Xbox Live Arcade Review: Smash TV

Far better than the sequel it would spawn (Total Carnage), Smash TV is one of gaming's all time brightest action titles. It does almost nothing wrong, and it's one of the few games that can come close to the intensity of Robotron. That's not surprising given Robotron's creator Eugene Jarvis had a hand in this one.

Smash TV's design, set on a violent futuristic game show, is what separates it from its predecessor. Enclosed tightly in between four walls, enemies pour from four different doors in each new room. This confines the player even tighter, making any move near the exits a near death experience.

With its dual analog control, Smash TV was made for the dual analog control schemes we have today. The ability to shoot in 8-different directions may feel limiting compared to what we're used to in modern gaming, but it means each shot it critical, and a spray of fire is rarely enough to make it to the end. This also makes Smash TV one if the greatest quarter suckers of all time, wiping out a player anytime they make an even slightly wrong move.

Unlike the ports on 8 and 16-bit consoles, this is an uncensored copy of the arcade original. The excessive voice and bass-pumping audio work throws players right back into an early 90s arcade. Violence is completely intact, so you can clearly make out your eyeballs spinning in the air after stepping on a mine.

Additions to this version of the game are minor, aside from full two-player Xbox Live support. Co-op gameplay requires dedication to get through, as continues are limited on the default setting, and that's the only way to unlock Achievement Points. Most of these are attainable by an average player, aside from the ones forcing the player to not continue through an entire level. It will take nothing short of divine intervention from a higher power to survive the third and final level unscathed.

A perfect example of how right many classic arcade games are, Smash TV is a great accompaniment to any big budget next gen game on the 360. Its arcade roots make it a perfect addition to Xbox Live, and this flawless port only make it an easier purchase. This is a classic on nearly every console that featured a port, and this no exception.

(***** out of *****)

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