Another “what the heck is this?” game for many, Tac/Scan is a vector graphics arcade game featuring a very cool space shooter mechanic: instead of having lives like most games, you control a fleet of ships shooting at various enemies in both a flat, standard vertical shooter configuration and a behind-the-ship 3d-like stage, as well as a “tunnel” stage where you have to keep your ships from hitting the edge. When one of your ships gets hit, that ship alone vanishes and you continue on with your fleet, just missing that one ship, and when all the ships you have are gone, it’s game over. You can occasionally get a ship back by “catching” a ship that flies down from the top of the screen into a valid position in your fleet, and add ships from your reserve (shown at the top of the screen).
It’s a nice variant of the standard space shooter genre, and again proof that back in the old days of gaming, they were not afraid to try something new. It’s one that I enjoy quite a lot.
Playing in mame is pretty intuitive, and the mouse is a fairly acceptable substitute for the dial controller, if a bit more wild at times, but again, I can’t get vector graphics to look quite right, and mame rightly warns before playing the game that the sound emulation for it isn’t quite right (many of the sound effects are a bit off). Still, it’s a solid experience.