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scramble: MAME ROM Information.


Scramble (c) 1981 Konami.

Scramble is a sideways scrolling shoot-em-up in which a single player takes control of a spaceship and must try to fight through six different enemy-packed levels - destroying as many fuel tanks and ground intallations as possible - before reaching the enemy base and destroying it.

Contact with any scenery, ground installations, enemy ships or projectyles results in an instant loss of life. The Scramble ship is armed with both a blaster and bombs. The blaster is forward-firing only while the bombs drop downwards to target ground-based enemy installations and to collect fuel from fuel dumps.

The fuel dumps are of particular importance, as the player ship's fuel gauge constantly depletes as the player progresses through the game and the only way to re-fuel is by bombing the fuel tanks that are located on the ground throughout the levels. Fuel usage increases as the game progresses, until fuel usage actually outstrips the amount of fuel dumps available and the game becomes impossible.

Scramble is rightly considered to be a classic and was the world's first ever 'multi-level' shoot-em-up.


The Scramble cabinet was the same basic cabinet design that Stern used for all its games. It featured a monitor that was set back at a 45 degree angle, and a very large marquee that was angled towards the player. Most cabinets have straight up and down marquees, so Stern ones are easy to spot. This title features rather primitive painted sideart that only uses two colours, but it makes up for it with the impressive comic-book style art on the control panel and monitor bezel.

The marquee has a roundish 'Scramble' logo, with some sort of space castle in the background. The control panel is aluminium, and it has a mostly yellow design, with game instructions and a red ball-top 8-Way leaf switch joystick mounted centrally. It has fire buttons on both sides of the panel, so it can be played either left handed or right handed. The industry later forgot about lefties altogether and went completely right handed. Most of these machines were uprights, but there were several cocktail units made as well.

Game ID : GX387

Main CPU : Z80 (@ 3.072 Mhz)

Sound CPU : Z80 (@ 1.78975 Mhz)

Sound Chips : (2x) AY8910 (@ 1.78975 Mhz), (6x) RC (@ 1.78975 Mhz)

Players : 2

Control : 4-way joystick

Buttons : 2 (LASER, BOMB)


Released in February 1981.

Sometimes unfairly referred to as a 'poor man's Defender', Scramble was not only the world's first multi-level shoot-em-up, it was also the first of its type to feature a re-fueling system. These innovations helped to ensure that Scramble was a well deserved commercial success for Konami.

This game was the first title to use the 'Scramble Hardware', which was later used for "Super Cobra", "Lost Tomb", "The End" and a number of other titles. Many of these titles were actually bootlegs of other games, such as Namco's "Pac-Man". This was because Konami neglected to give Scramble ANY copy protection whatsoever; making it incredibly easy to run just about anything that used a Z80 processor, which, at the time, was pretty much every game out there. There were, of course, a lot of Bootleg copies of Scramble itself floating around, such as "Explorer" or "Strafe Bomb".

Scramble is considered the first in the "Gradius" series according to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance "Gradius Galaxies" intro sequence.

This game had a Bulgarian bootleg called "Memory Devices Facility" ("???" or "????? ?? ???????????? ??????????").

A Scramble unit appears in the 1983 movie 'Joysticks'.


10 points per second of flying.

Missile on ground : 50 points

Missile in air : 80 points

UFO : 100 points

Fuel Tank : 150 points

Mystery Base : 100, 200, or 300 points

Main Base : 800 points


A) Always watch what passes below you as you fly, especially in Sectors One through Four.

B) Ignore the 10 points added to your score every second : you want to finish each round quickly, because running out of fuel is bad news.

Try also to hit as many fuel tanks as you can, even in preference to mystery bases. One hundred and fifty points plus fuel is more desirable than an average mystery score of 200 points.

C) When you fuel gets low, the rule is to ignore everything but speed survival, and getting more fuel.

