Blast from the Past: S.C.A.T. (NES)

Retro Review


The year is 2029 and an alien force is threatening the existence of mankind. The only thing that stands in their way is a Special Cybernetic Attack Team otherwise known as S.C.A.T. Time for jetpacks and orbiting cannons.

S.C.A.T. throws players into the shoes of one of two characters, a male or female. Although the game can also be played as a two-player co-op. Tasked with one simple mission, the salvation of mankind. Players are equipped with the ability to fly, a rifle that has the ability to change ammo loads when power-ups are picked up and two cannons that maintain an orbit around the player that fire off automatically when the player shoots off their rifle. Movement is simple since you’ll be able to move across the screen to fly horizontally or vertically. The viewscreen is in constant motion just as it is with many of the 80s (90s for me) shooters such as B-Wings or 1942 so I found the best strategy is to keep that finger on the trigger button. As mentioned before the rifle has the ability to change its projectiles by acquiring the different power-ups scattered through the levels. Projectiles can vary from scatter burst shots to lasers. An added advantage to players are the orbital cannons. These bad boys rotate around the player as the player moves across the screen. Although the player cannot control them manually there is a certain level of control as they switch directions to the direction the player is facing you’ll be able to hold them there. Unlike the rifle that can only shoot back and forth, the cannons shoot diagonally as well creating a wider firing range for the players.

Big guns, dangerous foes

With all that firepower its hard to think that the players aren’t invincible but S.C.A.T. will soon show you that you can be easily removed from existence. The game has no shortage of enemies from alien ships, cannons that pop out from the ceilings and ground as well as humanoid enemies. Although they can be easily dispatched it can become challenging trying to dodge enemy ships flying toward you whilst the cannons are firing off projectiles that also change direction once they hit. Of course, this is the essence of an 80s shoot-em-up and where the fun lies apart from blowing everything up!

All in all the levels are well-designed from depicting the Earth in ruins to showing off the players travelling into space and taking the battle into the enemy’s mother-ship. The music is super fun to listen to reminding me of an arcade although the sound effects reminded me a lot of another shooter, Contra. In all honesty, if you look closely at the characters you’ll think that you’re playing Contra with jetpacks, Super Rocket Contra. Nevertheless, even with that thought in mind, this is still a great shoot-em-up and good co-op title to blow a few hours on.


  • Music
  • Co-op
  • Orbiting cannons


  • Short


When the Earth is invaded there is only thing that stands in their way - S.C.A.T. - a Special Cybernetic Attack Team.


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