This week, you are going to get a good look at the game that launched the Scope Scope light gun peripheral, Super Scope 6. Do six games equal six times the fun?
Name: Super Scope 6
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Released on: SNES
Original Release Date: August 27, 1993
Bundled with the Super Scope peripheral was an unboxed cartridge labelled as Super Scope 6. If you hadn’t figured out by now, you need the Super Scope to play it, for this was Nintendo’s showcase for the sort of games you could get for the SNES peripheral.
The six stands for the six mini-games that appear on this cartridge, although admittedly that’s a lie right out of the gate, for as soon as you bypass the title screen by firing at your television, followed by calibrating your weapon, you’re given the choice of two options – Blastris and Lazer Blazer. Each one contains three different game modes which involve shooting things with a giant plastic bazooka, and each one has three difficulty settings.
So let’s start with Blastris, a title which certainly invokes comparison with a certain Russian puzzler that was all the rage in the early 90’s. Two of the game modes here are definitely like Tetris, and there’s a third mode that in no way belongs here.
The imaginatively named Blastris A is an interesting take on the falling blocks genre, turning the game area on its side, taking you to some sort of parallel dimension where Tetraminos fall from left to right.
As is standard for a Tetris game, it’s all about making lines of blocks. The only difference is that instead of manipulating the falling blocks, positioning them to your liking; Tetramino fall in an unwavering straight line, and you need to shoot off individual blocks to make the falling shape fit how you want it to. You have no choice as to where the blocks fall, and you only have a certain number of shots in which to chisel the piece in the desired fashion. Clear five lines and you can carry onto the next level.
Because of the limited shots, Blastris A can be a frustrating endeavour, especially as you rise up through the levels and the blocks fall faster. With the Tetramino being moving targets, you’ll need to be very accurate or risk running out of shots and not being able to manipulate the shape how you want to, making it a hindrance. At times you feel powerless to watch your rubbish pile of blocks rise higher, and that limitation on shots really does ruin the game, even if you can carry unused shots over to the next falling block.
Basically, it’s an interesting way to make Tetris work as a lightgun shooter, but it doesn’t work as well as…Blastris B
In this mode, things are a little familiar with blocks falling from above, as nature and gravity intended. Once again, objects will fall by their own volition and you’ll have no way of moving them from their set path. This time around, these objects are single cubes of different colours, and you’re tasked with firing at them to chase between different colours to match three in a row like Puyo Puyo for people with violent tendencies.
Some blocks are impervious to your shots and will not change colour and they usually drop in the most inconvenient place, so at times you’ll need to figure out how to get around them. Blastris B has to different types of play – A Type A mode where players must clear some set blocks to finish each level, and a Type B mode that plays non-stop until the player gets a Game Over.
I actually liked this mode more than I thought I would. It’s not as hectic as Blastris A, and without that mode’s shot limit, you don’t feel quite as pressured to be an expert marksman. It feels like more of a traditional Tetris style game, and I found it to be pretty fun – One of the better games on the cartridge.
Onto Mole Patrol – The last game in Blastris doesn’t have anything in common with any of the other games and as the title suggests, it’s a light-gun version of everyone’s favourite carnival game: Whack-A-Mole.
You should know how this works – 12 holes are laid before you, with moles randomly popping out of each one, before scurrying back in again. You’ll need to shoot them before they disappear without a trace. In the Stage Mode, there’s a score you need to reach within a time limit before you can progress to the next level, and in Score Mode you are given one wave of moles and you’ll need to shoot them as quickly and as accurately as you can in order to get as perfect a score as possible.
The twist is that while most moles, if you can call them that, are purple in colour, there are also some pink moles that when shot will cause the other moles to freak out – Speeding the game up for a few seconds.
That’s honestly all there is to it, really. It’s fun as a little aside, but it’s a little too simplistic to remain fun for any stretch of time.
Lazer Blazer’s games are a little bit more consistent in terms of theming, with each one taking the distinctly more militaristic focus, with a side order of alien invasion for good measure. Each of the three game types revolves around a phase of a war with aliens, although there’s no other form of narrative beyond that, save for a very brief line of text that appears after you beat level 30 in each of these mini-games.
Type A – Intercept is about taking down a barrage of enemy missiles before they hit their intended target. They’ll come from one side of the screen to another, and you’ll need to fire accurate shots at them before they hit the opposite side of the screen – Too many hits and it’s a game over.
In a clever mechanic, missiles can vary in terms of their distance, for you really need to account for how long your shots will get to a missile that’s further away – In a way, it really does make you feel like you’re firing a bazooka.
Occasionally, you may even run into Mario, who’s piloting a biplane with a health powerup as cargo. Unfortunately, he’s trying to escape a pursuing Iggy Koopa – Shoot the Koopa Kid down and you’ll recover some health or earn extra points. Hit Mario and you’ll get nothing but the blood of gaming’s greatest hero on your hands. I hope you’re happy with yourself.
A turn-taking two player mode adds a little longevity if you’d like to compete with a friend to get better scores, but other than that it’s another fun, but simple game.
Type B – Engage switches the action to a first person view as players take part in a dogfight with alien hordes, flying in various formations. If that wasn’t enough to contend with, you’ll also need to shoot missiles and other projectiles out of the sky before they hit you, or you run out of fuel. Destroy a set number of enemy craft and it’s onto the next level for more of the same.
These are mostly moving targets, so some judgement is required in order to score direct hits, and your gun will only fire four shots without needing to recharge. Get hit five times and it’s game over, as will taking too long as you only have finite fuel reserves – But this will be recharged at the end of each level.
This is a little more exciting that Type A, but it’s mostly the same thing, to be honest.
Type C – Confront is the final mode of Lazer Blazer, and it’s really similar to Type B – Engage, as it’s also in a first person view. Here, you’re taking the fight to the alien homeworld, and the extraterrestrial scum starts to get close and personal.
This time around, you’re given infinite shots so you can really let loose. Ultimately though, it’s almost identical to Type B, although both B and C are the better parts of Super Scope 6.