Game: "Smash TV"
System: Arcade
Genre: Action
Published by: Other

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 3/11/2010

Review: "I'D BUY THAT FOR A DOLLAR!" These words may have originated with Robocop, but it was the classic arcade game Smash TV that made them immortal for myself and many other gaming enthusiasts in the nineties. Smash TV is an arcade game in which you control a man who has been thrust into a televised game show in which your only objective is to survive.

There are few arcade games that are as frantically paced and amusing to play with a friend as Smash TV. Instead of the traditional joystick and two button configuration, the game comes with two joysticks - one controlling the direction your character moves, and one controlling the direction of your never-ending stream of gunfire. And believe me when I say you'll need all that gunfire.

Enemies literally pour out of the doorways from all angles by the truckload. Sometimes survival is contingent on your skills, but all too often, it's due to simply getting lucky with a weapon upgrade at just the right moment.

The game show element is continued throughout the levels as the Smash TV announcer pops up on occasion to blurt out one of his infamous catchphrases such as, "GOOD LUCK, YOU'LLLLLL NEED IT!" and "BIG MONEY! BIG PRIZES! I LOVE IT!" It looks obnoxious in text, but believe me, those interjections are not only entertaining, but they're also some of the only breaks you'll get in this frenetic gaming experience.

You'll also constantly find yourself picking up prizes as you slaughter the oncoming hordes of enemies. How many ultra-violent action games allow you to taunt your partner in crime, because you collected more prize toasters on a given level? Only Smash TV my friends... only Smash TV.

Each level ends with a huge boss fight where your only hope of defeating him comes in the form of power-ups which appear on the screen in random locations. Grenades, bazookas and spread gun power-ups are always nice, but the bell-shaped bombs that you can lob onto a boss always do the most damage - and that weapon is exclusive to boss fights in the game. The boss fights are quite long too, for while they take damage, they can take on new forms and become even more aggressive just when you think they're dead. Oh Mutoid Man... how I love thee.

Anybody familiar with the film The Running Man knows that Smash TV is basically a big tribute to it. Sure, the bad guys in Smash TV are much larger and your character can die as many times as you like as long as you pop in more quarters, but it's essentially still the same concept as the movie. (It's a hell of a fun movie by the way, so be sure to watch it sometime if you haven't. Easily one of Schwarzenegger's best.)

If you're into "run and gun" style arcade games, Smash TV is the absolute epitome of them. There have been some solid ports of the game over the years, namely on the SNES and more recently, an online multiplayer version on Xbox Live Arcade. Still, there's no topping the original dual-joystick arcade experience. That's how the game was meant to be played and I highly recommend tracking down one and giving it a shot for some stupefying simultaneous gameplay with a chum.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Mar 11th, 2010, 02:03 PM
Smash TV is classic mayhem.
LOVES the tubal ligation!
Mar 11th, 2010, 04:28 PM
My dad and I used to play the shit out of this game. I miss those days.

Anyway... Who has this shit on xbox 360?
Mar 12th, 2010, 01:49 AM
I've always overlooked it to be honest. I'm sure I'll pick up a snes port of it soon if it's worth 4 picklers.
Clap if you love Dynamo
Mar 12th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Conceptually, I always found the game amusing. You're mowing down people by the hundreds with various guns while you see, "A brand new color TV!" or "A shiny new toaster!" flashing on the corner of the screen. It was the Price is Right meets Contra and was funny and fun at the same time.
Mar 13th, 2010, 03:15 AM
SmashTV... one of the best arcade games ever... great gameplay AND great style, which even today is a hard combination to find in a game. Most of the developers of this game also worked on Mortal Kombat later on. Sadly midway is gone and WB Interactive is clueless so we'll never see a decent sequel.

RIP Midway.

Btw... Also Check out Total Carnage, the "sequel" to this game.
Pickled Patriarch
Mar 13th, 2010, 05:57 PM
Yep, Total Carnage is a very fun game. I remember getting it on the SNES back in the day. I didn't even OWN a SNES (I had a Genesis) but I actually purchased Total Carnage so I could play it at a friend's house. Such a fun game, but Smash TV is still the better of the two if ya ask me.
Mar 13th, 2010, 08:57 PM
Oh no doubt, but it's a good game in it's own right and because it isn't called "Smash Tv 2" people often overlook it.
Mar 14th, 2010, 01:53 AM
Thanks for writing about the precious RoG.
Out of all the video games I own, I have the most versions of Smash T.V. When I got the SNES version I even got my score to 99,999,999 even though I knew it wouldn't give me any kind of achievement (PS-it resets to 0000000).
Ranting Swede
Mar 14th, 2010, 03:52 AM
This was such a great game. I bought an anthology of "classic" games for the ps2 just because it included this game. Cant wait for the eventual revamp and or movie...lol
lurking on the walls
Mar 14th, 2010, 09:49 AM
epic game, Total Carnage was good too (played on one of the Midway Classics disks it was pretty fun)

I know GTA Liberty Stories has a tribute to Smash TV as a bonus game if anyone played that
Mar 14th, 2010, 07:21 PM
I loved the port of this game on the SNES. The Midway Arcade collection also does a great job of porting it.
Mar 16th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Man I love Smash TV. One of the reason I built a MAME cabinet(that and the Capcom D&D games)
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:10 AM
Great game. Gonna go MAME it now.
Mar 25th, 2010, 11:35 PM
I'd sure as hell get a Smash TV arcade cabinet if I had the money.