Game Review

S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

G.O.O.D.

Although it's now of course primarily known for its Harvest Moon games, Natsume developed quite a few unique, entertaining little titles in the past. We've already had a few rereleased on Virtual Console, and rest assured, S.C.A.T. can easily stand with the rest of them.

If you're a Sega or Capcom fan, taking a glance at the game's screenshots might ring a bell to you. Yes, you're right, it plays quite similarly to Forgotten Worlds – you control one of two warriors and fly through the air with your gun, while two small turrets that can also be controlled hover around you. You've got the choice of Arnold or Sigourney (who very clearly are not based on any prolific movie actors, oh no), but aside from looks there are no differences between the two. The two turrets will hover above and below you, each one making half a circle from your front to your back over and over, shooting at the same time you do with your gun in the direction they're currently pointing.

Of course, it would be quite silly if the turret shots were to constantly go all over the place, so to add some nice strategy, the turrets can be stopped in their current position with a press of the B button, making them exclusively fire in the directions they're pointed at. You can unfreeze them at any time with another press, of course, so there are some times when being able to quickly change their positions comes in real handy. For the most part, positioning them to fire forward works quite well – you'll have triple firepower against anything that approaches from the front, and should anything attack from behind, you can just turn around yourself and shoot it while the turrets continue to cover the front.

You start off with a rather poor pulse gun, but shooting open one of the many floating capsules in the game will always reveal a powerup in the shape of a squared letter for you to collect. There's three alternate weapons, the [B]omb, [W]ave cannon and the [L]aser, of which the wave cannon is arguably the best. There's also [S] and [R] pickups, but don't be fooled into thinking they're a rocket launcher and shotgun: the S increases your speed and the R recovers some health, which will be incredibly useful.

You have six hits to begin with, which is quite a sizeable amount for a shoot 'em up, but the game has plenty of stuff to avoid, and if you're not careful those hits will be all gone in no time. None of the stages have any checkpoints and you only have one life per go, so every time you die your score will reset to zero, and you'll have to begin from the start of the current stage again. As usual, of course, every stage also has a boss, but all of them have extremely simplistic patterns, which means you should be able to come out of most fights damage-free.

As a 1991 NES title, you can expect a decent bit out of the graphics and music, and the game does deliver on both fronts. There are some quite nice graphical effects in some stages, like electrical beams that bounce off walls, which look very smooth and fluid while doing so. There's also some surprisingly catchy music which could stick around in your head for a while.

The game is very entertaining, not too hard and not too easy, but there is one rather big drawback: it's incredibly short. The stages are not too long, and there's only five of them altogether, meaning you could easily beat the game within half an hour if you were to never die. It does, however, have a simultaneous two player mode, which is extremely uncommon for a NES game, so if you've got a friend to play with it can be quite entertaining.

One thing to note is that in Europe, the game is another victim of "fake importing." We originally received the game under the title of Action in New York, but on Virtual Console we've been given the North American version instead. That does mean it runs at a nice, clean 60Hz, but it also means that we get to pay 100 Wii Points extra: you decide if it's a worthwhile pay-off.

Conclusion

S.C.A.T. is a bit of an overlooked NES shooter, but there's no real reason for this. It may not be the very best NES game in its genre, and it's quite short, but it's a highly entertaining title while it lasts and is quite replayable, whether it's by yourself or with a friend.

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User Comments (40)

Chunky_Droid

#1

Chunky_Droid said:

facepalm

whoever thought of SCAT as a name needs to be shot, I might give this one a go though, it sounds pretty good.

Omega

#3

Omega said:

What's the problem with the title? Is "scat" an indecent word? Why does the Black Dragon not replace it with something like R.O.S.E. or L.I.L.Y.? :-)

Xkhaoz

#4

Xkhaoz said:

@Omega Yes, it is indecent. It means crap, poop, human excrement, and human waste. Still, looks like a cool game.

