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|Scramble Spirits is a single or two-players vertical scrolling shoot 'em up game developed in 1988 by Sega for their System 24 that utilizes two Motorola 68000 processors at 10 MHz. The game was then converted to the Sega Master System and later to several other home systems like the Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX and ZX Spectrum.|
STORY / GAMEPLAY
The game is very similar to Flying Shark, that allows you to drop bombs on tanks, fly over the seas, land on the ground and collect extra weapons, but really lacks originality. The game plays either in single or two-players mode through six levels of frantic action, shooting, bombing and blasting enemies. There are airborne forces and ground installations to destroy before finally confronting a boss at the end of each level. Fortunately there are extra weapons to pick up in the shape of up to two small drone planes that enhance your firepower. Although you have five lives, it is frustratingly hard to actually avoid anything when it comes to tight situations because of the almost unpredictable way your plane handles and it's almost impossible to get anywhere safe due to the speed of the enemies and their projectiles. Scramble Spirits is a rather hard shoot 'em up, mainly because of a few technical glitches, but its intense action might keep you taking the course a few times more.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The graphics on the Amstrad CPC conversion are adequate and run in MODE 1 at 320x200 pixels and only 4 colors on-screen. Sadly, 1/3 of the screen is occupied by the player's HUD (score, health, the game's title and the publisher's brand!) resulting to a rather small gameplay area which is crucial for the play-ability of such games. This happens because the developers tried to resemble the original arcade layout of the game's screen, and that is why they chose to design the game in MODE 1 to keep as much as they could the original graphics. Although its acceptable visual details, they are hampered by jerky scrolling with constant frame-rate drops. The sprites are moving quite smooth (considering the CPC hardware) and the terrain is nicely detailed (especially on the 1st level). The sound effects are again the standard boom type explosive noises fulfilling their purpose but doing little to enhance the game. The introductory tune is far from a thrilling music experience but is a well done attempt.
|Arcades (original version)|
Amstrad CPC 464/664/6128
|CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ|
MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards)
GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported
SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.
|RGB 27-colors palette (16 on screen)|
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