Sunday, 20 November 2011

Retro Review: Smash TV


Originally released as an arcade game in 1990, Smash TV has since been ported onto the SNESPlaystationXbox and Xbox 360

The game borrowed heavily from the themes in the film Running Man, and involves players competing in a heavily violent game show, set in the then future of 1999. Players make their way through a variety of rooms, where they must defeat a swarm of enemies in each room before they are allowed to progress. New weapons, power up items and bonus prizes drop throughout, which the player must try to collect at the same time as defeating enemies from each side of the room. 
One of the Boss battles
Boss fights crop up after a set amount of levels, which can all be defeated by simply firing constantly at them. Smash TV's gameplay is actually extremely challenging. Enemies come in the form of frantic hordes which can easily smother you if you do not keep the quota down in due time. The original version of the game, and the SNES port does not allow for continues, so expect to see yourself dying and re-trying from the beginning of the game an awful lot. The later ports are much more forgiving, and allow for either a set amount of lives, or an unlimited amount. This makes the game far less challenging, but the enjoyment factor is definitely still there.

Smash TV is a highly entertaining but very challenging game. The enemy types are varied and add a new challenge (eg. one enemy type explodes, spreading shrapnel in all directions), but the gameplay is pretty much the same throughout. Each level reminds you to avoid shrapnel,bombs and enemy attacks, whilst gunning down the substantial amount of enemies. Progress to the end, beat a boss, and claim your cash prize!
"Good luck...you'll need it!"
Smash TV allowed for a multi-player gaming experience, and this is where the fun most definitely comes in. Going in with another player helps to prevent you from dying so much. Players can co-operate on each level, in the sense that they are lightening the enemy load between them, but the competition lies in how many bonus items they can pick up, and ultimately, how many enemies they  shoot down.

The games graphics are very impressive, and I feel that they still hold up in today. The game show setting is vibrant and grand-looking, and the developers have really created some intriguing looking boss characters. One thing I distinctly remember about Smash TV is the music. The tv show theme music is catchy, and really adds to the exciting atmosphere created in the TV studio design. The dialogue borrows lines from the 1987 film RoboCop, thus acting as some sort of slight homage to this popular movie. My only criticism is that looking back on this game now, the music and dialogue seem a little muffled in comparison to the sound effects. However, this is only a minor observation, and does not dampen the games enjoyment.
Overall, Smash TV is a hugely memorable game. The game has a very high difficulty, which was probably done to not only give some sort of challenge to more experienced gamers, but I guess to encourage them to keep pumping coins into the arcade machine. Smash TV is much more enjoyable when played with a second player, as competing against another player for the highest winnings seems, at least to myself, more fulfilling than shooting through it solo. Smash TV is definitely a classic that I still like to play through. With a wingman, that is. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I remember playing this brilliant Robotron re-imagining in the arcades. A fantastic game, in which Eugene Jarvis outdid himself and his Robotron achievement.

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