Saturday, December 10, 2011


Posting for 12/4.

Abandonware. Heard of it? It's software property that's been discontinued by the company that created it, or for which copyright ownership is unclear for some reason. Usually this is because the project fell into development hell and nobody wants to touch it because it is such a mess. Often ownership rights actually do exist but most of those owners don't care enough to act on them, hence the term: abandonware.

Today I want to bring your attention to a particular piece of abandonware, a PC game from the late 90s known as SKRAP, created by Neuronware Entertainment.

Only two things were ever created for this game: a demo and a single full page ad in PC Gamer magazine.

The setting: A post-industrial wasteland. Corporations Evil corporations have completely taken over the world. You are a member of a group of rebels who have recently stolen two pieces of state-of-the-art tech that may very well be the keys to toppling this inhuman regime: a mobile weapon/vehicle factory and a helicopter.

The factory looks sorta like this, the Sandcrawler of the Jawas.
You play as the pilot of the helicopter. You have a Vulcan cannon machine gun and rockets which you could upgrade to particle cannons later on. You could command the factory to produce tanks by pressing '1'. The tanks were fairly weak but they were cheap and could fire at both air and ground targets. Pressing '2' produced monster truck looking cars that cost more and could only fire at ground targets but had sturdier armor. Pressing '0' commanded the factory to send out a fuel truck that served as a suicide bomb. Oh, I should mention that the object of each level of the demo was the same. Your base started at one end of a winding road and at the other was an enemy base. The enemy base periodically sends out tanks and occasionally a helicopter. You simply had to blow up the enemy base. Usually, you accomplished this Wait. I'll just assume that I'm one of maaaaybe three people on the entire planet that even remember setting eyes on this product. Usually, I accomplished the mission by sending out waves of tanks that would eventually make their way to the front door of the enemy base. The enemy tanks and choppers are always stronger than yours so you have to play escort and/or advance scout. Once you all make it to the enemy base the tanks sit there, shooting anyone that comes out. The tanks and your chopper don't have enough firepower to destroy the base by yourselves. For that you have to decide when to send a fuel truck. It drives all the way up the winding road and into the gaping black entrance of the base and blows up. Level Clear!!!

On the other hand, there's a zeppelin that circles every level with a trailing advertisement like the Goodyear blimp. If you shot it down at the right time, the blimp would descend and explode on the base serving as a substitute fuel truck! It was a gamble, though. If you spent too much time running around the level looking for the dirigible the enemy tanks and helos would smash through your own waves of vehicles and shoot up your factory base. Unfortunately, the factory's armor is not impervious to their tank and copter fire. Also they like to send out fuel trucks with every wave so you have to be careful about that.

This game demo was hard. I mean, I was the only one who played it. Oh, haha, maybe I should explain. Those three people I mentioned? Yeah, that would be me, my brother and my sister. My sister probably doesn't remember it. It was too hard for her. My brother might remember it, but he didn't play it much either. I'm the only one who played til the finish.

I liked it. To this day, I still think about it sometimes. It's like that fad-based fast food sandwich that got discontinued years ago. It may not have been the best, but there isn't and has never been anything quite like it since.


By the way, that fileplanet link should work. As for being able to play the game  demo itself? You might have to dig out an old computer running Windows 98 to accomplish that.