scramble box art

Mr. Dark
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Scramble cartridge


Scramble was an arcade game released in 1981. It was a scrolling shooter that put the player(s) in a series of areas with different landscapes to navigate through. The player(s)' jet could fire up to four missiles to the right side of the screen and drop up to two bombs at a time at ground targets. The player(s) needed to avoid being hit by various obstacles and keep an eye on their fuel level in order to get as far as possible into the game.

Scramble was ported to the Vectrex in 1982. It was developed and published by GCE.


Player(s) control a ship that must infiltrate the five levels of the Scramble system and destroy the Base in the sixth.

The first level has the player flying over a hilly terrain. Players must dodge or destroy enemy missiles shot from the ground, along with Mystery bases and fuel tanks that will increase the player's fuel level.

The second level is inside a cavern, with the same targets of bases, rockets and fuel tanks that are found on the ground from the first level, although there is also a cavern ceiling and swarms of enemy U. F. O.s to contend with.

The player exits the cavern and is assaulted by a storm of flamoids in the third level. The flamoids are fast and indestructible and must be dodged; the same ground targets from the first two levels are also present as the player ducks for cover in these low-lying areas. The fourth level flies the player over a large metropolis. Missiles fire at the player from the tops of buildings and there are the usual ground targets present as well. The fifth level sends the player into tunnels, which can be difficult to navigate through and the only targets this time around are fuel tanks.

The final level pits the player on an attack run on the Base in a deep valley; after the destruction of the Base, the player begins again on the first level, which fuel is consumed faster and the rockets take off at a closer angle towards the player's ship.

Game variationsEdit

There are three skill levels to choose from; the higher the starting level, the faster the fuel consumption, the launched rockets will aim for the player's ship, the U. F. O.s travel faster and the caverns are tighter in game three.

Differences between versionsEdit

Most of the differences are minor, such as a slight bomb trajectory difference and that the majority of the graphics are in vector for the Vectrex version (along with there being no color). The U. F. O.s in level two are proportionally bigger and slower than the arcade's version, thus being easier to hit, the Mystery bases score values are always 200 points, rather than being random on the original, there is a section in the fifth area where the player's bombs will pass through a cavern wall, which didn't happen with the original version, and the end base is wide open this time around, being much easier to bomb than on the arcade original.

(Note: there were two versions of the arcade game, one of which had the base nestled so low in a pit that the player would have to sacrifice a ship in order to destroy it, although the ship would be replaced though. In the second version, the base is in a different setting and easier to destroy, which this port follows that formula a bit closer.)


In late 2012, it became known that bassist Rudy Sarzo (who has played in the heavy metal/hard rock acts Dio, Whitesnake, and Quiet Riot, among others) had a Vectrex on Quiet Riot's tour bus, due to an ebay auction selling off the collection, one of which games included Scramble. The package also included an original Vectrex controller, a Light Pen and a letter of authenticity of ownership.


Stage Select review (8/10)