D) In Sector One, fly close to the ground. Your object should be scoring points rather than precise maneuvering, so keep in mind just a few simple rules :

1. Fly slowly only when you must to destroy a rich cluster of targets.

2. Release a couple of bombs just as you top each mountain, then descend quickly into the valley.

3. Once there, shoot any threatening rockets by slowing down for a second and using your laser. Descend to the lowest plateau at the earliest opportunity, shooting lasers constantly to clear your path of targets.

4. Rise with the terrain, using your laser against targets in the foothills, and go all the way up only when the next mountain forces you to.

5. After the last mountain, be prepared for the UFOs.

E) Through Sector Two, simply fly relatively low at medium speed, pressing LASER and BOMB constantly. The laser shots will take care of almost all the UFOs in your way. If one or two survive until you reach them, shift to full speed until you pass them, dodging vertically if necessary.

Try to time the release of your bombs so that they hit fuel tanks, compensating for your middling speed.

F) Don't try to stay alive among the fireballs. Staying below them makes sense for two reasons - you keep your jet, and you even have a chance to pick up some points from the sparse targets below.

As for making if from valley to valley, just go where the fireballs aren't. Fly quickly through each valley, then stop just before you leave shelter. Wait there until a fireball passes just over you; then chances are that you will have a second in which to duck swiftly over and into the next valley. You will find there is definitely a rhythm to it.

G) If you fly through the city too fast, you might not be able to react in time to a juicy cluster of targets or to a rocket rising in your path. Fly at medium speed, lasering and bombing for all you are worth, especially at rockets in front of you and fuel tanks beneath you.

When you fly over silos too deep for your bombs to penetrate, accelerate for a moment in case the rockets suddenly take off toward your underside.

Treat a low roof just as you would a Sector One valley; descend and laser the row of targets into oblivion. Be careful, though, when reascending; the rises here are much more abrupt than Sector One.

H) Without excellent vertical control, you will never make it through Sector Five. Blasting away the fuel tanks blocking your path is vital, but requires much less of your concentration than does piloting the jet through such a tortuous maze.

As soon as you emerge from a passageway, stop. Then move up or down, whichever you need, as far as you can until the screen catches up with you and pushes you forward. Keep the joystick to the left; while the screen propels you, you should have time to find just the right height for entering the next passage.

Once you are in the next passage, speed up right away, giving yourself a head start for the next cavern; you will have to stop once again when you enter it. The cycle requires concentration even once you know the rhythm.

Sometimes, you will enter a cavern at top left and need to leave it through a passage at bottom right, but fuel tanks will block the mouth of the passage, cluttering even the cavern floor. If you are worried about crashing into these tanks from above before you have a chance to laser them, just drop a couple of bombs at the right moment in your descent. The tanks will stand in your way no longer.

I) Once you know its secrets, the base may actually be slightly easier than Sector Five. To destroy the enemy octagon, all you have to do is gun your engine before you enter its canyon, then pull sharply down and back, and nose up to it. If you are on its level, fire your laser; if just above, drop a bomb. You will destroy the base.

You will also crash your own ship, but no matter : you will start the next round with a free replacement. Most players are afraid of crashing, so they fly too high for their bombs to have any hope of reaching the base. Eventually, they crash or run out of fuel.

J) By now, you have probably realized the one step essential to mastering SCRAMBLE; memorization. Since the pattern repeats itself every round, being prepared for upcoming opportunities and dangers is what the game is about.


1. Scramble (1981)

2. Super Cobra (1981)


* Consoles :

GCE Vectrex (1982)

Sony PlayStation (1999, "Konami Arcade Classics")

Nintendo Game Boy Advance [NA] (Mar.2002, Konami Collectors Series - Arcade Advanced)

Nintendo Game Boy Advance [JP] (May.2002, Konami Collectors Series - Arcade Advanced)

Nintendo Game Boy Advance [EU] (Jun.2002, Konami Collectors Series - Arcade Classics)

Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "Oretachi Geasen Zoku Sono 1 - Scramble")

Microsoft XBOX 360 (2006) : as a downloadable Live Arcade game.

