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Super Smash TV is a game set in 1999, where television game shows have gone to the extreme of offering big prizes at the risk of being killed. You must make your way through various arenas, battling bad guys alone or with a friend, unleashing explosive violence in front of a live studio audience.
“I’d Buy That For A Dollar!”
The premise will feel awfully familiar to those of you who have seen “The Running Man”; a movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger where convicted criminals fight for their lives in a gladiatorial futuristic game show. Interestingly, the film was based on novel by Stephen King of the same name and published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman back in 1982.
For those of you wondering why I chose to review the Super Nintendo version, it all comes down to the controls. The Sega Genesis and Mega Drive’s three button layout just isn’t well suited to this game. Sure, it works and you can eventually get the hang of it, but the SNES controller’s four button layout feels much more natural. The D-Pad on the left controls player movement, whilst the A, B, X and Y buttons control the direction of fire and is much more faithful to the arcade original’s dual stick control method.
“Big Money! Big Prizes! I Love It!”
In terms of gameplay it’s fairly straightforward; you must battle your way through three stages, each with multiple rooms and a boss at the end. There are different paths you can choose and secret bonus rooms to discover which aren’t shown on the map screen.
Along the way you must fight hordes of enemies, picking up as many prizes as possible such as gold bars, VCRs and toasters which get totalled up at the end of each stage, comparing against your friend if you’re playing co-op. There’s also numerous power ups for your weapons, shield and movement speed to help blitz through them quicker, turning the bad guys into a fine paste.
Graphically, there’s quite a lot happening in such a small space. The sprites are small but plentiful and I was very impressed that with so many enemies on screen I never experienced any slow down. The action here is fast paced and the SNES version is very similar to the arcade original..
In terms of music, it does the job, but it didn’t particularly blow me away. I was pretty impressed with the digitised voice samples though and the sound effects. There’s a lot of shooting and explosions, so I guess that’s why the music didn’t matter too much.
“Good Luck! You’ll Need It!”
Super Smash TV is pretty tough on all three difficulty settings. The easy mode is just a shortened version of the game featuring only the first stage with a few less enemies, so you’ll have to play on normal or hard to get the full experience.
In all the years I’ve had this game, I’ve never gotten around to finishing it. In the arcades this was designed to make money, so the bosses in particular soak up bullets and take a long time to take down. There are cheat codes to increase lives and continues, but I do enjoy the challenge of trying to complete the game in the way it was intended to be played. Continues are shared with a co-op partner, so you’ll definitely need to work well as a team to beat this.