Smash T.V. is set in 1999 (at the time of release, the near future), and revolves around the idea that television has tapped into the violent aspect of human behaviour. It seems that only two things make for good ratings anymore; violence and game shows. Thus, Smash T.V. is born and contestants must enter into different arenas, and battle through whatever stands in their way in order to win. The prizes for success range from huge piles of cash to luxury vacations and quality luggage. So step up lucky contestants and enter the competition that makes the Running Man look like catch phrase.
The game sets itself out as a mix of classic retro shooter Robotron and an awful lot of adrenaline pumping action. Viewed from a top down perspective, players move from room to room with each room needing to be cleared of monsters in order to proceed. During the shooting of enemies, money and prizes will appear offering bonus points. A huge range of death dealing weapons such as rocket launchers and giant spinning discs are also on hand. It all sounds fairly straightforward, but Smash T.V. is one of the hardest games ever.
Upon entering each room, monsters will enter from each of the four doors surrounding the area. The difficulty comes as creatures endlessly poor into the arena, literally hundreds of enemies could be heading your way. Other aspects to consider include mines laid all over the floor, wall mounted gunners and the fact your standard gun would do more damage if you threw it at them. Each room turns into a frantic race to keep your weapon powered up while weaving in and out of the mountains of monsters, and remember you are supposed to be picking up bonus points at the same time.
Graphically, things are as good as they need to be with each room looking more or less exactly the same and characters do not have a huge amount of animations. But Smash T.V. is about more than just graphics. A wide range of different enemies exist in three of the main levels - meaning that you are never shooting the same type of enemy from room to room. Furthermore, each room contains a good mix of each with six or seven different types of creature coming at you on numerous occasions.
The somewhat functional graphics allow the game to fill the screen with large amounts of potential targets without any noticeable slowdown or flickering. Controlling the death-dealing contestants in Smash T.V. is also a work of gaming brilliance. Using the Super Nintendo pad in the best way possible, the direction buttons unsurprisingly move you around while pressing any of the X, Y, A and the B button causes your character to fire in whichever direction that button is situated. For instance X causes you to fire up screen, Y, to the left and so on. This control method means you have a fighting chance as you can run in one direction while firing in another. It also allows you to circle enemies far more effectively than many other versions of the game found on retro consoles.
Difficulty though is what keeps this circulating around the gaming circuit even to this day. Renowned in the gaming community as nigh on impossible to get to the third level (let alone complete) Smash T.V. has built up a reputation that leads to only the bravest of gamers trying to take it on. However, just because the game is difficult, does not mean it's unfair. Every death is fair in the respect, that nothing kills you that you cannot see coming, though most of the time you would need some form of intergalactic nuclear strike to take it out - but hey, no one said is was going to be easy did they?
Overall Smash T.V. is a thing of legend, an adrenaline pumping, hardcore title that has yet to be matched. Anyone searching for a challenge will need look no further than this. If you think you're a skilled gamer, then Smash T.V. is waiting to tell you that you're very wrong. Smash T.V. is absolutely unmissable.