RPO Replay: Smash TV

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Quote

Aech and I had wasted countless hours on two-player classics like Contra, Golden Axe, Heavy Barrel, Smash TV, and Ikari Warriors.

Game Play

Smash TV is a frantic run-and-gun game inspired by the likes of Running Man and the blunt social commentary of Robocop. You play one of two contestants who enter into a game show arena intent on slaughtering hundreds of other contestants in a quest for fame, glory, and fabulous prizes. You play in an isometric view, looking down on your character as he blasts his way through waves of game show battle fodder. You spawn with a pistol and a protective shield, the latter of which quickly fades.

In the fast-paced moments that follow, you shoot anything that comes near you while aiming for power-ups like speed boosters, grenade and rocket launchers, shotguns, extra lives, and protective whirling blades. After clearing a level, you advance to the next room, where the process repeats. It culminates with the inevitable boss fight (the first playthrough features the oversized Mutoid Man) and then the process repeats with new opponents.

Impressions

Smash TV is my favorite game of the Ready Player One Replay (at least, so far). Sure, it’s a quarter-devouring monster, but like Robotron 2084 before it, the game’s addictive pace makes it thrilling to play. It’s even better with two people, as you shout back and forth about shooting or avoiding an aggressive blob of lesser contestants. The host’s “I’ll buy that for a dollar”-like commentary echos the advertisements and in-universe TV shows of Robocopand always makes me smile because how dumb and over-the-top they are.

High Scores

  • My High Score: 1,936,990

Resources

Where to Play

Commentary

Featured Image Meta

  • A screenshot of Smash TV in action.
  • Game credit: Williams.

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