Mobile Suit Z Gundam: Hot Scramble is the second game based on the Mobile Suit Z Gundam anime, and the first for home consoles. Numerous units from both the TITANS and Neo-Zeon forces appear as opponents, and the player takes control of the iconic Zeta Gundam.
Each stage in the game is a sequence of three parts. First the player starts in a 1-person flying segment on land where they can shoot aerial and land-based targets for points. How many times the Waverider's laser can be fired is limited by a recharging energy bar. For the second phase the Waverider will launch into space, but gameplay is functionally similar to the land phase. For the third phase the Gundam infiltrates a space station or battleship, and gameplay shifts to a side view similar to the previous Z Gundam game. Here the player can freely shift between Waverider and MS modes, both of which can fire its laser at enemy mobile suits, as they navigate a maze to locate and destroy the core.
Prior to the Japanese release of Mobile Suit Gundam: Senshitachi no Kiseki (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Ace Pilot) on the GameCube in 2004, Bandai produced a limited edition Famicom Mini version of Hot Scramble. The Famicom Mini games are specially packaged Game Boy Advance re-releases of classic Famicom games. This packaging marked the 11th title in the series, and was given away via a drawing held at the GameCube title's official website.
The American singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka composed the music for the opening and ending themes of the anime, an example being the ending theme, "Hoshizora no Believe" ("Believe In The Starry Sky") which is derived from "Bad And Beautiful" on his album Steppin' Out. Nobuyuki Ohnogi arranged Sedaka's music for use in the game, hence the credit to Sedaka in the end credits.
The original version of Hot Scramble was composed of only first person segments, had no Neo-Zeon units, and was also significantly harder. This version play tested poorly, and for a high profile title Bandai probably wanted to show off as many Mobile Suits as possible. For these reasons the game was retooled into the eventual retail release, which included side-scrolling "In Fortress" stages. The original version, commonly known as Final Version, was still released as a limited 1000 unit run as part of a contest. Due to its scarcity this release is now a pricey collector's item.