Game: "Smash TV"
Published by: Other
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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