|Big money, big prizes, I love it ~Mr Emcee|
It's been a long time since I last played this game on the SNES, I remember seeing it on display on an old 24" TV (flat screen? what the hell is that?) and seeing the near-arcade replication and thinking to myself "I must have this game" I wasn't disappointed at the time and in looking back, seeing the game recently again and experiencing it again, I've found that it's one of those that managed to survive the test of time and be almost as incredible as I remember it to be.
|Secret rooms not listed. (Hint: it's the blank room of the 3x3, approach from left)|
The concept is based off The Running Man, a Bachman book that was actually Stephen King, which then was HEAVILY adapted into a film with the ARHNULD, before becoming a free-for-all bloodbath (and thankfully so) with Super Smash TV. The idea being across all of them, that there's a TV show where contestants are allowed to submit themselves to be hunted down and killed LIVE on TV. In the book, it's set in the outside world, in the film it's a game show against specific "gladiators", in the game it's against an army of enemies and huge bosses.
|Mine, grunts, walking bombs, oh my!|
Controls are simple and I'm thankful for that much. The D-Pad moves your character around and the 4 buttons are your attack directions, giving it a bonus over the arcade game in that the twin joystick just wasn't as accurate as this set up. Collect items and weapons by just running into them and they're automatically selected or dismissed as soon as you collect them, particularly weapons as you'll lose what you had and immediately gain your new weapon replete with ammo, at the cost of your previous weapon's armaments. You also can collect landmines, in the 'immediately blowing up your body' sense.
|He's big, he's bad, he's... immune only to standard bullets, grab the weapons.|
Oddly enough, the arcade game gave away free lives if they players could collect them and that's carried over onto the SNES version in that the game has a limit on the number of continues the players can use. Having said that, the rest of the arcades power ups and systems are in place, ranging from the enemies that you'd find in the original from mobs with clubs, to robots with lasers, rolling tanks, turrets, snake trails, snake segments, buffalo, small snakes, snake men (why the snake theme guys?) and including the bosses in all their glory.
|You win! But it's not likely you'll live long enough to collect it.|
It's a very faithful adaptation, all the powerups are still there from orbiting orbs that double your firepower until they're touched, five shuriken shield, invincible shields, socks/speed up, presents for points, cash for points and finally (as I like to call it) the breath-taker, a nuke or smart bomb that gives you a few moments of peace to take a quick breather. Unless I start to really dig into the game there's very little here that's NOT in the arcade original and in some cases there's MORE than the original arcade had.
|ORBS! No really, there's orbs coming.|
These bonus extras include the secret rooms with their special pickups that can unlock the super secret room later on as part of the pleasure dome to give you the best ending of the game. It's a monster of a room that likely has more fighting going on in that one room than most of the game has to offer. The game really does love to throw everything at you, including the kitchen sink, which it will happily beat you to death with around the head and neck if you're fortunate. If not, it will CONTINUE to beat you around the head and neck long after they're gone and all that remains is a pair of crappy shoes. Yeah I'm not impressed with what you're wearing.
|See, told you it was in the bottom right.|
Key grudges for this game is that it is significantly, undeniably, slower than the arcade original. How this is the case I'm not sure given that once you've beaten the game, you get the 10x speed option to play through and it runs that very well indeed, maybe doubling the normal speed and having 5x speed just wasn't an idea that came to mind for the developers. Oddly as well, nearly all the sounds of the game sound like they were sampled from the arcade rather than converting the files down, nearly every sound effect has a slight, and it is slight, hiss behind the noise that gives away that it's been recorded and re-sample in this manner. Despite this, the third level has its own music rather than the arcade version (which ran the first level music again) and I must say it's well worth hearing.
|Outnumbered? yes. Out gunned? No.|
Two players working together should be able to smash (ha ha... god that was terrible) this game with relative ease and one player, playing diligently, ought to be able to beat the game barring some very unfortunate moments. My advice, stick the game in hard mode and leave it there, playing on easy or normal will stop the game after the first and second level respectively, play it in hard and enjoy it for what it is, fun, mindless, chaos.
|Bring on the gore!|