Buffet of games
There wasn’t exactly a buffet of games for Nintendo’s Super Scope. It was only supported from ‘92 until ‘94, receiving 14 titles if you’re being generous and 12 titles if you’re being slightly less generous. Of them, a lot are missable. The one that usually comes to mind for anyone not intimately familiar with the shoulder rod is Yoshi’s Safari, but those in the know are aware of Battle Clash and its sequel Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge.
Both games were developed by Intelligent Systems exclusively for Nintendo’s grey wrapping-paper tube. Mario may have got all the attention for his unhinged rampage, but it was the mechs that showed what the space bazooka could do.
Radical assault weapon
If you’re unfamiliar with the Super Scope, it was essentially Nintendo’s successor to the NES light gun, the Zapper. However, they completely overcompensated by turning it into a bazooka. Hilariously, during his crusade against violent games, former Senator and permanent gravy-stain on U.S. legislative history John Lieberman, described it as looking “like an assault weapon.” That is one radical assault.
The Super Scope gets made fun of regularly, but reports of its inaccuracy are unfounded. With its eponymous scope, it’s one of the most accurate and easy-to-use light guns I’ve experienced. The only downside is that it absolutely devours the six AA batteries required to power it, and if you make the mistake of leaving it on, you can absolutely kiss them goodbye.
Battle Clash is set in some possible post-apocalyptic future where I guess some competition has been going on that decides the ruler of Earth. Or something. Not much is given in the game beyond the fact that you and your pilot are trying to kill Thanatos because he’s a bad guy. In order to get there, you need to first take out a bunch of his goons across the world.
You’re put behind the guns of an ST (standing tank). Gameplay is strictly point-and-shoot, as the controls are helmed by some other guy. You play with the turbo switch on, and when you let go of the hold button, a more powerful shot is charged up. Typically, you use your rapid fire to take down enemy projectiles, since your foe can only be significantly damaged with a charged shot.
This isn’t too much unlike the boss battles in Yoshi’s Safari. A typical enemy has a specific weak point for you to find, and each one is different. However, the other STs are made from destructible components, so if you’re feeling sassy, you can take out crucial pieces of equipment, leaving them helpless. Personally, I love picking the legs off like a spider I’m about to eat. Some enemies switch to hover mode once their appendages have been eliminated, but others fall to the ground, unable to move.
Bosses range from fast to heavily armored. The graphics are extremely detailed and colorful, and the backgrounds scroll at warp speed. The combatants remind me a bit of Super Punch-Out!! or Teleroboxer, just in terms of size and animations.
There’s a story given through short exchanges of dialogue at the beginning and end of each level, but it doesn’t amount to much aside from beating the bad guy. Still, the extra characterization is welcomed, even if it isn’t necessary.
Battle Clash is a rather short game with nine bosses to beat. There’s a time trial mode to provide you incentive to beat your best times and a harder difficulty that can be unlocked via code. However, in terms of replay value, there isn’t a lot. It’s a bit better as a game that you break out occasionally whenever you have the urge to feed batteries to your Super Scope.
Avenue for being vindictive
I just can’t overstate how much fun it is to blow the limbs off of enemy robots. Sure, it might be more efficient just to aim for the weak point, but I feel like Battle Clash is strongest when you’re taking advantage of the damage system. However, it would have been nicer if it was better utilized in actually fighting the bosses. As it is, it feels more like an avenue for being vindictive.
As much as I love Battle Clash, that’s about all I have to say about it. It’s a fun but fleeting experience. If you’ve still got a CRT hanging around and a Super Scope to throw over your shoulder, it’s absolutely a title that you should own. Even with my squishy soft spot for the peripheral, I can’t deny that it was never very well utilized. Battle Clash is one of the few games worth playing for it.
But while Battle Clash may have been insubstantial, it would get a sequel a year later in Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge. But that’s a story for another day.