Smash TV is easily one of the most exciting arcade games of all time. It's a game that is not afraid to throw hundreds of enemies at you and make you spend copious amounts of money on the beast. It featured a unique control layout and simply (yet addictive) game play that kept you riveted until the very end. Big money, big prizes, I love it!
But despite being one of the best arcade games of all time not all of the console ports worked out. Although there were a few cosmetic changes to the Super NES version it is by far the best port of Smash TV of any system in that era. The system's four face buttons made the game a perfect fit for the Super NES; ultimately saving gamers hundreds of dollars they might have spent playing it in the arcades. On the flip side there were the Sega ports, which found Smash TV on everything from the Genesis to the Game Gear. Unlike the Super NES, the Genesis was not the ideal place for a game like this. The controls were bad and the game was too dark, completely missing the feel of the arcade game.
Unfortunately it's the Sega Master System port that takes the cake as the worst version of Smash TV possible. This is a game so broken that Acclaim shouldn't have even called it Smash TV. All of the ingredients are here but this is one arcade port that is a little undercooked.
It's not hard to see why Smash TV is so bad on the Master System; for one thing Sega's 8-bitter just doesn't have the right control for this outing. In the arcade Smash TV was controlled by two separate joysticks, one that moved your player and the other that shot in different directions. This allowed you to rush around each room and kill whoever got close to you, no matter what direction they were rushing from. But the Master System only has two buttons, one that shoots in front of you and one that shoots in back of you. Some may get used to this awkward control scheme, but nobody would prefer it over what was found in the arcade.
Shooting the people around you is next to impossible thanks to this crummy control scheme, you'll end up dying simply because you can't shoot to your side without looking at (or away) from the enemy. This frustration only increases as you progress through the game and more enemies are tossed your way. Nowhere is this more of an issue than when you are dealing with the game's lengthy boss battles. It's nice that Acclaim was able to fit everything from the arcade into the Master System cart (including the two player option), but with controls this bad you have to wonder why they even bothered.
Nobody expected the graphics to be anywhere near arcade quality, but this 8-Bit port looks awful. The enemies pop around the level with terrible frame rate issues and this title is riddled with horrible slow downs. The room's themselves are considerably smaller than their arcade counterpart, which seems to work against you more than anything. Take into consideration that almost all of the animation has been taken out and you have a game that is really ugly.
Smash TV on the Master System is completely unnecessary. You know it's going to be bad just from the system's lack of buttons, so why even bother spending time with this game? These days you can find accurate versions of Smash TV on a number of game systems; by all means go and buy one of those before even looking at this Master System port. The writing is on the walls, Smash TV is not meant for 8-bit consoles!