Super Smash TV
Super Nintendo
if you've ever played Robotron 2084, you'll already know what Smash TV is all about as it's basically an update of the Williams 1982 coin-op classic - revamped and repackaged for the nineties. Smash TV went down a storm in its day, attracting in droves arcade heads looking for more than the average blast. In fact, average is about as far removed from an accurate description as you could possibly get - with Smash TV, Williams gave its public perhaps the most raucous, hyper-frenetic, ultra-violent arcade game of its period, stuck it in a huge cabinet complete with four joysticks (two for each player), cranked the sound up to maximum, sat back and raked in the returns.

Set on a futuristic gameshow complete with mega-cheesy presenter ("Biiig money, biiig prizes - IIII Love it!!!") in which contestants fight for their lives in order to win money and prizes, the penultimate aim is survival. Viewed from above, the action takes place in single-screen game rooms. Enemies - ranging from the slow, easy target thugs at the beginning of the game to quick, unpredictable droids, snakes, mechanoids (half-man-half-tank), exploding overweight men, hoverdroids in synchronised snake-like sequences and more - pour in through doors at each side of the screen and players simply (!) have to wipe them all out so they can move onto the next screen. As if that wasn't enough there are also randomly-placed mines to be avoided. There are four sectors in all, and each sector has a number of rooms leading eventually to a showdown with an end-of-level boss. When a screen has been completed, players get to choose which route to take and this has a bearing on the game overall - some routes will get the player to the boss more quickly but may be more torturous, while other routes may even lead to secret rooms if the player knows where to look.

Items appear randomly during play - money and prizes add huge bonuses to the player's score at the end of each level, but more usefully, weapons and power-ups can also be collected. Limited ammo means these weapons only last for a short while but they appear frequently and increase carnage levels significantly. Which is good. Keys also appear from time to time and collecting enough of these apparently leads to some sort of bonus room at the very end of the game, but as I've never got that far, I have no idea what purpose it serves.

So, on to this SNES conversion then. Basically, everything present in the arcade version is also present in this conversion - all the levels, the sheer number of enemies, speech, spot effects, simultaneous two-player mode. Everything. Of course the control method is slightly different as the arcade uses twin joysticks, one for moving and one to aim, and of course the SNES doesn't have twin joysticks, does it? Eh? Well, luckily, those clever folks at Nintendo decided to place the four main buttons in a diamond pattern when they designed the SNES pad, which basically means you can use them as a second D-pad. Groovy huh? It's a little fiddly at first (and I would imagine near impossible if you've got particularly small thumbs), but after a little practice, works beautifully.

Not recommended. Smashing your TV that is ...

Hullo Mum!!

"Go! Go! Go!"

Carnage, destruction and luxurious vacations ...

Apologies to all you RPG fans out there, but to me, games such as Smash TV are the true essence of the videogame experience - games designed to get the adrenaline pumping, keep you on your toes, your reflexes poised and your focus sharp. Smash TV does this to an almost unmatched level of perfection (I still can't decide whether I prefer Smash TV's forefather - Robotron 2084) and does it with style. As a conversion job, Smash TV delivers everything a SNES owner could possibly hope for. Everything is in there, and the number of objects being thrown around the screen at times is pretty amazing. Speech samples are clear and sound effects are suitably raucous - all adding to the incredible atmosphere ("Go! Go! Go!"). The control method works surprisingly well (much better than any other home version thanks to the positioning of the SNES pads buttons) and soon becomes almost as intuitive as the twin sticks of its arcade parent. In terms of design, Smash TV's appeal lies not only in the simplicity of its play mechanics (as borrowed from Robotron), but also in the atmosphere this beautifully crafted and immersive masterpiece creates. The humourous post-apocalyptic gameshow theme works well, the game 'feels' nice and solid, and the enormity of the onslaught in each and every room forces the player to engage the action fully - no half-hearted wandering in this game! A shoot'em-up fan's dream and a game no SNES owner should be without.

Graphics: 90%

Sound: 95%

Gameplay: 95%

Overall: 95%
Lower in resolution than the coin-op, but nicely recreated. Amazing number of things whizzing about at any one time. Excellent speech samples throughout ("I'd buy that for a dollar!"), suitably ear-splitting effects, and decent, catchy music. Replicates the sheer mayhem and insanity of the coin-op almost perfectly. Totally immersive blasting action rarely equalled. Beautiful. I like Smash TV. Could you tell? ...
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Robotron 2084 (Arcade)

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