Sunday 29 December 2019

Smash T.V. (NES review)

Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Released: 1991

Smash T.V. is an action game that was originally released in the Arcades in 1990.

It supports 1-2 players (co-op) and the objective is to destroy single screen waves of enemies in order to be crowned Smash T.V. Grand Champion. There's four stages and on top of your default Machine Gun, you can also collect power-ups such as Missiles and Ninja Blades. While you can play with one controller, two can be combined that allow you to strafe independent of your movement; this inspired control scheme makes the gameplay so much more enjoyable, as without it it quickly becomes unmanageable due to how overwhelmed you'll be with enemies and incoming bullets. The action is frenetic (its non-stop nature keeps you fully invested throughout) and I also like how the stages mix things up in terms of introducing different enemy types. The option to collect scattered prizes is an important facet of the gameplay too, as it adds a fun risk-reward element where you sometimes have to put yourself in harms way to collect big points. The game's most impressive feature though is how little slowdown occurs despite the large number of sprites on screen at the same time. While there's only four stages, each is lengthy and the neat option to choose your path to the boss gives it replayability, especially if you're a high score chaser. It can get repetitive after some time though, as you're essentially doing the same thing with no variance. The music also cuts out frequently which dampens the atmosphere and dilutes the excitement of an action-packed TV show setting. The voice samples are low quality, but they do add personality and there are many memorable lines such as: "Big money, big prizes!"

Smash T.V. is great in short bursts (particularly if you're looking for some mindless shooting action), and its twitch-based gameplay is perfectly complimented by the dual controller option. It does wear out its welcome rather quickly, but as long as you keep your expectations in check there's certainly some fun to be had here.

Random trivia: In 1992, the game was released as Super Smash T.V. on the Super Nintendo.

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