Scorpius, Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

Now – just hold on a minute, alright? Some of you that read this are going to fling your arms up into the air and start huffing and puffing about horizontally-scrolling shooters and R-Type and Katakis and Armalyte and all the rest of it. Some of you, will be sagely nodding your head, thinking back to the Entropic Days of Elysium whence you and a friend spent many a moment, both ports plugged with joy, bobbing along blasting enemies in subaquatic glee. A few might be trying to remember the power-ups; select chunks of humanity will have a repetitive, though not un-kind SID in their head, timed to the back and forth bob of their craft. Do you remember the days, my friends? When computer games cost us £1.99?

For me, Scorpius was a Saturday Pocket Money Punt – I had enough for one game, as was often the case and devouring the rack of budget titles that I didn’t yet have, something grabbed me about Scorpius. Now, this was way before I realised the pedigree associated with the game and it wasn’t until much, much later, by happenstance, that I made the connection between Scorpius and The Rowland Brothers (now, what else did they do..?) – when you look, the links are so, so obvious now.

Only four levels long, but funk me in the chopsticks with a kettle – they were pretty bloody tricksy though! With careful play and correct utilisation of the power-ups, I could usually get at least to the beginning of level 3 pretty much every go, but still – it ain’t easy!

But it’s just simply gorgeous to look at. All of the graphics are top notch – we’ll get to the Zzap64 review in a bit, most likely, but the scuba-ship you fly, the enemies, the environments and the hazards and bosses are really nicely displayed. The sound, whilst nothing mad fancy, or long-form, both of the main level tunes – I can remember them both, right now as I am typing this out – they were EARWORMS, I tell thee and oh-so-now-obviously Steve Rowlands behind it all – it’s funky, it’s bass-filled, it’s wicked and it is timed perfectly with the movement of your ship. It's a head boppin' ship bobbin' time!

The game was also full on two-player mode, which was just utter carnage and far, far more difficult to navigate than when you were on your own. The power-ups I think took people a good amount of time to work out, but I believe that you really can’t get far until you’ve picked up 1-3 “P” icons for “Pulse Laser”, then an “R” for “Rapid Fire” and then the next key one is “I” for “Impact” which (I think) makes your bullets stronger. You had a little auto-beam R-Type laser – the whole shebang was just lovely.

Each of the first levels, I swear, is about six minutes long and you can complete the whole game in 25 minutes or less, if you're some kind of warlock, but good luck doing that on 5 lives.

Why it got such a low score, for a little budget game that has so much to offer, is beyond me and I know of many other budget and full price games that got higher scores than Scorpius that really, really did not deserve it.

Take it from me – this is glorious fun – find a copy and give it a whirl – remember the power-up process, blast some wet monsters and bob along to some early SID funk from one of the funkiest in Sid Town. Psyche.

Zzap64 Issue 42: 71%
Download: Scorpius
YouTube: LogrusUK