Monday 30 December 2019

Super Smash T.V. (Sega Game Gear review)

Developer: Williams Electronics Games
Publisher: Flying Edge
Released: 1992

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

It supports single player only (no Link Cable option) 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. Various control schemes are available that allow you to fire in the same / opposite direction to your movement, or to lock your fire in one direction; all are terrible and don't provide you with the level of accuracy that's required for a game of this type, as you always have to temporarily take your hands off the d-pad and buttons to change firing angle. The action is fast and frenetic, but you'll always feel a half step behind as you try to adjust your shooting direction without a strafing ability to fall back on. Also, the difficulty in this handheld version is sky-high and usually for the wrong reasons. Firstly, there's the wildly inaccurate collision detection where you'll often reach for a prize, only to be killed by a mine despite your character having clear spatial distance. Also, the frame-rate is incredibly choppy making it far too easy to overshoot an intended safe area, and instead landing directly on top of an enemy sprite. And then there's the bosses which are bullet sponges to an infuriating degree; in fact, the initial boss is immune to your standard Machine Gun, so you'll need to wait for power-ups to appear meaning the whole battle can take 4-5 minutes before he's defeated! If that wasn't enough, enemies move much faster than you and can easily swarm on your location before you've had chance to readjust your direction of fire.

Super Smash T.V. is a curious inclusion in the Sega Game Gear library, as someone legitimately thought it was a viable idea to develop and release it for a handheld that only has two buttons. The control schemes simply do not work, which in turn makes the gameplay as close to broken as can possibly be.

Random trivia: Despite the game being released in Europe and North America in 1992, Japan had to wait until 1994 before it became available.

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