Rodrigo Testa’s new game Scavenger feels the most like an actual NES game out of all 8 NES FAN Game Jam entries. Testa has some experience with simulated retro authenticity, being the developer behind the Strider-inspired Cataegis – The White Wind. Both of these games feel like emulated NES ROMs. While Cataegis is still in development, Scavenger is a complete experience, and a remarkably rich one considering its short development cycle.
Scavenger doesn’t just look and sound like a great NES game; it plays like one, as well. The difficulty level eases you in but ramps up quickly, then stays high but fair. This is more puzzle than action game, and you need to move deliberately in order to complete each level while maximizing your score and minimizing your number of lives lost. Scavenger plays like a darker, cooler version of the classic game H.E.R.O. Equipped with a jetpack, bombs, and a gun, you explore the blasted tunnels of an underground biotech research facility and try to rescue the people trapped there.
Use the arrow keys to fly or walk around, and the Z key to fire your weapon. If you press down while standing on solid ground, you will drop a bomb, which will explode shortly thereafter. Your gun will dispatch most of the biomechanical horrors that get in your way, and your bombs will take out the rest. The primary function of bombs, of course, is to blow up walls (they only work on the thin ones). You have a limited amount of explosives which only replenish between levels, but you have an unlimited supply of ammo and jetpack fuel. However, your time in any one level is limited by your slowly diminishing oxygen supply. You also have a limited number of precious lives (which I initially mistook for hit points). These don’t replenish, but you can thankfully save your progress between levels.
Unfortunately not available as an NES cartridge, you can get Scavenger as free download for Windows.