So, the Super Scope. As a kid, I often used to sit and think to myself "you know what would make this videogame more fun? If I had to balance a length of drainpipe on my shoulder and squint while I'm playing it". What could be more fun that that? Well, it turned out that just about anything was more fun than that, and Nintendo quietly disposed of the Super Scope in some dark dungeon, probably the same place they chucked the Virtual Boy. One of the Super Scope's problems, aside from the physical discomfort and the fact that you looked like a proper tool when using one, was that there were hardly any games for it. I found one, though, and here it is: Nintendo's 1992 robot-themed blaster, Battle Clash.

This is a game about shooting robots. Robots that you shoot and also robots that shoot things. Shooting robots shooting. I'm struggling here, because if there is a plot to Battle Clash, the game doesn't deign to share it with you. What I managed to pick up from playing the "story" mode is that I have to shoot some robots with my robot because another robot once killed my dad's robot and he's going to be evil in his robot. Or something. Whatever the reason, you fight the robot bosses one at a time, using the Super Scope. The gameplay itself is very simple: when you're not firing, a power bar fills up. Once it's full, you can shoot an "Energy Bolt", which is generally the only way to damage your enemy. If you press fire when your bar's not full, you fire a piddly little shot which you can use to shoot the enemy's bullets out of the air. It's all pretty simple. Things are made slightly more bizarre by the fact that every battle seems to take place while the afore-mentioned robots are sliding along parallel to eachother at hundreds of miles per hour. I understand that maybe my opponent wants to try and get away, maybe put some space between us and try up a different strategy, but when I can easily match his speed and course, you would think they would try something else instead of simply wasting their no-doubt expensive giant robot fuel by sliding around like a particularly rubbish ice-skater. They should just stand still and let me shoot them: it'd have the same overall effect. Maybe that's just how things are done in the far future, with every conflict decided by two robots running alongside eachother, waiting for their guns to recharge. Actually, that sounds quite fun. I've changed my mind about the futility of sideways-running-fighting: when I am in charge, I shall decree that all battles must be fought this way. In the unlikely event that giant mechanical war-machines aren't commonplace when I'm in power, the robots will be replaced by men sitting astride rockets. It'd certainly make the conflicts in the Middle East more entertaining.
All this is really just an excuse to look at the robot sprites from the game. They're pretty good!


If your giant robot is going to based on an animal, make sure you eschew the more obvious choices like tigers and eagles and go for the frog-based look. God, those eyes are piercing into my very soul. I'd like to to think that this robot is the ultimate conclusion to Galvani's famous "electric frog's legs" experiment. The screenplay is writing itself as we speak... in my mind! You can actually shoot his legs clean off, and his torso just sits there, looking forlorn and throwing the occasional plasma blast at you.


An Egyptian theme for the second boss. Hey, I've just noticed he's got the same eyes as Garam. Spooky. The complication of this fight is that you cannot damage Scarab until you hit his weak spot. And where is said weak spot? Why, it's between his legs. In the groin. His robot plums. SHOOT HIS BALLS.


Lorca's pilot sure is similar to Yuda from Fist of the North Star, and they both have the same obsession with their own beauty. He also complains when you damage his beautiful face, like certain other videogame narcissists. As for his robot, it has guns for breasts. This game is sick, it really is.


In a shocking turn of events, this battle scrolls downwards, not across! It's thrills and spills like that that make Battle Clash such an amazing title. I like this robot, though; it's just cool-looking all 'round. Although, it does bear a certain resemblance to various Eldar warmachines from the Warhammer 40,000 universe, especially in the leg region.


The pilot (see the top-right of the above picture) appears to be an evil robot version of John Denver:

A terrifying prospect indeed. The Schneider protects itself with some glowing orbs, so again, you have to shoot this robot in the balls. It also looks a bit like an Eldar vehicle.


Big, slow, tough and sterotypically Russian, the Ivan is a bit dull. He doesn't even slide around! The large square on the front opens up to conveniently reveal his weak spot. I've just noticed that he's got a smiley face: the two guns just under the big square are the eyes, the green strip is the mouth. That's another military idea that I think should be enforced: mandatory smiley faces for all death machines!


A mysterious masked man appears to challenge you! What is the name of this noble stranger? Surely something elegant, even regal. Oh no wait, he's called Eddie. His robot is the stealthy ninja type, a little mantis-esque, teleporting and creating fake copies to distract you (not that mantises can do those things). When you defeat him, you tell Eddie you think he was brainwashed, and he reacts with real nonchalance. Apparently losing control of his mind and being forced to commit evil deeds is something that just doesn't bother him, and that's the kind of apathy I can relate to.


My favourite of the lot, Baron is piloted by yet another mysterious masked man. Don't they know they'll ruin the mystique for eveyone if they all wear masks? At least his robot looks good, very reminiscent of anime like Patlabor. Also, you have to appreciate the chutzpah needed to paint your robot gold. It's a pretty bold statement. Baron also gets the best music, one assumes because he painted his robot gold:


The final boss. At first, he looks like a robot samurai. So far, pretty standard. Then you shoot him for a while and he turns into whatever this thing is supposed to be.

Honestly, I'm looking at it and I have no goddamn clue what's going on. Are the two bits at the front legs? They look like what I imagine a brain-damaged robot dinosaur would look like. The back region just appears to be spikes for spikes' sake. Maybe all those red dot are eyes and it's some kind of space-spider. Whatever he is, he is soon dispatched by the mighty power of the Super Scope, and the game is over. The end.

Battle Clash is short. Really, really short. It is fun while it lasts, but as it lasts about as long as one of my New Year's Resolutions, I can't really recommend it to you. If I did, you might feel compelled to try it out. That'd mean you'd have to use a Super Scope and that, my friends, is something I wouldn't inflict on anyone.

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