SNES A Day 38: Super Smash TV

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Approximate Release Month: February 1992
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Super Smash TV is about as faithful as an arcade port could be in 1992.

At its core, Super Smash TV is highly reminiscent of fellow arcade classic Robotron 2048. Both featured two eight-way joysticks in the arcades and have the player run around square arenas from an overhead perspective while dodging and shooting bad guys. Both are also fiendishly difficult. If you don’t want a challenge, Super Smash TV is not the game for you.

Super Smash TV‘s story revolves around the game being a televised game show in the distant future of 1999. This leads to hilarious items like Super VCRs and 2600″ televisions popping up as point-boosting prizes. There’s also an announcer that says stereotypically goofy announcery things – “Big money! Big prizes! I love it!” and “I’d buy that for a dollar!” are classics – which gives Super Smash TV a cohesively cornball feel that holds up.

In being brought over to the Super Nintendo, concessions had to be made for Super Smash TV to be viable. Most notably, the SNES lacks joysticks, so movement is on the d-pad and directional shooting is on the face buttons. It’s not ideal and feels weird, but it works alright. And given Nintendo’s strict content rules regarding violence during this time, it’s amazing that this game remained as violent as in the arcades. Enemies explode into a cloud of blood when shot, after all. Not to mention you’ll massacre hundreds of enemies in each room with a variety of ballistic and explosive weaponry.

But Super Smash TV is pure fun. There are a ton of different weapons, challenging bosses, and great cooperative multiplayer. This is a game worth checking out, even with the imperfect control scheme.

Tomorrow: I want to jump off a cliff whenever I play Lemmings.

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