Written by  :  Adzuken (861)
Written on  :  Nov 09, 2009
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Crotch-shots are even more satisfying with the power of the Super Scope!

The Good

I feel a bit sorry for the Super Scope. Sure, it swallowed 6 AA batteries whole if you accidentally left it on (which I have done many times), and it didn’t have the best support, but it was really cool. I mean, when you’re a kid, what’s cooler than a bazooka? Yet, for some reason, the NES’s Zapper is more fondly remembered than the Super Scope. The man at my local video game store tells me that it’s because the Super Scope didn’t have any decent games available. Unfortunately, I must disagree, because he mustn’t have played Battle Clash.

Battle Clash is a game designed especially for the Super Scope. The premise is simple, you’re the gunner of some sort of mech called an ST (which stands for standing tank, I’m told) and you’ve entered a contest to defeat other STs in one on one combat. The screen automatically follows the enemy STs while your job is simply to try and destroy them. Holding down the fire button results in the ST firing rapidly, which is only useful for shooting down the enemy ST’s bullets. To do real damage, you have to stop firing, as this allows your shot to charge.

Everything about Battle Clash pops. The enemy STs are large and detailed, and everything is brightly coloured. The screen scrolls quickly at times with use of a Mode 7 foreground. The music sounds like it’s ripped directly from an arcade game. Best of all, Battle Clash incorporates my favourite retro video game clichés: bosses have big, obvious weak points and die in a cloud of small explosions. Classic.

The gameplay is simple, but interesting. There’s only so much you can do with find-the-weak-point target practice, but Battle Clash makes the most of it. All of the enemy STs have different strengths and weakness, and it can sometimes be a bit challenging to find their soft spot. There’s also a lot of strategy involved in shooting down enemy fire. Some enemies fill the screen with small fire. Others shoot larger shots that require a charged bolt to take down. It’s enough that I never found myself becoming bored, and it’s certainly a bit more interesting than shooting ducks.

I really like the damage system in Battle Clash. I especially like that it allows you to blow the limbs off of enemy robots, a feature I took full advantage of. I took my time to toy with the easier STs. I’d blow their limbs off one by one until they were nothing but floating torsos. I felt like some sadistic kid, torturing a fly by ripping its legs off. Also, you defeat one particular ST by shooting it in the crotch, which I’m always a fan of.

The Bad

Man, I have no idea what the hell was going on in the storyline. The instructions might shed some light on the whole thing, but I don’t have them. It started off with me in some kind of contest. Then the next thing I know, I’m on the moon fighting in some hellish nightmare-scape, and the pilot of my ST is going on about how this guy killed his father or something. It’s filled with all sorts of anime clichés, like “true forms” and the power of friendship. Actually, the more I write about it, the more I like the plot. It’s stupid and over-dramatic, and best yet, it doesn’t get in the way. I like it.

Battle Clash also suffers from an extremely brief length. I breezed through it in about an hour or less to brush myself up for this review. That’s sort of standard for a Super Scope game, though. The gun absolutely gobbled batteries, so it’s probably best to keep the game brief. Plus it’s entertaining enough to pick up and play through again. Also, when you’ve completed the game, you unlock a harder difficulty. I’m not really sure why you have to unlock it, but there you have it.

There’s a two player mode, though there might as well not be. It’s basically just time trial mode with one player playing after the other. It’s hard to fault the game for something completely optional, but it feels like a cop-out. Why not let one player pilot with a controller while the other shoots, like what Yoshi’s Safari did? It almost seems like the game was set up to allow this, arrows even appear on the screen when an ST moves off to the side. Still, it’s better than no multi-player.

The Bottom Line

If you own a Super Scope, you should own Battle Clash. You should probably also own its sequel Metal Combat, but let’s take one step at a time here. It’s a simple and fun game that really shows off the Scope’s capabilities. Battle Clash is a lot more complex than say, Duck Hunt, but it’s a lot more satisfying too. Anyone can shoot ducks; I want to shoot mechs. But maybe that’s just me. I think Battle Clash is an OUTSTANDING game, and the best the Super Scope has to offer.