Ah, the Super Scope. One of the many peripherals for the SNES, and the one I wanted with every bone in my tiny, bony child body. It was a bazooka, and at that point in my life bazookas were the trump card of all weaponry. You’ve got a knife? I’ve got a sword. You’ve got a sword? I’ve got a gun. You’ve got a gun? I’ve got a bazooka. It’s over. You have a tank? Well fuck you, I still have a bazooka, and I still win.
Alas, I never owned one (neither a bazooka nor a Super Scope). Even now, as I play this game, I am using my mouse to aim. As a fairly experienced FPS player, I am no crack shot, but I am able to pop heads from some distance. As such, the difficulty of this game is surprising. If an enemy is on screen for a second on the “normal” difficulty, they will start shooting, and each shot drains a noticeable portion of your life bar. It takes two or three bullets to kill them, and some larger enemies require a missile. The screen scrolls to the right, enemies pop out, you shoot them. Occasionally, a power up appears.
There are no frills, no extra systems, nothing at all. You don’t dodge or reload or anything. You just pan inexorably to the right, watching your life counter and your missile counter. The only explanation for this is that all the evildoers in the city are on that side of the street, and you are in some kind of slow vehicle – say, a lawnmower – armed to the teeth with high-powered weaponry.
When you scroll to the end, your lawnmower comes to a stop, and you are faced with some kind of unintelligible mess of machinery, which you belatedly realize is a boss as it opens up on you with twin machineguns. I destroy those machineguns with my missiles. But then I think, what the eff? How am I supposed to avoid damage from this thing? It takes several missiles to destroy each machinegun. And then it opens up its missile launchers, which fires missiles I assume I could have shot down had it not ruthlessly murdered me.
All this game does is make me think about the oddities of its associated peripheral. Why Super Scope? Why not name it after a weapon, instead of a weapon attachment? Imagine hearing that name without knowing what it was, not entirely uncommon in this pre-mainstream-internet-usage era. Having none of the precious magazines that were windows into some kind of arcane knowledge of a video game world, I would have imagined some kind of science game, where I can examine the things on screen in microscopic detail through my super microscope. Or perhaps an astronomy game.
Actually, those would be awesome, and both would automatically require a lot more thought and creativity than “scroll right, shoot enemies.” This game is just a peripheral to a peripheral; it is there as a necessary function of the light gun. It has no life or vitality of its own. Do not disturb its dusty crypt.