=2. SMASH TV (97%, issue 15)

Turn on, tune in, drop dead!

Ocean’s frantic 1991 shooter was all about a violent game show of the future. Contestants get killed in the pursuit of big, big prizes. That’s entertainment, eh?

You guide your contestant through a maze of rooms, each of which are filled with stuff that can royally screw you up: there are killer droids, tanks, bombs and minefields. There’s no way out of a room until you finish off everything that moves!

Along the way (and when you kill stuff), you pick up prizes: there are giftwrapped TVs, money, gold, and bonuses that will give you extras lives or bombs or shields. Occasionally, a door will appear tempting you into a bonus room with yet more prizes – but it is difficult to reach and you could die trying to win that speedboat.

As Commodore Format’s review of the time says, easily the most impressive thing about Probe sofware’s conversion of this arcade game is the sheer speed of the thing. It never seems to let up no matter how many sprites get onto the screen, and pretty much everything from the coin-op original is there (“The only thing missing was the snake boss”, programmer Nicholas Jones told us on our Facebook page. “It was coded and working in the game but there was absolutely no memory for the sprites. This was the only thing that I remember had to be taken out”.)

In fact, it was also lacking the two-player mode, and you can easily see what fun it would be with one. (EDIT, November 2015: in fact, the game does have a two player mode. This information was taken from CF’s original review. Thanks to those who pointed it out!) But that is the only real concession to an absolutely huge, unique, slick slab of game that you really can’t go wrong with. CF

CF SAID: “One of the most frenetic titles ever”. 

WE SAY: Non stop brutal action and just absolutely enormous!