Retro Review: Super Smash TV
Super Smash TV
Platform: Sega Megadrive
Developer: Probe Software
Want to win amazing prizes such as a brand new toaster or shiny new VCR? If the answer is yes then all you have to do is enter a deadly arena riddled with explosive mines, hundreds of baseball bat wielding maniacs, tanks, gun emplacements and generally death at every turn. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?
Smash TV is a top down twin stick shooter where in the arcade you would use one joystick to move and the other joystick to shoot. Obviously the Megadrive is at a slight disadvantage having only a direction pad with 3 buttons. The way the makers of the game got around this is to use the buttons for different purposes. The A button fires in the direction you are moving, the B button fires in the opposite direction to your movement and the C button locks your fire in one direction, regardless of where you move. Clear as mud right!?
Alternatively and quite bizarrely, you can use two Megadrive control pads, where one D-Pad moves and the other shoots. I must say that this is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous control ideas ever!
The action in Smash TV takes place on a single screen with the presenter shouting “Total carnage, I love it” as you enter the arena. The graphics and presentation work well and make it feel like you are stepping onto a film set, as the camera operators and lighting rigs are shown above you.
When you step into the arena there are 4 doors on each side, which is where the enemies pour from. As you can imagine the action gets extremely frantic with dozens of foes running towards you desperately trying to cave your head in. Throw into the mix; tanks, mines and other assorted weapons of death and there is literally no time to stop and think, so your reactions must be spot on.
The game isn’t completely unfair as there are a few power-ups that briefly appear, such as rockets or grenades, which gives you a chance to even the odds. However, these only last for a few seconds meaning that you are constantly on your toes. As if you don’t have enough to worry about, prizes randomly appear which must be collected if you want to boost your score.
I’ve always liked Smash TV because of its crazy setting which reminded me of one of my favourite movies; The Running Man. I love that you aren’t doing anything noble like saving the galaxy from extinction but, will face overwhelming odds for a few dollars. The movie references don’t end there as the presenter occasionally shouts “I’d buy that for a dollar“, which any self-respecting film fan will instantly recognise.
Smash TV can be enjoyed with a friend and if you want to get anywhere in the game, I would highly recommend that you grab a mate to give you a hand.
Graphics – Bright and colourful with a hint of early 90’s gore as you explode into a red puddle when you die. The 3D effect when you step onto the film set is also impressive. 6
Sound – Some nice digitised speech and catchy music to compliment the carnage. 6
Playability – Smash TV is extremely challenging but more importantly is still very playable. 6
Re-Playability – There is still a lot of fun to be had, especially if you are joined by a friend. 6
Overall – Smash TV is still a fun game albeit a very difficult one. If you are thinking of playing it I would probably recommend trying the SNES version, unless you fancy holding two controllers to get the full experience. 6