In the last Scud comic I read, our favorite vending machine assassin rode a motorcycle, kissed a girl, and attended a wedding. In Scud: Industrial Evolution he does none of those things. The latest in Scud ware is a well-animated top-down arcade-style shooter tailored more for fans of the comic than PC game fanatics. If nothing else, SegaSoft has successfully researched the Scud fan market because the game is affordable, comes with a coupon for a free gamepad, and hooks up to Heat.Net for free multiplayer games over the Internet. It is a perfect fit for people who spend their cash on comics instead of computer gear. While the game is rich in the deadly arcade-style ethos of old (featuring continues and passwords in lieu of a save-game feature), Scud: Industrial Evolution fails to emulate the blurry action and sarcastic morbid witticisms of its pulp companion.
Each level is an obstacle course. You control Scud with the objective of locating a target creature located somewhere on the level. Finding a target and successfully leading it to a to portal advances Scud onto the next mission. It's a repetitive dirge that gets old quick. Keeping in tradition with the comic, killing a target also kills Scud himself. Scud is a fragile hero in this game. It pays to use Scud's exceptional speed to run past, instead of engage, the wide array of enemies found on any given level. Additionally, none of the glitchy modes of control allows you to maneuver Scud well under heavy fire. Aside from the gummy control, the game plays fast and smooth on a Pentium 133 with 16 MB of RAM.
The sounds are crisp even on a 16-bit sound card, allowing high fidelity transmission of the highly repetitive dinosaur of a techno soundtrack. Even on a crippled video card the game looks great. The cartoonish and macabre character of the art is a strong point: Carousels throw toy cars at you, fun-house rides are tricked out with giant skulls on the front, and little Scudco workers scurry about bouncing into things. There's an attempt at Earthwork Jim-style camp, but it doesn't work. The end result is a generic shooter, thinly veiled by its use of an inventive comic series.