Nintendo DS [JP] (Mar.2007, Konami Arcade Collection)

Nintendo DS [NA] (Mar.2007, Konami Classics Series - Arcade Hits)

Nintendo DS [EU] (Oct.2007, Konami Arcade Classics)

Nintendo DS [AU] (Oct.2007, Konami Arcade Classics)

* Computers :

BBC B (1982, "Rocket Raid" - Acornsoft)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1982, "Penetrator" - Melbourne House)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1983, "Cavern Fighter" - Bug-Byte)

Tandy Color Computer (1983, "Skramble")

Commodore C64 (1983, "Skramble")

Commodore C64 (1984, "Penetrator" - Melbourne House)

* Others :

VFD portable game (1982 - Tomy)

VFD portable game (1982, "Rambler", German version - Tomy)

VFD portable game (1982, "Astro Blaster", Hales UK version - Tomy)

Konami Arcade Advanced Plug 'n Play TV Game (2004 - Majesco)


Game's rom.

Machine's picture.

F.A.Q. by Kevin Butler A.K.A. War Doc

MAME Info:

0.35b8 [Zsolt Vasvari]

0.06 [Nicola Salmoria]

Artwork available


- 0.141u1: Roberto Fresca, Team Europe and Hal9k added clone Scramble (bootleg?).

- 20th January 2011: Roberto Fresca - Team Europe and Hal9K dumped a new clone of Scramble. Seems to be bootleg, but not 100% sure, since they have only the eproms. Not the PCB. Here some snaps.

- 0.138u1: Changed description of clone 'Scramble (Stern)' to 'Scramble (Stern Electronics)'.

- 0.136u3: Stephane Humbert fixed dipswitches and inputs (after verification of the Z80 code) for clones Scramble (bootleg on Galaxian hardware) and Scramble (bootleg). Changed description of clone 'Scramble (Galaxian hardware)' to 'Scramble (bootleg on Galaxian hardware)'.

- 0.135: Joachim Bassmann added clone Scramble (Karateko, French bootleg).

- 25th October 2009: Smitdogg - Joachim Bassmann dumped a French bootleg of Scramble. I attached a bunch of pics of it running.

- 0.133u5: Couriersud fixed missing sound in clone Explorer.

- 0.133u1: Renamed (scrambls) to (scrambles).

- 0.129u6: Scramble now is a lot closer to reports and recordings (background sound, sound of bullets) [Couriersud].

- 0.124u1: Replaced 4x RC Filter sound with Discrete. Changed visible area to 224x768 and palettesize to 32 colors.

- 0.122u7: RansAckeR verified DIP locations from manuals for Scramble.

- 0.122u5: Couriersud fixed flipped tilemap offset for Scramble and clones (playable cocktail mode).

- 0.119u1: David Haywood added clone Scramble (bootleg).

- 0.116u1: Mark McDougall updated the protection implementation in Scramble (Stern) to use equations based on the implementation from fpgaarcade.com.

- 0.100u4: Hans Andersson added filters back into the Scramble driver. Added 6x RC Filter to Scramble and Scramble (Stern).

- 0.96u3: Pierpaolo Prazzoli improved sound in clone Explorer.

- 11th April 2005: f205v dumped Scramble (bootleg).

- 0.88u5: Thierry Lescot fixed rom filenames in Scramble.

- 0.78u5: Pierpaolo Prazzoli added clone Strafe Bomb (Omni 1981).

- 0.74: Pierpaolo Prazzoli added clone Explorer (bootleg 1981). TODO: Check these 3 bootlegs are worth supporting, if not remove them.

- 8th September 2003: Pierpaolo Prazzoli re-added Explorer (a Scramble bootleg) with sound.

- 26th April 2003: smf added a bootleg Scramble called Explorer to the Scramble driver, though sound does not work yet in it.

