GAME REVIEWS

Thursday, April 9, 2009

S.C.I.

~ S.C.I. ~
Taito
HuCard
1991

After Chase H.Q. had become an unlikely favorite of mine, I wasn't expecting much in the way of surprises from its successor. I figured S.C.I. was pretty much a sure thing, a followup that would give me more of the same chasing-down-the-scoundrels fun I'd gotten out of H.Q., but with a gun thrown in for good measure.

However, the addition of ammunition necessitated a reconfiguration of the controls, resulting in a scheme I've never been able to get completely comfortable with. This already-grim situation is in no way improved by the importance placed on precision driving, as deviating from the course even momentarily often has consequences graver than the traditional crash-and-recover driving game waiting sequence. You may end up falling from a cliffside route or plummeting into the sea or a sub-highway abyss. Even if you can cope with the new control arrangement and stay true to the trail, you'll have to worry about the belligerent drivers who share the road with you, as they have a nasty knack for sending your apparently light-as-a-feather machine flying with the slightest nudge. And if they aren't irritating you through aggression, they'll strike via passivity, as they sometimes set themselves up as roadblocks.

What the gun element does (to the delight of those who struggle with Chase H.Q., I imagine) is make it quite easy to obliterate the crooks' cars--that is, of course, if you can avoid taking a fall and remain on their tails. H.Q.'s pursue-and-pound system is simple and exciting; S.C.I.'s chase-and-shoot action typically feels either too easy (while you're carelessly blasting away and watching the bad guys' damage meter fill rapidly) or too frustrating (when the bums get away after you've been knocked off the road, leaving you to play catchup).

S.C.I. isn't a bad game, but it isn't always an enjoyable one either. Frankly, even though S.C.I. has better graphics, I prefer Pack-in Video's similar Knight Rider Special.


I'm not the biggest fan of these types of control setups.


Pre-stage screens provide information on what's to come. "HILL" must be the secret codeword for "bus."


Busting up the enemies isn't such an arduous task if you remain on course.


In some spots, a helicopter will drop off the limited-use rocket launcher, which allows you to deal even greater damage to your foes.


This particular helicopter would rather destroy you than lend a helping hand.


Drive carefully (and evade crash-happy assholes), or you'll end up off the edge or in the drink.


The last level is dumb: a quick drive through the desert concludes with a stop at the enemy base to plant explosives. There's no opposition to contend with (save for the time limit).

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