One of the greatest flaws of humans is an inexplicable greed that can manifest itself into a simple ferocity that is almost beyond the concept of “humanity.” Indeed, greed can turn even the most sane human into savage monsters should the degree be great enough. Sometimes, greed will spread in a manner others will lose sight of humanity should an opportunity that can benefit themselves arise among the cacophony. A good example of this is the show “Survivor,” because the show essentially resolves a group of people who will go to the extremes for a cash prize, and the hosts can prosper immensely by showing these extremes. Regardless of entertainment value in watching these extremities of greed, it is still exactly that: greed, for both the players, and the hosts.
It is very likely that this desire for more has fascinated the directors of “The Running Man” which may later proved to be the primary influence for Eugene Jarvis. Eugene Jarvis is the brains that were behind the arcade game “Robotron 2084” where The Terminator is reality: Judgement day comes, and machines wishes to replace humans with robots. It was an interesting game, released on numerous consoles over the years, but how could Mr. Jarvis keep the concept fresh? He repackaged the controls, and put the game play style in a blender with “The Running Man” which gives birth to “Smash T.V.
Smash TV would be a friendly reminder to anyone who has played Robotron 2084. However, for players who have yet to experience that game, the basic premise is to eliminate all the enemies to advance to the boss, and win grand prizes like big cash and well made toasters. This particular documentation will focus primarily on the SNES port, but will also refer to its Sega 16 bit counterpart as both versions were technically rivals.
Firstly the story...to begin with, as this is an arcade port, there is virtually no need for a story. The lack of explanation but high focus on accomplishing the vague goals in arcade games is a huge part of their raw charm. Nonetheless, this game do have a story as is given to the player every time they loads the game. It is fair from remarkable...if it was released today as a complicated story for video gaming. However, as it is an arcade title, the story is perfect, if largely irrelevant.
Visually, the game is outstanding. There are virtually no issues with trying to see what is going on due to the contrast levels being sufficient, but not painful to watch for a while. It is an excellent arcade conversion for both the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo, and even the two 8 bit console ports don't look bad. The SNES version do stand out a bit more because it is slightly more colorful and appealing to the eye, but that factor is larger subjective and for the player to decide. Regardless, both games got solid graphics for this arcade port. The audio is similar to the graphics in that they made an excellent conversion to the console ports. The guns, explosions and occasional screams are all perfect for their intent of atmosphere. The SNES port do have an advantage over the Genesis version in the audio department because it uses voice acting with acceptable clarity (at the very least significantly better than the Intellivision voice add on from about a decade prior). However, both ports got a solid soundtrack that does not bring the contestant to their knees.
If the visuals and sound do not cripple the rather daring "gladiator," then perhaps how they are controller will. The game utilizes dual thumb-stick style controls, where one controls the protagonist's movement with one and the other controls where they aims and fires. This game was originally meant to be on an arcade machine, so the transition to a controller without analog sticks is awkward, to say the least (let alone on a keyboard). It works better with this version over the genesis as there are more buttons to work with, but that is also subjective as far as preference goes, and both versions still got similar issues with strafing. This is definitely a game some sort of duel arcade sticks or outside controller with analog controls is doubtlessly recommended. However, if the controls are not an issue then it is a fairly fluid, solid game. Since a large number of mindless drones (for all purposes intended) charge at the player, it brings up a significant amount of difficulty that is common for well made arcade games.
Indeed, normally games like this starts off easy then progresses to being unforgiving challenging, but since Smash T.V might lose ratings, they opted to make it hard as possible. The first difficulty, as mentioned, is mastering the controls but even then it is still a challenging game to those unaccustomed to arcade titles. Unlike Robotron 2084, the weapons are pathetically weak on the whole against the hordes of hostiles, and upgrades only last for a limited time. The game could theoretically never end, unlike in the arcade, due to a continue system being added which is absolutely necessary for beginners even on easy. It is, however, a very legitimate difficulty that is common for games of the time period, so the difficulty is actually perfect in that respect.
The SNES port do have on problem though: items are a lot harder to pick up than in the Genesis port. It is not because of a complicated item grabbing system (it's just simple run over and grab by touching it) but because sometimes the game will not let the player go to where the items falls, plus the items vanishes very quickly. The Genesis version, while having a quick item vanishment, isn't as bad as the SNES port and the player can grab all of the items lying around (mainly prize money and the occasional weapon).
In conclusion, is this game worth looking at? If the player enjoys any arcade games, and is looking for a challenge that will last, then Smash T.V is strongly recommended. At the end of the day, Smash T.V is a 90's version of Robotron 2084 and various other games of that styling from the 80's. It made several good console ports then and is available through Xbox Live in the modern day of age (as of this documentation). If the player wishes to proceed they better, in the words of AC/DC, "pick up their balls, load up their cannons for a 21 gun salute" for Eugene Jarvis deserves said for making this excellent title.