A game show of the future Blind Date with aliens? The Price Is Right where you win spaceships and robots' Nah. a bit more violent than that.
Cyberpunk sci-fi movies like Spacehunter and The Running Man (the best film ever) had the right idea. They depicted a future dominated by violent sport and ultra-violent game shows, like what Smash TV is Just imagine American Gladiators with fireballs instead of tennis balls and you're halfway there.
You've got to progress from arena to arena, trying to stay alive Lots of nasty creatures, people, and er, thingies, are going to try and curtail your existence. You start with seven lives (if that sounds like a lot, you're in for a shock).
Extra lives appear every now and then as pick-up objects (hearts), along with loads of different weapons and stuff. Oh. and there's big piles of money, gold bars, toasters, VCRs and other stuff to collect on your way. There's four levels in all, each consisting of around seven or eight rooms.
Is Smash TV the sort of game you're going to want to play again and again? Well, here at AA Towers, when we're not actually working (which, of course, is hardly ever), we like to whack on a game and have a bit of a play. The average game'll be on for about five minutes before we get bored and put something else on.
Smash TV has been on continuously since we got it. (We don't even bother switching it off when we leave, in case the night-watchman wants a go.) A fair old competition over hi-scores has also developed, with yours truly having recently chalked up a whopping 61,810, smashing Rod's pitiful 56,710 tally. Ha! [Aha! - not so, I just got 62,610 - Ed]
Smash TV is a conversion of the Williams coin-op, which was in turn an upgraded version of an earlier coin-op, Robotron 2084. Obviously, the home computer versions will be no match for the cabinet, which featured four joysticks and action so fast you needed to fire a tranquilizer dart at the screen before you could play it
Graphically and sonically, though, STV is pretty flippin' excellent. There's a wide variety of noises, and the sprites are well good. The main thing about the program though is that it's fast. If there's a faster CPC game around, we haven't seen it.
The first thing you'll encounter is a big caterpillar thing. You can't run away, you've got to stay and fight the brute. Even once you've bumped that off, don't bother going for the doors... You have to slug it out with four or five different waves of baddies in each room before you can move on.
As well as caterpillars, you'll also be facing off against blokes with baseball bats, herds of fireballs (keep your wits about you when they appeal), wiggly worms (Rod's description), big robot eyes, Mr Shrapnels (who blow up when you wax them - look out), robots, armchairs, and lots of equally silly (and equally deadly) things. Crivens!
It might be tempting to zoom around like a mad thing in the centre of the screen, firing wildly in all directions. But you won't last long. Better to set yourself up in one of the top corners of the screen, with your gun pointing down diagonally, and give that Fire button a pounding. It's also tempting (but dangerous) to leave the relative safety of the corners to collect the power-ups and prizes that pop up regularly. The best of these, apart from the extra lives, are the triangles (which give you three-way fire) and the smart bombs (useful for clearing the herds of fireballs off the screen).
Ocean reckons Smash TV is the easiest game it's released for ages. It's certainly easier to progress in than many games, but there's enough rooms involved to present a long-term challenge for even the most battle-hardened of gamesters.
The quality of the graphics and sound, and the incredible speed and frantic gameplay, puts Smash TV in a class of its own - and a variety of different moves and techniques are required for dealing with the different foes.
Smash TV is the home computer game the home computer market has been waiting for since 1981. Gnarly.
Smash TV is blindingly fast. The action is incessant and you can't afford to relax for a moment. A really excellent 'five-minute' game.
First Day Target Score
Beat our hi-scores!
Bright and colourful, with super-fast sprites.
Lots of botin' combat sounds.
Grab Factor 97%
Smash TV is so fast, you get hooked straight away.
Staying Power 95%
And you won't get bored in a hurry.
If the four minute warning was to sound today, this would be *the* game to load. (Erm, except tape owners wouldn't have time!) It's smashing (groan!).