For those of you visiting this blog for the first time, the AA in the title stands for Arcade Appreciation. Arcade games are awesome, and there are a ton of them that never really get any love. Sand Scorpion? It deserves zero love. At best, I can muster up some slight apathy towards it, but most of the time it just fills me with hate.
What we have here is another STG that's loaded with bad ideas. Although, I won't discount the possibility that maybe the ideas were sound, but the implementation was just...balls. Yep, barely into the second paragraph, and I'm already referencing genitalia. What else can I say? This game is a joke. There are three main-weapons that can be picked up. However, if you grab the green one, you're in for a bad time. If you grab the red one? You'll have better luck surviving, if you put down the controller, and walk away. If you grab any weapon besides the blue one, then it's a life-costing mistake.
Sand Scorpion has destructible bullets. This was done with the intention of padding out boss-fights, I won't accept any other answer. These bullets are surprisingly durable, and will block shots meant for the boss that's firing them. After a long enough time, you're bound to get impatient, and then a little sloppy. This game also has the always-lovely enemies that fly in from behind. Why? Because of course it does.
Then there's the slowdown, which is some of the worst I've seen in an arcade shooter. At least the average Cave release has an excuse for everything moving at the speed of crawl. Sure, having the slowdown is helpful, but it seems more a result of bad programming than anything else. It's not really the game-changer that it could be, because the most devastating deaths, are going to come from collisions, or that one stray bullet.
Above all else, this is a shooter that really isn't all that challenging, but you simply aren't allowed to die. It's Darius 2 all over again. Look, all I'm saying is that if a game is going to give players a stock of lives, let alone extends/hidden 1ups, then allow them to be used. If you want players to beat the game without dying, give them an incentive, like a bonus trillion points or whatever. If you die in the second half of this game, you're finished. The enemy forces become overwhelming after a certain point, and your piddly level 1 cannons, they aren't going to make a difference. The bombs are generous, but dropping one has a slight delay to it (like Raiden or Twin Cobra). Sometimes you can grab an "S" power-up when you die, but all it adds is one level to your main-weapon and some missiles.
Sometimes I make the mistake of writing about a game, shortly after playing it. If I'm feeling especially heated, then I might find myself unfairly piling on the criticisms. The thing is, every time I think about this game, I get a little pissed off. A random person could hand me $10 million in cash, but if somebody in the vicinity just happens to say Sand Scorpion, then it's going to ruin my day.