- 0.63: Changed description of clone 'Scramble (bootleg on Galaxian hardware)' to 'Scramble (Galaxian hardware)'.

- 0.53: Changed palettesize to 99 colors.

- 1st June 2001: Zsolt Vasvari fixed the Galaxian / Scramble starfield graphics emulation.

- 31st May 1999: Zsolt Vasvari made the Galaxian/Scramble hardware games multi-session friendly.

- 0.35b8: Changed clone 'Scramble (Konami)' to parent 'Scramble'. Renamed (scramble) to (scrambls) and (scramblk) to (scramble).

- 0.35b7: Changed description of clone 'Scramble (bootleg)' to '(bootleg on Galaxian hardware)'.

- 0.35b6: Zsolt Vasvari added clones Scramble (Konami) and Scramble (bootleg). Changed parent description to 'Scramble (Stern)'.

- 10th March 1999: Zsolt Vasvari added two clones Scramble (a Konami version and a bootleg).

- 0.34b1: Added color prom.

- 0.30: Appropriate blue background in Scramble, Super Cobra and other games running on the same hardware [Mike Coates]. Frank Palazzolo fixed music tempo in Scramble.

- 0.28: Merged mooncrst, moonqsr and scramble vidhrdw into the new Galaxian driver [Nicola Salmoria]. Mike Balfour added high score saving to Scramble.

- 0.15: Sound support in Scramble [Nicola Salmoria]. I discovered that the garbled sound I experienced in Scramble was caused by a bad ROM. Therefore, if sound doesn't work, check your ROM set. Note that I also changed one ROM name from "2c" to "2d". All these require -frameskip 1 on my 486/100. I have no idea how accurate the tempo and pitch is. If you can compare it with a real machine, please let me know what's wrong.

- 0.12: Set up the second CPU to emulate sound in Scramble [Nicola Salmoria], but the sound that comes out is completely wrong. I don't know what I'm missing, anyone can help? The background stars in Scramble / Super Cobra now blink. However I don't know how close to the real thing it is. Known issues: The star background is probably not entirely accurate. Also, maybe it should be clipped at the top and bottom of the screen? Added audiocpu roms 5c, 5d and 5e ($0, 800, 1000).

- 0.07: Scramble has 100% correct colors. The same palette is used by Super Cobra, but it doesn't look right [Nicola Salmoria].

- 0.06: Nicola Salmoria added Scramble (Stern 1981). Game is playable with wrong colors and no sound. Control: Arrows = Move around CTRL = Fire and ALT = Bomb. The video hardware is very similar to Galaxians, main differences being that bullets are not vertical lines and the star background doesn't scroll. Known issues: The background stars don't blink. Maybe it should also be clipped to the top and bottom of the screen? Two players mode doesn't work.


Other Emulators:

* CottAGE

* FB Alpha

* GalEMU

* HiVE


* Retrocade

* Sparcade

* Tickle


Recommended Games (Defender):





Cosmic Avenger


The Percussor


4 Fun in 1 (Scramble)

Space Odyssey



A. D. 2083





Darius II

Darius Gaiden - Silver Hawk

Fantasy Zone

Fantasy Zone (Mega-Tech)

Fantasy Zone 2

Alpha One

Back Fire

Thunder Cross

Thunder Cross II


Mega Blast

Air Buster

Arrow Flash (Mega-Tech)

Bio-ship Paladin


ThunderForce AC

Thunder Force II MD (Mega-Tech)

Cosmic Cop

E.D.F. : Earth Defense Force

Metal Black

Strike Force


Andro Dunos

Last Resort


Blazing Star

Romset: 27 kb / 14 files / 15.0 zip

MAME XML Output:

