I really wanted an excuse to come out with the gem ''Big Money, Big Prizes'' which you may realise is of course from the game Smash TV, a game I really love, I love it because basically it is based of the Arnie film The Running Man, which is not only a film I adore but is also based loosely of the book The Running Man which was written by Stephen King one of my favourite writers of all time. I don't own Smash TV though but I do however own its sequel Total Carnage. This used to happen a lot the whole lets make a film into a game but do it so loosely that we can get away without paying for any rights or fee's, Total Carnage doesnt do this however instead it has a story which feels like someone read and watched a whole bunch of random different things and then vomited up a story which was a mix of things. You have your big muscular Solider think Arnie again think Commando etcetera, your fighting a dangerous Dictator General Akhboob so your basic evil foreign sounding military figure from foreign sounding place in this case Kookistan, who is using his base to stockpile weapons and look for ways to conquer the world in this case by creating mutants. To be honest I find this sort of craziness pretty cool, games are supposed to be fun so a little nonsense now and then is very welcome in my books.
Now Total Carnage is for all intents and purposes a twin stick shooter just without the twin sticks. So if you have played the old arcade game Robotron or if your more of a modern gamer and you managed to play the fantastic Geometry wars then that's the kind of territory your in here. So how do you play a twin stick shooter on an old console like the SNES that only has one stick, well actually no sticks? Well the dpad works as the first stick ,moving your characters around the screen, and instead of having a second stick to control the direction you fire in the various directions are mapped to the X, Y, B and A buttons. This takes some getting used to especially if your used to games in which you always shoot in the direction you are facing in but if you keep playing then eventually it becomes second nature to you.
So you set out with what in video game weapon terms can best be described as a pea shooter to kill a whole arm of exploding mutants while you will die if you are so much as grazed by anything, yes there are various power ups but even with these this game is a darn hard game, only made slightly easier if you manage to find a friend to play with. I have to be totally honest when I say that the game will be found so hard by most people that it at times becomes more frustrating than fun, this is definitely a negative, I don't find the game completely UN-enjoyable but I wouldn't be surprised to find that some people do. If you relish a shooter which is a challenge though this could very well be the game for you, providing that you also find the games plot and presentation as B-Movie delicious as I do, this is very much a game for hardened gamers who don't mind being frustrated and who have there tongue very firmly in there cheek.
Its interesting to note that this game is another victim of Nintendo's family image, a lot of things are toned down from the arcade version, some of it is related to the on screen gore but then there is also some cuts made when it comes to the language used and some taming of plot related issues, for example your out to capture rather than kill the main villain, it doesn't really alter the game but its worth mentioning.
In general the game is not one that's going to change the world, there are not any truly original ideas here, the graphics are not the best you will see nor is the sound but the game has character and challenge going for it perhaps a little too much as far as challenge goes. I appreciate this game as a fun bit of something to pick up and play now and again but its not an all time classic or anything in fact I would have to give it a 6 out of 10, its not that I wouldn't recommend it its just that there are so many games I would say to get first. If you really wanted Total Carnage though well unless you got really lucky and found it for a bargain then you would be looking at around £15 for a cartridge which is not a bad price but I really do think that there are better games you can get for around this kind of figure.