Okay, so lets set the story here. In about one year (1999) this
game show called Smash TV will start up and become wildly
popular due to its attraction of big bucks and above all, violence!
"TOTAL CARNAGE! I love it!"
In a couple of words, that about describes it. Smash TV, along with
NARC, was Williams re-entry into the video game world. It's set
in the future where you're a contestant on the game show Smash TV.
Smash TV borrowed a lot from the classic game Robotron. I've never
played Robotron, but supposedly it utilized a new concept on an
arcade machine -- no buttons. There were only two joysticks, one
to walk around, and the other to fire. Smash TV works in the same
way. I even think some of the team that created Robotron were involved
in this game. The home versions also supported the two controller
idea, but I never tried it like that, the 4 buttons on the SNES
controller were perfect for this game and became second nature in
no time. It's also got a "Running Man" theme to
it, the Ar-nuld flick in which he's a joker running around a game
show field and killing guys.
At the time of its' release, in 90 (and 91 for home systems), the
graphics and sound were top notch. Today, however, little pixel
men running around non-anti-aliased rooms just doesn't cut it. But
it doesn't matter, for what this game lacks in what may now be sub-par
graphics, it makes up for in sheer intensity and fun! There are
only 3 levels (or 4 depending on how you look at things, but I'll
get to that later) in this game, meaning that music is pretty limited.
Especially since the main theme also spills into the first level
as background music. The music though is cool, it fits right into
the game and helps you keep going. It definitely will implant itself
in your head after a while, and that's not a bad thing!
Basically the game is broken into 3 arenas. Each arena is split
up into rooms, there are several ways to go through each arena until
you face up with a boss. This may not sound like a lot of levels,
but you have to factor in the time it takes to clear a room. When
you start out it may only take a few minutes to clear out a room,
but as you progress it takes more time, not to mention bosses. Take
an average of 5 minutes to clear a room and multiply it by an average
of between 6 to 8 rooms for 3 arenas and you clearly find that in
order to finish this game it's gonna take a lot of your time.
Along the way you'll pick up lots of goodies. Most important of
all are the guns! There's your average array of firearms in this
game, spread, grenade launcher and rockets, but also some new that
fit right in, like arching bombs (which only show up for bosses).
There are also other things like an orb that shoots in sync with
you, invincible shield rings, and the shooter staple, speed-ups.
But one item stands above all in this game, the 1-ups. I don't care
how bad the situation is, when you see a 1-up appear, go for it.
You'll be surprised at your level of skill going after one of these.
And when it pops up, go for it fast, even if you die, you'll come
back with an invincible shield ring and be able to pick it up no
prob, negating your loss.
Now what review would leave out the "Pleasuredomes"? Well
this one. Actually I'm not totally up to speed on the whole pleasuredomes
thing, I'm not sure if anyone is. I think it goes something like
this. You need to pick up a whole bunch of those "key"
icons, and then choose the right path through the game. Then you
find some hidden rooms with a whole bunch of good stuff in them.
There's also probably a different ending if you find it (them?).
Anyways, that's the extent of my knowledge on that.
This game is so well done, that at any given time I can pick it
up and start playing it some more. That says a lot about it. As
mentioned earlier, Smash TV parallels Robotron in many ways, as
sort of an unofficial sequel. Another game that should be mentioned
is "Total Carnage". This was sort of an unofficial sequel
to Smash TV. It was more of a parody about video game violence and
the gulf war at the time. It was more based outside and is a vertical
scroller. Many people liked it, but to me it was rather disappointing,
but since it's not officially a sequel then I can't really complain
(unlike those horrid Contra games of late). This game remains popular
to me and many other shooter fans alike. Don't pass up the chance
to play this if you haven't already.
A truly outstanding game: 10/10