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.