D-Tritus and fat bishops
Scrapland released in 2004 was designed by the father of the crazy American McGee’s Alice American McGee. His games are almost always weird, interesting, sometimes shocking and gamers usually divide into fans and anti fans of his work. American McGee’s name does not always mean that the game will be worthwhile. But I think Scrapland is a game you should play at least once.
Let's have some fun, shall we?
Scrapland is an action/adventure game set in the futuristic land of Scrapland, a planet built from scrap. We are D-Tritus a robot who himself assembled from parts and then put together a spaceship in which he has journeyed to the planet Scrapland. It’s worth mentioning that Scrapland consists only of robots that thanks to the Great Database are immortal. D-Tritus is quickly examined if he is not a viscous; copy of him is stored in an indestructible matrix later put in the Great Database. A functionary assigns him to the least good job in the whole Scrapland – a reporter. Soon the archbishop of Chimera (city in which you live) is killed by a viscous and everybody is in uproar because his matrix has been stolen and he cannot be revived. Before we know it D-Tritus is ensnared in a web of intrigue and lies. His only allies are Rusty a retired mercenary and now mechanic, and Deep Throat a mysterious character who looks like he knows more than anyone. I liked the story presented in Scrapland mainly because I was quite surprised with the real identity of Deep Throat, why Crazy Gambler is crazy. Wide range of characters, and newer and bigger spaceships were the contributing factors responsible for an engrossing and interesting plot.
Doom, doom, doom, doom
Scrapland divides into two different gameplays. In the first we as the D-Tritus fly in a spaceship designed in Rusty’s scrap yard. Assembling new vehicle is easy and intuitive. We can choose from different hulls and engines, additionally there are seven weapons of which six you can buy. There’s a considerable diversity of ships you use during the game but at the end there is only one and its name is Doom. There are four big areas in which you can fly, fight others, race them, wreak havoc, runaway from the police or simply take a stroll and observe what’s going on. Furthermore there are special areas in which crazy bets take place. Fly model isn’t bad although steering doesn’t work so well compared to the AIs. Their flying skills are so great that it makes me wonder how they are capable of doing it. Our arsenal as mentioned above consists of seven weapons. Laser is the basic which every ship has. During missions you unlock other six – Vulcan, Devastator, Tesla, ATPC, SWARM, and Inferno. Those sets of twos share the same ammunition – bullets, energy and rockets. These ammo packs hover in space just waiting for you or AIs to take. Moreover destroying other ships gives you money or ammunition. Your arsenal can also deploy disrupters, smoke screens and energetic bombs to help you escape. What’s more each of your weapon has two upgrades (which you must first win in a crazy bet) making them even more diversified. Furthermore, this gameplay is great for multiplayer action. Of course Scrapland has multiplayer. You can battle your friends in several modes: DeathMatch, Team DeathMatch, Capture the Flag, Team Capture the Flag, lalala, and Team lalala. This game allows you play over the Internet and LAN (sic!). A feature almost non-existent in modern games.
The second gameplay would have been a typical TPP action game if it wasn’t for the possibility of changing into other robots. D-Tritus gained this ability after an old camera named Sebastian downloaded the needed software into him. Each type of robot has a different power. Functionaries can bend time, bankers steal money, cops can extort money, bishops fire energetic beams and so on. Some of the missions take place on foot and then you visit one of the areas: Bank, Press Building, Police Station, Town Hall, Temple, and Gambling Joint. These sections are repeatable to some extent, e.g. almost each of them has your office and I really don’t know why they put it there. In addition, in some levels (especially in Bank) you can easily get lost because radar only shows the part in which you are and there is no map of the location available. I like the way robots are designed. The developers were inspired by some stereotypes functioning in real-life. Bankers look like phantom leechers, bishops are fat and wear golden trinkets, operatives take the form of a sphere constantly searching for law offenders.
Let’s hear now what makes this game sometimes boring. For starters, many of the quest you are given are repeatable, e.g. drive here, destroy this, collect that, return, talk on communicator etc. Moreover, quests given to you by Crazy Gambler are banal. Only the crazy bets are challenging. What’s more on foot missions are tiring, some are too hard compared to other. Most of the time I used messenger robot to transport myself through the levels due to him being fast and flying. I rarely used D-Tritus’ body. And other characters usually don’t have anything against you speaking to them in other’s robot suit; some of them even recognize you (those mischievous bankers!). Soundtrack consists of similar electronic music pieces, “FinalFight”, “HumanGD”, and “Outdoor9” are the only worth mentioning.
After these six years Scrapland still looks good and playable, especially if you want to play with your friends and destroy their ships! From time to time I return to it, to rediscover how great it is to fly in a futuristic city. It reminds me of The Fifth Element, G-Police, and Crime Cities. If you are bored and have free time play it. It’s worth it!
Final Score: 6.5/10