Hippy Hiku Brother Trucker!
Yes, Folks, that's right! For the measly price of one frank (prices may vary), you too can own your very own Scud Disposable Assassin, Heartbreaker series. Simply walk to your nearest Scudco vending machine, insert the money, and tell the Scud who they have to kill. Best of all, cleanup is minimal. After the Scud destroys its primary target, it self destructs! So if you have enemies, bosses, husbands, wives, mothers-in-law, lawyers, or anybody else you'd like to see removed from the face of the earth, have a Scud do it for you. Just in time for the holiday season, Scudco is also offering Scud Sol to blow your holiday troubles away. Scudco is not liable if the Scudmalfunctions in any way. (Surgeon General's Warning: Activating aScud could be harmful to the health of innocent bystanders.)
Scud: The Disposable Assassin has left his comic book to fight in the land of video games. For all you fans out there (me included), don't worry, this isn't as bad a comic book adaption as Batman Forever. The designers over at SegaSoft tried to stay as close to the comic book as they could. They even had Rob Schrab (the creator of Scud) design a new villain specifically for the video game who will appear in a later comic book. SegaSoft broke new ground with this game by incorporating both a platform side-scroller and a first person Virtua Cop type game. One Player can either use the controller, or one gun, or two guns. Two Players can either both use guns, or one use a controller as a platform game and the other use a gun as a sniper, or both use controllers. (I think that's all the combinations.) Though definitely a revolutionary game, Scud: The Disposable Assassin doesn't live up to all our expectations.
SegaSoft tried to make graphics for the game that stuck with the feel of the comic book... and they succeeded. Though the backgrounds are very repetitive, they are suitably surreal to fit with Scud. In the space level, you can watch the Asgard space station launch the drones that are coming to attack you. The character animations for Scud and Drywall are very well done. They even designed Scud to jump like someone out of a John Woo action flick.
The music for Scud is also really well done. Taken from random underground artists, SegaSoft went out of their way to make the music way cool. Not only do the levels have individual tunes, each selection menu has a different song that you listen to. Each song has a different style and beat, but they are all written especially for Scud. There is even a comedy track by the Dead Alewives (Rob Schrab's comedy troupe) hidden on the CD. Go to the Saturn control panel or place the CD in an Audio player in order to hear it (it's track 8).
The coolest part of the game, however, is the FMV. With a long intro movie and several more during the game, even those gamers who haven't read the comic book will love Scud. Though the animation is smooth, the movies are horribly pixilated. So, although the FMV in Scud includes some of the most entertaining clips I have ever seen in a video game, the video quality is not up to par. Sigh....
There are essentially three modes of play: a platform game, a gun game, and a combination of the two. In the platform game, players can be eitherScud or Drywall (Scud's zipper laden sidekick). Like most platform games, the object is to finish the level and destroy the boss (a la Super Mario Brothers). The control is basic: A is pistol whip, B is Leap, and C is Fire Magnums (or piranhas in the case of Drywall). I have to admit that I used the Pistol Whip only once while playing; guns with unlimited ammo are just too much fun. The main drawback of the platform version is that it is a little too easy. Once you figure out how to play, it is a simple matter to get to the final level. Finishing the final level, however, is remarkably difficult and frustrating, but I'll let you find that out yourselves. Playing the game as one player in platform mode is the only way you are able to see the FMV, which is annoying if you want to show the game to your friends and only one of you can play at a time.
The gun game is nothing to write home about. More like Hogan's Alley than Virtua Cop 2, the gun-only version of this game is a shooting gallery. The characters pop onto the screen and move in predictable patterns. You can collect powerups by shooting crates or, in Marvin's Manikan Factory, eggs (Eggs? Eggs. Eggs!). This version of the game was the hardest by far. So far, I still haven't passed the first level!
The best version of the game is when you play with one player on a controller and the other on the gun. This allows the gun player to snipe any enemies that the platform player can't seem to shoot. This combined version is a lot of fun because, unlike other platform games, you don't have to wait for your partner to catch up (like in Sonic). No other game has combined these two genres, and we at Game Revolution like to promote anything new and different. Kudos to SegaSoft for trying something new.
Unfortunately, we had a few problems with the basic programming of the game. In the combination gun-platform mode, the gun will cause some TV's (a small minority) to glitch every time you pull the trigger. This error makes it impossible for some people to play that version of the game. On those TV's, the gun-only and platform-only version still work perfectly. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the combination game is the best way to play Scud.
All in all, Scud: The Disposable Assassin is a mixed blessing. The incorporation of both a gun and a controller is new and different, but some problems with the game take away from the novelty. If you love Scudor side-scrolling platforms, you'll probably like this game, but it's not for everyone.