The player controls an aircraft, referred to in the game as a "Jet," and has to guide it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is armed with a forward-firing weapon, and bombs; each weapon has its own button. The player must avoid colliding with the terrain and other enemies, while simultaneously maintain its limited fuel supply, which diminishes over time. More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game.
The game is divided into six sections, each with a different style of terrain and different obstacles. There is no intermission between each section; the game simply scrolls into the new terrain. Points are awarded based upon the number of seconds of being alive, and on destroying enemies and fuel tanks. In the final section, the player must destroy a "base". Once this has been accomplished, a flag denoting a completed mission is posted at the bottom right of the screen. The game then continues by returning you to the first section once more, with a slight increase in difficulty.
Scramble was cloned to many of the computer systems and game consoles of the time. Its direct sequel was the helicopter arcade game Super Cobra, and the somewhat modified Fort Apocalypse. Scramble inspired other arcade shooters based on similar graphics style and game play elements—notably, Cosmic Avenger.
An updated version of Scramble is available in Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced by inputting the Konami Code in the game's title screen. This version allows three different ships to be chosen: the Renegade, the Shori, and the Gunslinger. The only differences among the ships besides their appearance are the shots they fire. The Renegade's shots are the same as in the original Scramble, the Shori has rapid-fire capabilities triggered by holding down the fire button, and the Gunslinger's shots can pierce through enemies, meaning they can be used for multiple hits with a single shot.
Scramble was included on Konami Arcade Classics in 1999.
Scramble joined the Xbox Live Arcade library for the Xbox 360 on September 13, 2006, its release having been delayed from September 6, 2006 due to bugs.
Scramble made the list of Top 100 arcade games in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition.
Scramble was the subject of an important court case in the field of Intellectual Property, specifically copyrights. In Stern Electronics, Inc. v. Kaufman, 669 F.2d 852, the Second Circuit held that Stern could copyright the images and sounds in the game, not just the source code that produced them.
Notes and references
1. Gradius Portable Official Guide. Konami. 2006. ISBN 4-86155-111-0 2. Case: Stern Elec. v. Kaufman (2nd Cir. 1982) Patent Arcade. http://www.patentarcade.com/2005/06/case-stern-elec-v-kaufman-2nd-cir-1982.html. Retrieved on 2006-09-16.