- Manufacturer: WILLIAMS ELECTRONIC
The year is 1999. The place is the set of Smash T.V., a great new action game from Williams. Smash T.V. is a futuristic game show with a twist. Imagine if you can a blend of the movie The Running Man and Williams' classic Robotron. Either one or two "contestants" compete in a mazelike studio for cash, merchandise and the most important prize, survival! Of course, with the opportunity to win toasters, VCRs, televisions, the occasional car, as well as oodles of cash, who wouldn't go up against mindless mutants, robots, drones and combustible, obese soldiers (known affectionately as "Mr. Shrapnel") for a piece of the action, right?
Man wasn't meant to kill with hands alone, so your game-show host has generously provided you with a variety of lethal devices to protect yourself as you travel through the various arenas. Grenades, missiles, lasers and the ever - present smart bomb are all at your disposal. Other defensive devices are also available, such as force fields and spinning shields, which help you stay alive long enough to win just one more toaster. Control of each player is by two eight-way joysticks, with one for movement and one for shooting. They are perfect for this type of game, as Robotron players will concur.
While the similarity to Robotron is obvious from first glance, there are many differences that make Smash T.V. a unique adventure. There is a map of sorts presented at the beginning of each area that shows the different ways you can travel through the arenas in order to reach the boss waiting within the last arena. Along the way, you must fight through a menagerie of robots and drones and avoid land mines, tanks and many other enemies too bizarre to describe.
Different weapon power-ups appear with regularity in random spots upon the playing field, along with small gift boxes. The latter, when grabbed, award anything from a 2600-inch television, to a luxurious vacation. Money also appears in large, scattered heaps consisting of gold and silver bars, along with the regular green stuff. The weapons and gifts both disappear from the screen after a few seconds, but the money will stay indefinitely. The weapons are immediately useful and last for a certain number of shots, indicated by a small bar graph near your score. When you run low, a warning tone lets you know without having to take a break from the action on-screen.
Bonus rooms packed with gifts are located in certain parts of each area, and when you enter one of these areas, a few seconds are allocated to allow you to grab as many goodies as possible before they all disappear, and the room is invaded by enemies.
The object is simple: grab as much money and as many prizes as possible, while surviving until the end of an area to collect your bonus money. As if making it to the end weren't challenge enough, a boss monster must be defeated as well. These guys don't lay down after a few shots, either; be prepared to lob a couple of hundred grenades, missiles and bombs, all while trying to avoid getting roasted yourself. If you succeed, you will be rewarded with a crisp, graphic bloodbath as the abomination finally bites the video dust.
Now that you have actually made it through alive - though perhaps short the few quarters if may have taken you to continue - it's time to be rewarded for your effort. Each player is shown on-screen before a podium as the various prize counts mount up, and the equivalent amount of money is added to your score. Don't rest too long; you're soon off to the next area, with new prizes and new challenges to conquer!
Smash T.V. is another game that is destined to join the ranks of previous Williams' classics. Graphically, nothing is missing, from the bloody chunks that fly skyward when a player dies (watch out for that flying eyeball) to the virtual geyser of blood that flies out when Mutoid Man at the end of the first area is dispatched. Of course, I couldn't forget to mention the well-endowed blonde ladies that rest upon each arm of your Smash T.V. host as he puts forth a comment at the beginning of each arena! The sound effects are equally excellent: The "Go, Go, Go!" starting each area and the pounding coupled with frustrated howls of rage from the boss monsters accent the action perfectly.
Although a continue option is available, don't be fooled. This game isn't another in the recent trend of quarter-eating machines that only allow you to advance anywhere in the game by satisfying their unending appetite for metal. While it may take a little time to figure out strategies, the game isn't impossible, and you should be able to advance quite far (especially with a teammate). If you haven't played this one yet, give it try, and see if you aren't hooked. I'll admit I am.