Monday, 19 June 2017

SNES Review 123: Smash TV

Nine reviews or so ago while reviewing Total Carnage I said the following ''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''.

Well I guess when I said that I was kind of tempting fate as I recently walked in to a local indy store and they had a Pal cartridge only copy of Smash TV and were asking £12 for it. Now this is going to sound kind of silly but I remember back when I was a kid everyone owned Smash TV and you just couldnt get rid of it, the thing was practically worthless, the kind of worthless were if you tried to trade it in for another game it would only get you about £3 of that game so really you were better off keeping it just incase you ever might just possibly one day want to play it again, so I have no idea how when or why I got rid of my original copy, but knowing me I got a good deal for it. The funny thing is though despite liking this game I havent brought a copy while I have been collecting because I just havent seen it for a low price, even £12 seemed to much for me but I managed to talk them down to £10 so I ended up buying it.

Ok so in both my Total Carange review and the above quote from it I have set the scene as far as this games story goes, so just to quickly recap the story is that your a contestant on a game show where they are trying to kill you and if you can survive and kill the enemies then you get money and you can win toasters and cars and stuff. Smash Tv was originally an arcade game in 1990, which found itself ported to the Megadrive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear and obviously the Super NES as I am talking about it here. Its also made its way to various classic game compilations and download services. The arcade version was created by Eugene Jarvis and Mark Turmell for Williams and its a sort of well kind of sequel to the game Robotron: 2084 which was also produced by Jarvis, sequel in spiritual terms that is. The SNES conversion was handled by Beam Software, they did an excellent job of converting the game, basically if you like the arcade game then you will like the SNES game as apart from a few cut corners and a bit of Nintendo style censorship it is very much the same game. Beam Software kind of got brought and sold and moved about and renamed Infogrames Melbourne House, then Atari Melbourne House and finally Krome Studios Melbourne, the trail of them releasing games goes kind of cold around 2007 though with several sources saying the studio finally died in 2010.

In terms of gameplay the game is fairly straightforward, if you have played a twin stick shooter in the past 30 years anything from Robotron to the Geomotry wars games then you will know excactly what you are getting. Yes the SNES doesnt have a second stick but its 4 face buttons are placed in such a way that by pressing either one of them or a combination of two at a time you can shoot at every possible angle. The game is fast fun and responsive and most importantly it has the best quality any arcade style game can have and thats the ability to be easy to pick up while being difficult to master but overall feeling fair. Yes the game is hard and it slams you pretty darn har, there is also no wimping out and picking an easy difficulty here as it is actually pretty darn tough on all of the three difficulty settings available. Also you cant complete the game by playing it on easy mode as when you choose this mode you get a shortened version of the game featuring only the first stage with a few less enemies, so this sucker should have really just been called practice mode.

I played the living heck out of this game as a kid and never managed to finish it. You need to remember that this game was born in the arcades and so it was designed to make money, so really the quicker it could get you killed the more pennies it would grab, the bosses in particular are complete bullet spunges who just when you think you have them beat start shooting even more determined to take you down with them. If you want a challange then you have one here, its also a great co-operative two player game. Speaking of other players while I was playing this game my 15 year old daughter walked in the room, she was soon having a go herself and then I practically had to tear her away from it just so I could actually go to bed, and the very next day she was asking if she could go in my room to play the SNES and try and do better on Smash TV. Another sign of how good this game is would be the fact that I am going to sort out one of my other SNES pads so me and her can play it toghther sometime, which is high praise given the fact that some of these games get tossed into the bottom of a draw after I have reviewed them not to be pulled out again for who knows how long.

Ok so for those who are really into the graphics and sound in games how does Smash TV stack up? Well graphically the game is pretty simple with the main player characters and the regular enemies not being much more advanced than stick men, but the game really does flood the screen with them, and there tiny size just helps to make the large boss characters all the more impressive, but yeah this certainly is not the game to use to show of the SNES's graphical grunt work. I find the music to be very basic but also very catchy, I have caught myself humming it when away from the game which I think always says something good about a piece, its basic but it suits the mood of the game perfectly. Speaking of sound one of the most impressive things about this game sound wise is the digitised voice samples they really help with the games feel and atmosphere , little snippits like hearting the host say “Good Luck! You’ll Need It!” really add to the game.

I find that I cant help but give this game a hearty 8 out of 10, sure its not perfect but it is darn playable, and as far as co-op shooters go it might just be one of the best on the SNES. Its funny though how this game now seems to be a bit of a pain to get ahold of when I can remember people using it as a door stop back in the day and the second hand shelfs and bargain bins being full of it but I guess it just goes to show you never know how hard or easy it will be to grab something tommorow if you dont get it today. If you want a cartridge only copy around about £10 like I spent is proberbly the best you can aim for and it might take a bit of waiting and looking as plenty of people seem to be asking for around £18 to £25 for even loose carts are they actually getting that for it? Who knows but if you want to just play the game then do look on Xbox live arcade and compilation discs you might save yourself a few quid or bang a few extra retro games for you cash in the process, which root youy go though all depends if your more a collector or player either way I recomend that you give this game a bash.

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