Review by Al Giovetti, 12/18/96
Demo: available with two tracks: http://www.avault.com/sector/scorcher.html
Publisher: GT Interactive
Requirements: Pentium 75 or greater, SVGA video card, DOS or Windows 95 with DirectX, 8 MB RAM
Company line: The fastest most technically advanced racing action ever!
Enter the underworld's of of NYC, where fierce clans of warriors undergo deadly surgical procedures, turning themselves into half machines called Vexoids.
Screaming through a white-knuckled world of shadows and danger, you must pit your racing skills against a pack of high speed rivals in a race to the death!
History: Scavenger was the new surprise at E3, a dynamic group of young game designers and programmers, with a remarkable striking booth and good three dimensional product based upon a new proprietary three dimensional engine. Finally after over six months their products are coming to market.
Game play: You select from a group of tracks and race on a Tron-like light cycle with a circular force field. Green pyramid shaped turbo boosts are picked up on the track where they are randomly placed. Yellow triangles are super turbo boosts along a particular track lane. There are jumps and holes in the tracks that can take you out of the race. The bike can be steered while in the air, unlike real contemporary racing bikes. There are no weapons, no explosions, no one to kill or maim, just a pure racing game.
Views: There is a behind and far behind, and first-person views.
Tracks: There are a number of tracks to choose from. The Dump is a simple oval track. Downtown is very hard and depicts the urban street racing with multiple obsticles and power ups.
Vehicles: Only one vehicle is the light cycle.
Difficulty matrix: There is no real difficulty matrix, see the utilities section below. The tracks make the game easy or hard. The easiest track is the Dump while Downtown is one of the most difficult. There is a practice mode, but even this easiest mode has a timer making it impossible for many to complete the tracks even after many tries. The learning curve on this game is very high.
Voice actors: ?
Music score: Techno music is not as stunning as advertised.
Sound effects: We hope these get better with newer versions.
Utilities: One lesson that many game manufacturers often learn the hard way relates to accessability. Games need to have multiple difficulty levels to allow game players who are good at games a challenge while still allowing the novice to play the game and complete it. Game play ease and challenge are not game features that can be balanced, so a complex matrix of game difficulty settings is required in many simulators and other games. Scorcher only has two difficulty levels so that this is one very difficult game that many game players will never learn how to complete. The result is returned games and plummeting sales. There is no joystick support.
Multiplayer: There are no multiplayer featuers
Hints and tips:
Compare to: WipeOut is a much better game.
Journalists: Steve comments on the reason for time limits in arcade games. This has for a long time been a bone of contention with me. If the designers want to retain the flavor of the coin-op game they need to have a button for adding another quarter when the time runs out. Simply have a command that simulates the quarter drop since the person who bought the game should be able to play the game as if he owned the coin op. If you will not put in the quarter drop, please take out the quarter motivated timers. They are not needed in a game where you are prevented from putting quarters in. Many people just keep feeding quarters until they win the game which is ok if you have the money.
Steve Bauman, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 72, 20%.
Jason D' Aprile, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 95, 65%.
GT Interactive's Scorcher Web Site