1_1SCARAB attempts to mix the first-person shooter action of Powerslave with the play of Mechwarrior 2, and even adds a touch of resource management. You command three styles of mechs, modeled after the Egyptian gods Anubis, Sekhmet, and Horus, each with their different strengths and weaknesses. To win against Osiris’ collection of robots, you can either nuke them three times in a row, or you can strategically position Towers of Ra. If you correctly place enough of these towers, a clock begins to count down, and if you’re still alive by the time it reaches zero, you win the mission.

As you play from a first-person, Doom-style perspective, you’re assisted by a ship that flies overhead and drops goodies onto the battlefield at your request. Smoke bombs, mortars, x-ray vision, and plenty of other weapons are available — but be sure to snatch them up before your opponent does, since equipment add-ons are usable by both warring factions. Floating ankhs also populate the wargrounds. These can grant you healing, or can set off a stupendous explosion if hit with weapon fire.

The control is a mixed bag; you’re better off with a keyboard and mouse than the recommended joystick control. One detestable blunder involves the pinpoint firing scheme — when you aim high on the screen, there’s a jerky, disorienting shift as the view realigns itself a few inches up. Another minor annoyance is the inability to pinpoint fire when moving — you’re only able to fire straight forward when on the run.

As a singleplayer game, SCARAB is lifeless. The challenge of competing against a single faceless computer opponent isn’t very fulfilling — especially since we all started playing multi-player Doom a few years ago. Many of the simple one-on-one, slow-paced deathmatches can go for minutes without visual contact between the two players, and makes SCARAB feel like a waiting game. Multiplayer has more potential, but it’s still nowhere near as entertaining as more established classics like Doom or Mechwarrior 2 – both of which do their own thing with much more grace.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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