The Scheme

NEC PC-8801 Series disk. published 33 years ago by Bothtec, Inc.

The Scheme screenshot

Listed and emulated in MAME.

The Scheme © 1988 Bothtec, Inc.

The inhabitants of the planet Rhea are being terrorized by a mysterious organization known as Hell Stones. To save his people, the king of Rhea himself steps out of his palace in order to single-handedly avert the threat.

The Scheme is an action game with role-playing and light platforming elements. The player controls the king as he explores vast outdoor and indoor environments. While some locations are simple side-scrolling areas, others are built like large mazes with platforming segments - the king has to jump on platforms to access certain areas or avoid enemy attacks; however, he doesn't take falling damage. Enemies respawn after the protagonist leaves the screen and returns. The king shoots energy orbs at the enemies; their type can be changed and upgraded as the game advances.

The role-playing element is present in levels and character development. Enemies leave two kinds of power-ups upon defeat: life-restoring and force-increasing, the latter being roughly equivalent to experience points. Leveling up occurs after accumulating certain amounts of these power-ups, increasing the main character's hit points. It is often required to level up in order to be able to access areas with harder enemies or defeat bosses.

Goodies for The Scheme
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Released on August 09, 1988 in Japan.

The Scheme is one of the more obscure works of one of the more famous video game composers, Yuzo Koshiro. Because the game was released during a time period where PC88 sound development was moving off of the OPN chip (YM2203) and onto the new OPNA chip (YM2608), The Scheme had to have two versions of its soundtrack in order for people who still had older models to enjoy the game to its fullest. Instead of simply upgrading the OPN soundtrack for the OPNA version, Yuzo Koshiro composed two completely different soundtracks that both are outstanding even on their own. Even the two songs that are shared, Death World and The Force Rotted Away, are completely different between the two. Just goes to show that even though one chip may be more advanced, it doesn't automatically make it better than the outdated one.

There are two sound tests in the game: a normal one for the YM2203 soundtrack (which also has unused music) and a secret 80 Tunes Mode sound test that is made entirely of original songs from mostly unknown composers, who are Onion, God, C.A Taeam, and Shinobu Hayashi. The YM2203 sound test uses completely different names for some of the tracks as compared to the physical soundtrack release. The YM2608 soundtrack does not seem to have a sound test at all.


Game's Floppy Disk.