I was rather miffed I when I found out that this game has got absolutely nothing to do with smashing TV sets at all. I mean, I was really looking forward to kicking in a few cathode ray tubes and then Ocean turned round and told me that Smash TV is actually a gameshow of the future. (A bit like The Running Man. Probably.)
Being all high-tec and futuristic, this gameshow is played for huge amounts of money and, like all futuristic things, it's also dead violent and frantic. You play a contestant who, rather stupidly, volunteers to appear on the show (Actually, this is quite a good thing - after all, what's a gameshow without contestants?) You're welcomed to 'Come On Down' by the host (where have I heard that before?) and then invited to enter the arenas. Now. pay attention 'cos this is where it gets exciting.
The arenas are divided into a series of square rooms. Well, to be exact, they're more the shape of your TV screen than square (though, I suppose you might have a square TV screen). Oodles of different nasties pile into the rooms, and they all head for you. All you've got to protect you from this hideous attack is a weedy laser blaster. You'll find this a bit on the underpowered side, don't let that worry you! Yep, it's mega blasterama time!
The best way to deal with all these meanies is to hide in the corner of the room 'til you've worked out how each one attacks and moves, then blow 'em into tiny shreds!
Meanwhile they'll try and catch you, either by firing all manner of weapons in your direction or simply by colliding with your little bod. Body contact, eh? I told you it was exciting!
WHERE ARE THE PRIZES THEN?
Ah, I was just coming to that. Throughout the game various prizes appear (just as a reminder that this is, in fact, a gameshow). These can be massive amounts of cash (which is all very nice but a bit useless when it comes to killing aliens), better weapons or special protection from the 'orrible creatures in the arenas (just the sort of goodies you need).
You can collect the weapons and prizes by wandering over to them. You move and fire in eight directions and, boy, will you need to! As with most games, the first bunch of aliens you come across are dead easy to beat. There's a large snake that goes around the screen in a pretty set pattern, just hide in a corner of the room and blast outwards when he comes past. Bits will fall off him 'til he's completely and utterly dead. You can now come come out of your hideyhole and start cheering.
But don cheer for too long, 'cos a load of new (and very angry) aliens will charge in! The monsters get progressively harder as you move from room to room (as you'd expect) and there are some real swines. There are usually about three waves of different aliens per room, and it makes sense to try and kill the fist wave as quickly as possible. If you don't, then the second lot come trotting on whilst you're still trying to bump off the first lot. This makes for rather frightening gameplay, as you try to deal with both sorts at once. If you waste too much time running away from them, the third wave might happily wander on too. By this stage you'll be a nervous wreck and probably in need of a lie down in a dark place. (Like Finland.)
IS IT ANY GOOD THEN?
Good? Of course it's not good? it's absolutely brilliant. In all my years of Speccy gaming I don't think I've ever played such an addictive arcade conversion. The graphics are so big, smooth and fast, you could swear you're looking at a 5,000,000K mainframe. (Don't exaggerate. Ed)
There are lots of ace little touches crammed in all over the place. For example, you can pick up 3-way blasters which cover a 90 degree area when you fire them. Basically, everything in front of you is completely incinerated. Can't say fairer than that, can you? Other useful finds include a sort of whirling suit of armour which only protects you from certain sorts of aliens. It kills them if they come into contact with it, so
it's dead useful as a weapon as well. Oh, and there are the obligatory bombs which, when you get them, blow up everything on the screen except you. Hurrah is the word that springs to mind.
Yes indeed, Smash TV is really jolly spiffing. And once you get the hang of me first few waves of aliens, you'll be getting further and further every time you play. You'll be glad to hear that it's definitely not the sort of game that you'll finish off in one sitting. I played it for ages and only got past the first seven or eight screens (But everyone knows you're crap. Ed)
As well as being one of the Speediest games I've seen in ages. Smash TV's whizzy graphics make for a veritable butter mountain of aliens. There are big snakes, robots, astronauts, armoured tanks, Bros fans, in fact the list is endless. (You're exaggerating again! Ed) Okay, nearly endless!
Listen! I've told you how good it is. It's absolutely definitely a Megagame and I'm off for another bash. All that you have to do is rush out to your nearest Speccy software stockist and get yourself a copy of Smash TV. You wont regret it.
Oh, I can't leave behind my washing machine!It's no good, the speech bubble has to appear from somewhere. I think I'll hold Andy's Gary Glitter jigsaw hostage unless my washing machine appears with me. What do you say, Andy? (I'll do anything, anything at all. But please... please don't touch my jigsaw. Andy O) (Just a word of advice, Steve. The only thing threats get you is a little pink piece of paper. Ed) Oh, erm, right. Fair enough. Anyway, enough of my problems, let's talk Smash TV!
It was originally released in 1990 and was greeted by the computer media as "quite a good game, really", and rightly so! Not only is Smash TV nice and easy to get into and play, but it's also mind-numbingly addictive. The essence of all good games, I'm sure you'll agree.
The plot of the game is very much like that of The Running Man. You're a contestant on a game show with your life at stake if you fail. Sounds like Family Fortunes to me, except with an ounce more credibility!
You take control over your (rather nicely designed) sprite with his little gun, and must guide him through, ooh, several screens on each level before meeting the normal end-of-level guardian. On each of the screens are nasty things, from blobby doofuses that follow you everywhere to Mr Shrapnel, a lardy bloke who you can shoot at for a while before he explodes! Yes, it's hours of fun for all the family....
Shooting certain baddies will give you power-ups, and these can range from a few seconds of immunity to extra lives, with rapid shots, three-way fire, circling orbs (Hey, The Orb!) (Pulsating! Ed) and smart bombs hustling together in between, in no particular order. The extra lives are certainly needed, because lives come and go faster than you can curse your tardy reactions. At least they do for little old me!
There's four levels of this before you get to the end-of-game custodian, the show's host himself. The inlay says he's insane and only understands total carnage. Still sounds like Family Fortunes to me! Ho hum.
Well, that's the descriptive bit over, now for the game itself. What's it like? Well, if I didn't say it was brilliant then I would be madder than Mr Dribbly (the people's hero).
The graphics are big, fast and colourful, and stay true to the coin-op original, but the sound effects are unfortunately lacking. Little more than "farty noises" to quote Andy (the almost jigsawless). But who cares, the game's an absolute blast! Almost as much fun as half-a-dozen humanities students (and that's a biscuit barrel full of fun)! Something worth bearing in mind is that I've just given Smash TV a higher mark than the NES version got in Total!, and the Speccy version costs 10% of the NES price. Good old Uncle Clive, it's hard to believe he now runs a pharmacy in the wilds of Gloucester.
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