Sunday 29 December 2019

Super Smash T.V. (Sega Master System review)

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

Super Smash T.V. is an action game that was also released on the Sega Game Gear in 1992.

It supports 1-2 players (simultaneously) 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 in order 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 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. At least the collision detection (while still not being very accurate) is a bit more tolerable compared to the Sega Game Gear version, possibly due to the increased screen real estate that makes it easier to manoeuvre your character.

Super Smash T.V. plays slightly better than the 8-bit handheld port, but that's hardly a compliment. The wonky frame-rate would be bad enough to contend with, but the game's godawful control schemes and aggravating bosses that take an age to beat push this firmly into the 'avoid at all costs' category.

Random trivia: This Sega Master System version was only released in PAL regions.

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