Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Scramble Spirits was a surprise hit in the arcades considering it appeared to offer little that was new in the way of shoot 'em up action.
The secret was that although it was not original it performed well enough in all the important categories to appeal to the large number of arcaders who want one thing from a coin op — destruction on a grand scale.
The storyline was equally unoriginal. The peace of a post-nuclear holocaust world is disturbed when aliens attack the reemerging cities.
As the top pilot in the secret World Air Force it is down to you in primitive fighter plane to take on the enemy — engaging them in their six progressively difficult levels.
The best part of Scramble Spirits are the end of level nasties that are a delight, they are so detailed that you almost wish you could buy them in kit form to put on your bedroom mantle piece. The best of these are the Sting Ray Battle Commander's, Sky Revolver, and delightfully named Bruiser Cruiser.
The vast, hulking end of level nasties take up most of the screen and have to be systematically destroyed - gun by gun, and wing by wing.
Power ups are in plentiful supply together with two Mini Support Fighters that fly along side your plane providing essential cover and valiantly engaging the enemy.
Extra lives are earned by notching up a really high score. The best way to do this is to compete successfully in the three bonus rounds at the end of levels one, three, and five. In the bonus rounds you have to destroy as much of the enemy vehicles and weapons as you can without sustaining a direct hit.
There is always room for a good new shoot 'em up on the Sega and Scramble Spirits certainly fits the bill. Its six tough levels will tax even the hottest shoot 'em up sharp shooter.
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