It’s an ultra-hyphenated arcade classic! Far away in the distant land of 1999, you’re the star of a game show which involves you killing hordes of dudes and robots to win stuff like toasters. Unlike most conceptual blood sports, Smash TV isn’t about gaining freedom - contestants enter willfully to win great prizes. I’d buy that for a dollar!
It’s a hard game, sometimes stupidly so, and the design is full of quirks, but it’s all worth it - especially since if you collect enough keys you might just find your way to the secret pleasure dome! The dome is full of Smash TV models who want to molest you with their neon pixels.
Above: Eat our colors!
But don’t get too comfortable – here comes Evil MC! The host has apparently become a giant robot thing that shoots eyeballs at you. Not lasers out of his eyeballs, just eyeballs. This game is severely awesome (and you can download it on the ol’ XBLA).
To get a better idea of the game's awesomeness, and to see pixely bikini babes, watch the video below.
Above: USUALLY YOU GET ATTACKED BY GREEN DUDES, BUT SOMETIMES THERE ARE PURPLE DUDES! WOW! ...Even I don't know if that was sarcasm
Unreal Tournament (1999)
Competitive deathmatch became extremely popular around 1999, and Unreal Tournament was designed to satiate gamers' hunger for twitch combat, doing away with the previously standard single player FPS story involving keys and doors. All you really need are arenas and bots and good capture the flag and you had a hit among the hopelessly competitive. The game looked great for the time, and received some of the most positive reviews of any PC game ever. The series continues to thrive - though with significantly more competition.
Quake III Arena (1999)
Released just days after Unreal Tournament, Quake III Arena likewise did away with silly things like linear levels and reduced the concept of first-person shooters to a series of arenas populated with networked players and/or semi-intelligent bots. Oh, sorry, there was a story: “The greatest warriors of all time fight for the amusement of a race called the Vadrigar in the Arena Eternal.” Well then.
Quake III was praised for its graphics and refined, balanced gameplay. If you’re hip and stuff, you already know that it has been modified and released for free as a browser-based (but super fast and good-looking) game which is now in open beta at www.quakelive.com.
DeathRow has surprisingly little to do with death row. Instead it’s about a sport called Blitz – a super-violent sport invented in the future and televised for the masses.
Despite being relatively well-received, DeathRow only managed mediocre sales. It’s a shame, because for a made-up futuristic beat-em-up sports game, it’s pretty entertaining. Also, there’s swearing, which was apparently a big deal in 2002…
IGN: “Originally touted as having ‘realistic mature language,’ it was hard to understand just what that meant. Now it's clear. Many games with bad words just sort of throw them out. But Deathrow makes cursing an art form.”
GameSpot: “Deathrow's graphic violence and excessive swearing mean it's not exactly the game to get your kid brother, but most Xbox owners should find in it a highly gratifying experience that's equally well suited for single-player or multiplayer mayhem.”
Mania.com: "One thing you'll have to note when playing DEATHROW is the extremely foul language you are presented with during gameplay. And I thought the GRAND THEFT AUTO series was pushing it. Really, though, I understand that Ubi-Soft and Southend were going for this futuristic prison thing, but does the language have to be this strong?"
GameSpy: "Cons: Foul language; awkward controls, takes a long time to unlock new material."
Note: Don’t get your kid brother TalkRadar. Also, refer to swearing as “realistic mature language,” because it’s funny.
Oh Rockstar, you and your controversial games that are illegal to sell in multiple countries. Manhunt, inspired (like many of these games) by The Running Man, pits you against The Director, a deranged voice-in-your-ear which instructs you to kill gang members in gruesome ways (to make his snuff film better). Oh, and the police are in on it. The game was such a great talking point that it was implicated in a UK murder (the police denied the claim).
Manhunt 2 received even more controversy, and had to be toned down before release (Nintendo and Sony aren’t too fond of adult rated games on their platforms). Fortunately for our morbid curiosity, nothing escapes the internet. We pulled this video out of the ether to show you what Manhunt 2 would have looked like, had it not been censored. Be warned, it gets rather… cringey.
MadWorld takes place in Varrigan City, which has been fashioned into a giant game show called Death Watch. The show is, as you may have guessed, about people dying. More specifically, it's about people being killed... by you... in fun and exciting ways. You are Jack, an absurdly buff dude with a chainsaw for an arm (inspired by Ash Williams?), and you've got a knack for creative dismemberment. Sounds fun enough, and the Frank Miller-esque art style doesn't hurt.
MadWorld is scheduled to release this month, so keep an eye on our reviews to find out how the Wii’s matureyist game (next to Manhunt 2, perhaps), fares.
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