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Daily Espada Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Daily Espada may offer big money and big prizes, but I don't love the technical problems. Marred by crashes and inconsistent voice acting, players have to put up with a lot to fight through this violent game show. Thankfully the fun combat and intriguing story make Daily Espada worth playing. Rating: 71%
Daily Espada
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  • Review Score:

  • B
If you're anything like me, then you've always been a little curious about the backstory in Smash TV. As an arcade game, this Midway classic is one of the most exciting shooters of all time. But what's the deal with these two steroid-fueled contestants? Are they simply suicidal thrill-seekers, or are they risking everything to take care of a loving family back at home? These are the questions Daily Espada attempts to answer. But don't get too excited, because there's no Pleasure Dome at the end of this game.

Daily Espada is the name of an ultra-violent TV game show that pits contestants against a series of nasty monsters for big money and prizes. After being dropped onto the dimly-lit studio, our hero is tasked with collecting a series of keys from four massive bosses. Collect enough of these keys and he'll be able to leave the Daily Espada set and live happily ever after with his wife and daughter.

The good news is that our hero isn't defenseless. He may drop in with no weapons, but it won't take long before he finds a powerful sword and learns various special attacks. To give the contestants a fair chance, the game show equips the player with a layer of protective armor. This will allow the man to transform and pull off air combos, summersaults and a whole bunch of other moves designed to keep viewers glued to the seats.

The 2D side-scrolling action is both simple and fun. Each floor is split up into a series of rooms, each with their own enemies to defeat and treasure chests to open. This is how our hero will unlock experience points that can be used to equip the various special attacks. Once you feel up to the task, it's time to take on the boss, collect the key and come one step closer to reuniting with your family.

Daily Espada (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While the action is solid, there are a number of elements that left me cold. For one thing, the game is incredibly short, clocking in at just barely over an hour. The brevity may be a good thing, as the various levels aren't different looking enough to maintain the illusion. There came a point where I wished for more variety between floors, but alas, almost everything is drenched in shadows and looks the same.

Speaking of the presentation, the voice acting is all over the place. Between some of the casting choices and some audio mixing issues, I found the use of dialog to be distracting. This is especially bad when the bosses show up to taunt and throw insults at the contestant. Not only does it feel woefully out of place, but it took me completely out of the experience. The enemies would have been significantly more terrifying if they remained silent.

It's also worth noting that the game crashed on me repeatedly. While the first two floors didn't give me any troubles, the next two were riddled with unexpected errors. The game has a tendency of just dumping me back to the desktop without warning, something that happened more often than I'm comfortable with. The good news is that there are a lot of checkpoints and you won't lose much progress when the game crashes.

Daily Espada (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While the technical problems get in the way, I was surprised how interested I was in the story. We get updates from the family back home, allowing the contestant to see how his efforts are helping his wife and daughter. This ends up going in a dark direction that I really appreciated. You begin to see the impact the stress of a life and death reality TV has on the loved ones, and the payoff is worth it.

Even with the technical issues and a short run time, Daily Espada is a retro-inspired action game worth checking out. The combat is a lot of fun and the story goes in a few unexpected directions. It's not perfect, but I enjoy its take on television game shows and the repercussions they have. I'd buy that for a dollar.
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