SCUD: Industrial Evolution
In 1993 Rob Schrab started a comic book called SCUD: The Disposable Assassin about a coin-operated assassin vending machine: you put in your money and out comes an assassin to do your bidding, self-destructing after terminating its target. This game captures the hip and wacky essence of that successful comic book, putting you in the role of a yellow robot assassin who blasts away at every enemy mutant or droid that crosses your path while protecting and rescuing an equally bizarre set of creatures. It is a top-down action game much in the same vein as Red Orb's Take No Prisoners, except that the gameplay is a lot more stylized. While SCUD plays well as a single-player game, it is clearly primarily designed to be a multiplayer experience.
This game can be played with the keyboard or a game pad, and I would really recommend the latter (I use the Microsoft SideWinder Game Pad). Either way the controls are really smooth, and the sensitivity seems just right. Three control schemes are provided -- basic, rotational, and special -- to provide users with an exceptional range of choice about how to direct movement in the game. The playing screen is nicely designed, showing health, radar, and weaponry. as are the menu screens. The gameplay itself is extremely fast-paced and often difficult, as there are always lots of adversaries and pickups in obscure places. Even for a veteran action game player, getting through the levels here will be no piece of cake. The artificial intelligence of the enemies is decent, although many follow quite predictable algorithms in terms of how they attack you. The levels are sufficiently different from one another that they are always providing new challenges.
The graphics in SCUD are high-quality, crisp and colorful, but not state-of-the-art. The background scenes are detailed, mysterious and sometimes beautiful. However, the overhead perspective eliminates the possibility of much texture and depth to the characters, and the absence of any support for 3D hardware acceleration sets real limits on what can be done visually. Given that what is desired here is a cartoon-like comic book atmosphere, the graphics are stellar by those standards.
The music in SCUD is driving techno-rock, which is fine for the atmosphere of the game. I usually love this kind of music in action games, but here it gets more than a little bit repetitive. The sound effects are average, quite clear but not showing any particular innovation.
The usual black-and-white CD jewel case manual is decent but not as visually presented as I am used to. For example, there is no pictorial gallery of SCUD weapons or enemies anywhere. The emphasis in the documentation is heavily on the multiplayer game experience.
Pentium 90 MhZ CPU, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 16-bit video card, 16-bit sound card, Windows 95.
These specifications are about average for this kind of game.
This action shoot-'em-up is my kind of game, but even though I was quite impressed with the game's production values, stylishness, graphics and controls, it did not sustain my long-term interest the way I had hoped. In the end, quick reflexes are the key to success, and there are other quick-fingered shooters that seem to have more staying power. The game does have a fair amount going for it, however, and if you are a fan of the comic book you'll like the transition to computer game.
Download SCUD: Industrial Evolution
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP