Sand Scorpion

-Face (1992)



The Story

An invading force form space has set up base in the desert. Their space fighters and warships have started attacking remote towns along the desert. Reports indicate that a large ship that may or may not resemble the tail of a scorpion has been leading the attacks. We have a new fighter that should be able to take care of the alien force; however, it is not ready for space flight yet, so let us hope that we can destroy them without launching into orbit.


My Thoughts

I donít know what in the game the ďSand Scorpion.Ē It could be the ship the player pilots, the name of the mission, the name of the enemy force, or something else entirely. There is plenty of sand in the game, but what is the scorpion? The fifth stage boss kind of resembles a blue scorpion, but it's only for a few seconds. In the end it It hardly matters. While Sand Scorpion has a couple original design ideas, it's not enough to keep it form being a short and forgettable overhead shooter.

The playerís fighter looks like it should launch right into space, hell, it screams outer space. The large boosters just insist with all intensity that the game will lead into a space battle. The transport ship that drops power-ups also has huge boosters on it. Even most of the enemies have a space feel to them. This would all be great if game went into space at some point, but it doesnít. All the stages are some form of sand level: Six standard sandy stages of sand superiority. Well, one stage more water than sand in it. Since you are constantly flying above some kind of sandy place or desert base, the space-looking ship and enemies seem a bit out of place in the game. There are a few enemy helicopters that are one of the few things that fits with the scenery and are a design I havenít seen before with a large split open tail. Regardless, the game felt like it needed a space level.

This ships needs to be in space.

The bosses are nothing special. With the exception of the second stage boss and the final boss, the bosses of the game begin as squares with turrets, end as squares with turrets, or just are squares with turrets. Theyíre not very exciting although a one of them transforms from squares to trapezoid pieces. The second stage boss is a flying wing much like the second stage boss in nearly every Raiden game. The final boss is what looks to be a massive computer core thing with a golden gunship flying above it. 

Sand Scorpion does have something original, at least. The default weapon isnít the normal red Vulcan cannon that is in nearly every overhead shooter. In Sand Scorpion, itís blue. Yes, a blue Vulcan cannon. As it is powered up it does the same as every other Vulcan cannon and becomes a spread. The other two weapons are fairly original. The red-colored weapon is a wavy fireball thing which looks nearly identical to enemy shots, but are not bad for you as they fire from the ship and instead of towards it. The weapon isnít that powerful, however, and the wavy left to right motion of it actually makes it miss enemies at times. If an enemy is in the right spot the weapon will curve directly in front and behind it, leaving the enemy unscathed. The third weapon is a green ray beam type thing. Iím not exactly sure, but it looks like a trapezoidal arrow when it fires.

The graphics are fine and colorful. They do what they need to do, basically. The music on the other hand is terrible and does not match the game at all. It sounds like music that should be in a shooter from the 80s, not one made in the 90s. Actually, this music shouldn't be in any shooter. It's too tame, sounding like something from a happy little RPG. The only reason to play this would be to check out the weapons or the nifty split helicopters; otherwise you have already played other, better overhead shooters.

Score: 3.0        








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