Towards the end of 2004 we saw an absolute bevy of platform titles released to the market. Most came from established franchises and didn't change too much of an already winning formula but because of this, the genre did not offer much innovation. Scaler is a game that most people would have ignored because of the Ratchet and Clanks and Jak 3 games but in comparison it offers much more innovation, some fantastic gameplay and is about one third the price. Scaler is one of the better platform games from recent times and it's hard to ignore at its budget price.
Scaler tells the story of a young lad named Bobby Jenkins. Bobby Jenkins happens to stumble across his neighbours plot to unleash mutant lizards to take over the world. Upon discovering this, he is caught by the neighbour and to make sure the plot does not become public knowledge, he zaps Bobby turning him into Scaler, a creature which may look like a lizard but can turn into a number of different creatures as you will discover throughout the game.
Scaler is very much on the surface your typical platform game with a few bells and whistles thrown in, but to keep it in that category after extended periods of play, is to do the game no justice whatsoever. It can at times seem a bit like a 'collect this, collect that' style game but the way it plays out is not overly repetitive and the storyline adds quite a bit of humor. Before too long in the game you come across another wise cracking lizard named Leon. He is the one that delves out the mission goals to you and once they are completed you move onto the next world.
There are a few things that differentiate scaler from the other platform titles on the market. The first is that the level design is extremely well done and there is a lot of fun things to do in each level. Bobby as scaler can 'surf' vines which is one of the main mechanics of the game and while after the first few times the novelty may wear off, it does off a quick route of transportation. Another thing about the game is that it gives you the whole map of the area with details such as where you are and where you need to go making it next to impossible to get stuck in the game.
However the biggest unique feature is the way Scaler can turn into a variety of creatures. You don't get this ability right away but eventually Scaler comes across the power to turn into a variety of enemies. One by one the abilities are added and when you become these enemies you gain their special abilities such as the Bakudan who can throw exploding balls or the Fruzar character who can snipe enemies from a distance. This is really what makes the game interesting and gives the game some element of strategy. Also Scaler himself has a number of abilities associated with being a Chamaleon such as being able to climb, the aforementioned surf on vines and one of the chameleons most famous traits, the ability to camouflage against any environment. For a budget game you would expect it to be short and lacking features but Scaler proves this theory to be wrong. The fact is you will probably find a wider variety of enemies in this game, then you would in a full priced title.
The game is split across fifteen worlds, and each world represents one level. The game is open ended meaning you can go anywhere in the current world without restriction before completing the goal. The main task of the game is to save some eggs before they turn into mutants but there is much more to see and do in the game aside from this.
One of the most impressive aspects of the title especially given its budget price is the graphics and draw distance. The graphics are highly detailed and there is no pop up to be seen giving the game a very seamless feel between the large areas which make up each world you play in. The voice acting is also well done and the soundtrack doesn't have an impact on the game, its not noticeable.
Scaler is a game that should be played by platform fans just to check out how good it is. The consensus unfortunately will be that this game is not great because it's budget priced but Globalstar have definitely bucked the trend and produced a quality platform, one that deserves to be called one of the best of 2004.
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