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Radar Scope

(thing) by passport (13.1 hr) (print)  ?   I like it!Wed Sep 11 2002 at 6:42:13

Experience the invasion of the SONIC GAMMA RAIDERS with supernatural "Laser Sound."

Radar Scope promotional material, circa 1980.

Radar Scope was one of Nintendo's early arcade failures. It had some good stuff going for it, like a fancy game cabinet and high-tech psuedo-vector hardware. But the problem was that it was basically just Space Invaders all over again. The market was not nearly as kind to vertical shooters after Galaxian came out. It wasn't that Radar Scope was a bad game, it was just that Galaxian was so much better. Nintendo only ended up making around 3000 of the upright units, and they only managed to sell 1000 of those. The unsold ones later became the "rare" red-cabinet version of Donkey Kong.

As Captain of the Sonic Spaceport, you must defend your station against alien Gamma Raiders which attack with vengeance and swiftly retreat to formation.

Aren't alien Gamma Raiders always the worst kind?

The gameplay itself doesn't need to be described in too much detail. Alien spaceships line up in formation, and you have to blast them. The only thing that really differentiates this title from Galaxian and Space Invaders is the fact that it has a pseudo-3D viewpoint, but you can still only move left and right. The blue and black background graphics were actually done completely in hardware, and were way ahead of the twinkling stars that most space games had.

Nintendo made a big deal about the sound in this game, but it was actually very annoying, and didn't seem to have the "eerie supernatural" effect that Nintendo claimed it would.

A thrilling fight between our spaceship and enemy fleets appearing from the ends of the cosmos in a bright, dramatic image on the radar screen!

English language Radar Scope advertisement released in Japan.

Radar Scope was available in three different dedicated cabinets. The upright cabinet was the same design used for the Donkey Kong series. It was red in color and had sticker sideart of a spaceship. The monitor bezel and control panel were designed to mimic the view from inside the cockpit of a spaceship. While the marquee showed an image of a blue and red "Radar Scope" logo on a field of stars.

The cocktail version came in a white-topped cabinet and was only decorated with an instruction card underneath the glass.

The final version was a big environmental unit that completely enclosed the player inside (to better hear all that "Laser Sound"). All the Radar Scope advertisements showed the environmental version, but I unsure if it was ever actually put into production. It used the same sideart as the upright, and had a "Radar Scope" logo silk-screened on the back window.

All versions used a "Nintendo Compatible" Sanyo monitor, a 2-Way joystick, and a single fire button.

printable version

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