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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?


Game Profile
Xbox Live Arcade
Digital Eclipse
GENRE: Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-2
November 22, 2005
 Written by Glenn Wigmore  on January 25, 2006

Review: "Big money! Big prizes! I love it!"

Retro gaming is alive and well with releases like Smash TV on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade service. Not only does the game provide a slightly sharpened up presentation of the old arcade classic, but also the addition of online co-op support and scoreboards really bring this title into the focus. You probably won't find yourself playing this one on a daily basis, but it is a testament to the Live Arcade service as it can really add to your library of games and give you something to play in bursts every now and again.

The original 1990 arcade title of the same name provided an experience akin to the Running Man movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, essentially placing you (and a friend, if you like) in the middle of a bunch of ?rooms? that contain all sorts of robots, monsters, and baseball bat-wielding maniacs. The story is that you are involved in a type of futuristic game show that awards ?big money? and ?big prizes? (like VCRs, toasters, and 2600-inch TVs) for successfully killing adversaries and completing rooms.

To help out with the carnage, the game provides a constant stream of upgradeable weapons and power-ups. Weapons found within the game rooms include spread shots, grenade and rocket launchers, and even the occasional smart bomb. Power-ups range from shield upgrades to little floating robots that mirror the weapons you are firing (creating a double dose of damage). The other notable pick-ups are the aforementioned prizes and money, which you will find strewn on the ground throughout the levels.

Each of the game's three levels contains about 10 rooms to play through, but you can play these in a variety of ways, as there are multiple directions you can choose to go. At the end of each level you must fight a boss character, and these battles still stand out today because of the wackiness of the boss design and the amount of space they take up on the screen.

Smash TV controls pretty much like it did in the arcades, allowing you to use the two thumbsticks for movement and aiming/shooting (or the d-pad and face buttons for more accurate retro action). The 360 wireless controller responds well to all of the action on screen, meaning you'll be able to properly strafe around the many rooms without a hitch or delay.

What really brings the 360 version of Smash TV above its original release is the inclusion of leaderboards and online co-op play. The leaderboards allow for stat tracking for those that beat the game and collect lots of prizes, and the online multiplayer really helps add some value to the title, as co-op Smash TV really feels frantic and fun (like co-op games are supposed to). There are also achievements for Smash TV, but some of them are so ridiculously hard that it's hard to conceive of them being completed ? beat the game without continuing? Whaaa?? Regardless, the achievements do add some more value to this already affordable title (400 marketplace points = 5 bucks).

The presentation of the game is pretty much comparable to the original arcade release, albeit a little different depending on your TV setup. The graphics are colorful and interesting, and the animations on all of the goofy monsters and robots look appropriate. The sound is actually quite muffled, but it does still manage to have the charm of the arcade version, complete with wacky game show host who quips at you from time to time. Nothing really looks or sounds all that good in the 360 version of Smash TV, but it holds up to the original standard well enough.

Smash TV is completely affordable on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and it gives players a great representation of an arcade classic, complete with added multiplayer support. I'd buy that for a dollar? or even five.

Bottom Line
Smash TV provides a dose of retro-gaming fun that improves upon the original with some entertaining online co-op support.

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