Konami's greatest games keep appearing on Xbox Live - and somehow, Scramble showed up too. While games like Time Pilot aged gracefully, this side-scrolling space shooter feels old and inflexible, a crusty gaming battleship dragged out of drydock. All you can do is stare and go, "Wow, that's old."
Granted, they gave the old girl a fresh coat of paint - a major improvement, considering the horrifying original color scheme changes flourescent shades every few seconds - but the gameplay underneath still feels brutally linear. Think Defender but not as exciting: fly your spaceship through twisty, spiky caverns filled with enemy ships, rockets that could launch into your ship at any time, indestructible comets and other obstacles waiting to smash you to bits. Get your hardcore on: no continues, no starting at a later stage and notorious collision detection that kills you when you swear you were out of harm's way. It's wicked hard to reach the base on the sixth level - and after that, you just start over. The new co-op and versus modes don't really matter; it's the same split-screen, non-interactive multiplayer trick from the reissues of Frogger and Time Pilot.
Our theory is that Scramble came as part of an obligatory package deal when Microsoft secured Konami titles like Contra and Frogger. This relic simply isn't compelling enough to get by on its own merits.