Scramble Formation (aka Tokio)

Taito Classic Scramble Formation Hits Arcade Archives

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

Hamster’s Arcade Archives label has added Taito shooter Scramble Formation. The game is available to play on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Released in 1986, this 1941-style top down shooter pits you against enemy aircraft that you can capture. In North America, the game was known as Tokio.

Here’s the synopsis:

Pilot your phantom jet into battle, capturing enemy planes along the way to enable formation change.
Formations can be air-to-air, air-to-ground or a hybrid of the two, and matching these to counter the enemy is the key to victory!

While I don’t recall playing Scramble Formation/Tokio, the music is familiar to me. I’m guessing there was a cabinet of the game in a local arcade. A port was released on the MSX, but beyond that there are no other versions.

Of particular interest with Scramble Formation is the use of 1980s Tokyo as a backdrop. All the levels in the game use then-recognizable Tokyo locations, which at the time was quite unusual. (Even now, most games prefer to rely on fictional worlds, so this game is almost unique in that respect.)

Here’s a look at the Arcade Archives release:

Scramble Formation has been reissued relatively recently; it features in the library of the Taito Egret Mini II. This release features the usual Arcade Archives enhancements (difficulty settings, international high scores).

You can grab your copy now on Switch and PlayStation 4.

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About the author

Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine,, and other publications.

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