by ‘Super Cobra’ which was ported to the Atari 2600, 5200, and 8-bit systems.

Thanks to Bob ‘PacManPlus’ DeCrescenzo, it is now possible to play Scramble on the Atari 7800.  Bob started his work on Scramble in late 2011 and completed it in March of this year.  Bob had made a few cartridges for AtariAge forum members and now Scramble is available for order from the AtariAge store.

Bob referenced the original arcade ROM’s to produce as faithful of a port as possible.  Comparing Bob’s Scramble to the arcade version, shows his typical attention to detail.  Given that the 7800 only has a single CPU and limited sound, Scramble for the 7800 is amazingly close to the arcade version.  My only comment about Scramble is that the game has some bright colors and some of them ‘saturate’ on my 7800.  I have tried Scramble on two different systems with the same result.  The color ‘saturation’ seems to only affect the lower portion of the screen and does not have any impact on game play.

In an earlier post, I discussed controllers for the 7800.  In order to control the guns and bombs, a two button controller is a must.  When I play Scramble, I prefer my modded CX24’s.  Scramble is a fun game, but it takes a lot of practice to get good at it.   Bob has built in three difficulty levels into the 7800 version which will keep you coming back for more.  Scramble is a unique side scroller for the 7800 which not only pushes the system to its limits, but, also, shows what a great home arcade system it is!  Once again, Bob has ‘knocked it out of the park’ with Scramble…another must have for your 7800!!!

Wild for Scramble!

Wild for Scramble!


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