Sunday, 25 October 2009
It's difficult to imagine an enemy type more lowly and worthless than Smash TV's basic grunt mobbers. Armed with what looks like a 2x4, these witless drones excitedly froth about interminable studio sets, just asking to be annihilated. Utterly useless in the singular, these bullet soakers only really pose something like a threat when you're knee-deep in a clipping, overlapped mess of them. The crypto-fascist media outlet that shills Smash TV's central, lethal, gameshow must have got a job lot on knuckle dragger clones. Bald headed, stocky, and wearing ill-fitting lime t-shirts, these chaps are only fit for clogging up your personal space. As Smash TV trundles on, you'll begin to miss these fragile nobody men. Later Boss enemies demand a satirical amount of shooting before they vacate the premises. Endlessly blasting away at an undamagable two-headed mecha-cobra deep in stage 3, vague memories of Takeshi Kitano's NES prank title Takeshi no Chosenjo began to bubble up. Was I really going to have to hit this monstrosity 20,000 times?
Smash TV is sheer repetition. In order to pass a screen you'll have to blow apart thousands upon thousands of enemies. The game isn't a reward miser either, prizes pop up with staggering regularity, as do swaying wads of screen-filling currency. Post stage totaliser screens take forever to log your spoils, the ascending whistle note accompanying your increasing bank balance strays into the kind of pitch that gets dogs excitable. Smash TV is excess. The player is constantly bombarded with feedback. More enemies. More prizes. More everything. This Xbox Live iteration even allows the player infinite continues to finish the show. You'll need them. The game is mercilessly hard; space-clog tank-men aren't encumbered by their grotesque size, they can rapidly glide to all corners of the screen, better to smother you with their caterpillar tracks. For this player, Boss battles became psychotically resourced wars of attrition. My sweaty little gladiator man, endlessly reinforced by lookalikes, facing blubbering mockeries of flesh and metal. An unseen audience cheers the carnage. That experience was easily worth the 400 point asking price.