       <game name="scramble" sourcefile="galdrvr.c">
              <rom name="s1.2d" size="2048" crc="ea35ccaa" sha1="1dcb375987fe21e0483c27d485c405de53848d61" region="maincpu" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="s2.2e" size="2048" crc="e7bba1b3" sha1="240877576045fddcc9ff01d97dc78139454ac4f1" region="maincpu" offset="800"/>
              <rom name="s3.2f" size="2048" crc="12d7fc3e" sha1="a84d191c7be8700f630a83ddad798be9e83b5d55" region="maincpu" offset="1000"/>
              <rom name="s4.2h" size="2048" crc="b59360eb" sha1="5d155808c19dcf2e14aa8e29c0ee41a6d3d3c43a" region="maincpu" offset="1800"/>
              <rom name="s5.2j" size="2048" crc="4919a91c" sha1="9cb5861c61e4783e5fbaa3869d51195f127b1129" region="maincpu" offset="2000"/>
              <rom name="s6.2l" size="2048" crc="26a4547b" sha1="67c0fa81729370631647b5d78bb5a61433facd7f" region="maincpu" offset="2800"/>
              <rom name="s7.2m" size="2048" crc="0bb49470" sha1="05a6fe3010c2136284ca76352dac147797c79778" region="maincpu" offset="3000"/>
              <rom name="s8.2p" size="2048" crc="6a5740e5" sha1="e3b09141cee26857d626412e9d1a0e759469b97a" region="maincpu" offset="3800"/>
              <rom name="ot1.5c" size="2048" crc="bcd297f0" sha1="8ed78487d76fd0a917ab7b258937a46e2cd9800c" region="audiocpu" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="ot2.5d" size="2048" crc="de7912da" sha1="8558b4eff5d7e63029b325edef9914feda5834c3" region="audiocpu" offset="800"/>
              <rom name="ot3.5e" size="2048" crc="ba2fa933" sha1="1f976d8595706730e29f93027e7ab4620075c078" region="audiocpu" offset="1000"/>
              <rom name="c2.5f" size="2048" crc="4708845b" sha1="a8b1ad19a95a9d35050a2ab7194cc96fc5afcdc9" region="gfx1" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="c1.5h" size="2048" crc="11fd2887" sha1="69844e48bb4d372cac7ae83c953df573c7ecbb7f" region="gfx1" offset="800"/>
              <rom name="c01s.6e" size="32" crc="4e3caeab" sha1="a25083c3e36d28afdefe4af6e6d4f3155e303625" region="proms" offset="0"/>
              <chip type="cpu" tag="maincpu" name="Z80" clock="3072000"/>
              <chip type="cpu" tag="audiocpu" name="Z80" clock="1789750"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="mono" name="Speaker"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="8910.0" name="AY-3-8910A" clock="1789750"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="8910.1" name="AY-3-8910A" clock="1789750"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="konami" name="DISCRETE"/>
              <display tag="screen" type="raster" rotate="90" width="768" height="224" refresh="60.606061" pixclock="18432000" htotal="1152" hbend="0" hbstart="768" vtotal="264" vbend="16" vbstart="240" />
              <sound channels="1"/>
              <input players="2" buttons="2" coins="2">
                     <control type="joy" ways="8"/>
              <dipswitch name="Lives" tag="IN1" mask="3">
                     <dipvalue name="3" value="0" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="4" value="1"/>
                     <dipvalue name="5" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="255 (Cheat)" value="3"/>
              <dipswitch name="Coinage" tag="IN2" mask="6">
                     <dipvalue name="A 1/1 B 2/1 C 1/1" value="0" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="A 1/2 B 1/1 C 1/2" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="A 1/3 B 3/1 C 1/3" value="4"/>
                     <dipvalue name="A 1/4 B 4/1 C 1/4" value="6"/>
              <dipswitch name="Cabinet" tag="IN2" mask="8">
                     <dipvalue name="Upright" value="0" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Cocktail" value="8"/>
              <driver status="good" emulation="good" color="good" sound="good" graphic="good" savestate="supported" palettesize="32"/>

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