Have You Played… Dark Scavenger

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Dark Scavenger is an odd game and it necessitated a very odd Wot I Think. I’ve encountered all sorts of strange creations during the few years I’ve been writing for RPS and many slip out of my mind quicker than a greased pig at a country fair. This bizarre ‘turn-based point and click adventure’ has stayed with me though. I said at the time that it would have been a cult classic had it been released on the Amiga back in the day and as time goes by, I’m convinced that it deserves cult classic status right now. Deliriously imaginative, it’s quite unlike anything else I’ve played before or since.

How to explain Dark Scavenger? I played it almost two and a half years ago and the details are fuzzy. I remember a crazed alien licking my face and creating a weapon that was capable of destroying entire worlds. I think I used it to kill a slug.

That may not be entirely accurate but that’s the sort of thing that would happen in the game. The challenge is to survive turn-based combat, which is reminiscent of JRPG systems, but the joy is in the discovery of strange items and locations, and exploring every textual interaction that occurs when characters tinker with the objects that you share between them. Here’s what happened when I found a toaster.

Will you give the toaster to the skeleton, who will probably craft some sort of electricity-based weapon from it? The mad joker in the business suit often won’t tell you what his plans are, he’ll just lick your face or say something like “with that I could probably make an item that doesn’t want to be an item”. Because he has no mouth, the sombre alien who provides allies will attempt to mime the sort of creature an item will allow him to summon to your side. I’ve seen him flap his arms as if attempting to fly, adopt various seductive poses and claw maniacally at his own face.

Actually, that’s not what happened at all, is it? But it’s as close to sense as you’re likely to find here. Dark Scavenger is delightful nonsense and highly recommended for anyone who requires a break from the grayscale of life. Or, indeed, the rest of their gaming library.

6 Comments

  1. jalf says:

    I picked it up recently, along with Long Live the Queen. I haven’t regretted either purchase.

    Dark Scavenger really was something unique and fascinating.

  2. LTK says:

    I was in the process of playing this when I accidentally deleted my saved games: in the DRM-free version, they’re saved in your browser cookies. I have no intention of going back to it, but I remember it very fondly, it’s very worth playing. Building up your arsenal of wacky devices is entertaining enough, but the writing in the rest of it is good too.

  3. twaitsfan says:

    In a twist (for me) as odd as Dark Scavenger itself, I started the game last night. DS is a fun little romp.

    Thanks Universe!

  4. Hypnotron says:

    Greased pigs slip out of your mind? You should definitely stay away from country fairs.

  5. durns says:

    Wuh?

  6. Oozo says:

    It still has my favourite weapon in a game ever, the telescop dentist’s drill. It is highly efficient on all enemies with open mouths. And where this is coming from, there is so much, much more.

    Honestly, it’s a game that is not only bonkers in the best possible way, it creates something new in the mechanic departement, too, and it works really well. That is so beyond rare, it’s something to be treasured.

    Also, it recently found its way to Steam — you really should give it a try.