Link79

#6

Link79 said:

I'm thinking of getting this or maybe Forgotten worlds. Anyone here played them both that can tell me which is better overall. Obviously the Genesis would have better graphics and a less offensive name but still I'm undecided.

EdEN

#9

EdEN said:

Played it back in the day and I'll be sure to download it over the weekend.

DrakeStaff

#10

Drake said:

@pixelman: Only published it, and in North America only. Neverland was the developer, and Square Enix now owns the franchise.

BulbasaurusRex

#14

BulbasaurusRex said:

"There's also [S] and [R] pickups, but don't be fooled into thinking they're a rocket launcher and shotgun:"
Nice Metal Slug reference.

I'll get this one eventually, but I'm not sure when. I have limited Points resources to work with this month (and again next month) due to saving for the 3DS, and I want to make sure I don't miss out if some games I really want (like Descent) are released later this month.

The_Fox

#15

The_Fox said:

@post 4

Just to clarify, scat is used to describe animal droppings, not human.

Not sure why I cared enough to make a correction.

Link79

#16

Link79 said:

@ The fox
At least the game wasn't called Dung.
Scat could also mean take a hike or get lost. Maybe the game's heroes are telling the bad guys to take a hike so they called their team scat. Get it?

Link79

#19

Link79 said:

@ KrazyKain
As long as your search includes something about Nes you should be alright.

MeloMan

#21

MeloMan said:

Glad to see the review finally. Didn't know it was so short, but it looks entertaining from what I've seen on Youtube. And Action in New York is a terrible title IMO for a game like this, lol. There could've been "any" type of action anywhere, and "this" is the "action" in "New York"? Wow, how inspiring...

ELI-ASH

#22

ELI-ASH said:

Its also a type of fetish. They subtly reference it in an episode of Family Guy. So they where thinking of an alternate title.Sucks they didn't use it instead of the stinky one.

starcrunch061

#23

starcrunch061 said:

@20: LOL. Yeah, googling SCAT probably will get you in trouble.

This game looks pretty fun. I always liked "Forgotten Worlds".

Wolfenstein83

#26

Wolfenstein83 said:

Good game, bad name.
I think it's funny with the whole Arnold and Sigourney thing.
The male character is supposed to look like Arnold the governator, and the female is like Sigourney Weaver.
Although they look nothing like that on the cover, thanks to the ridiculous boxart.
If you let the game run on it's own at the title screen it shows a profile for each character.
Also, the gameplay is fun and I wonder if Forgotten Worlds was inspired by this?

warioswoods

#29

warioswoods said:

I'm saddened by the fact that no one knows the far more important meaning of scat, a style of vocal improvisation rooted in jazz music. :(

Link79

#31

Link79 said:

@ Warioswoods
It's funny you should mention the word Scat has to do with Jazz music.
The voice of the character Jazz in the 80's Transformer cartoon was a man called Scatman Crothers. That's kinda neat.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#33

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Hm... isn´t that "nuke" screenshot from the japaneese version named "Final Mission"? S.C.A.T. / Action in New York has the "running soldiers" intro instead. By the way, awesome that we get the best version in europe too! Arnold / Sigourny is such an epic teamup!

SolarJetman

#35

SolarJetman said:

I love this game and would have scored it an 8 also.

Anyone who likes this should check out Burai Fighter, a similar NES game from Taxan that's longer, but lacks two-player mode.

The_Fox

#36

The_Fox said:

@Wariowoods
I'm sure (or hope, anyway) that plenty of people know the musical meaning of the word. But childish poop humor is more fun.

Betagam7

#38

Betagam7 said:

I'll take "fake importing" over 50hz any day of the week. Of course it would be better if all games just had a 60hz option.

Wolfenstein83

#39

Wolfenstein83 said:

@StarBoy91 Whoops, my mistake!
Take what I said, flip it around.
I kinda just assumed this game came out first cause it was on the NES and I didn't remember that Forgotten Worlds was at the arcades first.

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