Insert Disk collects Super Smash TV for the Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis.
Today’s retro game review is Super Smash TV for the Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis. This retro gaming classic is the ultimate in TV game show carnage. Enter your contestant in to the greatest game show of all time and do your best to survive the waves of oncoming hordes of enemies. Super Smash TV is fast, frantic and above all really decent retro fun. Whether you’re a Sega or Nintendo fan there are some excellent options available for you to collect. “Total carnage, I love it!”
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. Ever wanted to win insane prizes such as a toaster, televisions and of course a brand new VCR? Well you’re in luck. All of these wonderful prizes and more are up for grabs in today’s game show episode of Super Smash TV for the Sega Mega Drive. Originally a 1990 release Smash TV became a breakout game for Williams in the arcade. Smash TV was bright, bold and a game about as frantic as we had ever seen before in the arcades. Various versions of Smash TV were brought to the home console market. Everything from the NES, ZX Spectrum and Atari ST saw a release in some form or another. Perhaps the best two known versions for the home were the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis and the equally decent Super Nintendo release. I’m playing the Sega edition here as I tend to prefer the grittier sound of the Sega sound chip. It’s particularly punchy for the compositions in this game. I’ll show a quick side by side comparison in the video to let you decide for yourself which version works better for you.
So, it’s the year 1999. Yeah that’s right, one of those days of futures past scenarios. The TV audiences are hooked on game shows. Greater than ever is demand for more and more violent game shows. Smash T.V. has become the viewer’s choice. Looking at this now you can’t help but think that the satire of 1990 was spot on. Game shows may not have become more violent but a certain sub-genre of extreme shows did slowly evolve. Just try searching the Internet for the term Japanese Game Show and prepare to have your mind blown. Although not confirmed its clear that the concept takes its cues from the 1982 story by Stephen King called the Running Man, later a 1987 film adaptation with Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you’ve not seen it, you’re in for an 80’s classic treat.
Anyway, you control the contestant whose task it is to survive the arenas. Typically you will be thrust in to the televised arena and await 100’s of grunts to pour in and attack you. There’s something very raw about this game and I have to say I like it a lot. The simplicity of the concept really lets the game play shine. As you can see from the footage its just wholesale violence all set to the upbeat tunes of the game show. The excessive violence and pulsing music play off of each other wonderfully. So, as I mentioned, I’d like to show a comparison between the Sega 16-bit version and the Nintendo 16-bit version. I don’t want to kick-off the age old debate about who is the greatest but if you are a collector looking to pick this one up you may be surprised by the contrast in execution. Flying Edge handled the Sega ports whilst Acclaim and Beam Software handled the Nintendo conversion. So, as you can see both conversions were handled very differently. Graphically the SNES version looks a little more polished. The palette is more of a pastille affair and greater levels of gradient used on most sprites. The Sega edition seems to have crisper graphics and the blood splatter also seems a little more excessive. Overall whether you prefer the smother Nintendo handling or rawer Sega version execution is completely up to your preference. One department though that really does contrast is the sound department. Take a listen to the Sega edition. Graphically I would give the Super Nintendo the edge but when it comes to the music I personally much prefer Sega’s sound. It’s somehow brighter and more exciting. Nintendo did go for the technically superior orchestral sounding instruments. For a game like Super Smash TV though as much grungier tone really works well though in my opinion. Somehow the SNES version is too polished and lacks the excitement in my opinion. Overall though the games are littered with minor differences so its very much up to personal preference which you decide to collect. I’ve collected both Sega and Nintendo consoles for a long time so hopefully I can give a balanced view. For me its Nintendo for the graphical win and Sega for audio execution. Its safe to say though fans of Nintendo will be very happy with their release and fans of Sega’s will be equally happy with their version of the game. Of course the games play in a very similar way, similar contestants, enemies and boss fights.
The control system of the game is something that needs getting used to. You have a full 8 directions to use of which you can shoot forward. However, you also have the option to lock the direction the player faces in order to continue firing whilst retreating. This setup can take some time to master but really adds to the enjoyment of the game. You’ll find that sometimes locking your direction is the most efficient way to deal with the marauding attackers as they burst through the doors to brutalise you. In addition to your main weapon you’ll also have the opportunity to pick up a decent range of extras such as grenades, rockets and blades that encircle you. Its just the lift the game needs to keep the variety level up. The route through the TV studio also adds variety to the game. After you’ve defeated a room you have the option of selecting which exit you would like to use. You can go in a very direct route or you can enter extra rooms for bonus points and items.
Of course to finish a stage you will have to finish the boss fight. Smash TV’s Mutoid Man has very much become a retro gaming classic. Facing down against a giant tank / robot makes for some epic action. Its this action that has really kept the game fresh for so long. Its so frantic and excessive that its impossible not to have fun with this one especially in 2 player mode.
In the UK look to pay under the £10 mark for the game fully boxed for the Sega Mega Drive edition. North American editions are currently also around the $10 mark. The game was very much mass produced so is fairly common and easy to pick up. Super Nintendo versions tend to sell for a little more but will vary greatly on the condition of the box.
So should you collect Super Smash TV? I’d say that for anyone looking for a nostalgic afternoon of frantic shoot ’em up fun then you really can’t go wrong with Super Smash TV.
The game heavily features your contestant’s ability to pick up TV’s, VCR’s and Toasters as prizes. I suggest you do the same with this arcade classic.