Liam’s Game Room #36 (South Park, Playstation)

Introduction

South Park is a first person shooter game developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment for the PC, Playstation and Nintendo 64 in 1999. This review will be covering the Playstation version because I have no experience with the other versions of the game. South Park was released at a time where there were a lot of movies and television series being adapted into video games with such titles as the Die Hard Trilogy, Superman 64 and The Crow: City of Angels all having video game adaptions in the second half of the 1990’s. However, contrary to popular belief, there were games based upon these licences that were good games like Die Hard Trilogy for the Playstation, The Lion King for the Genesis and Aladdin for the Genesis. This game was the first based upon the South Park franchise, however after the year that this game came out, there were not anymore South Park games released until 2009 because the creators of South Park had little to do with the games and criticised Acclaim and the disappointing quality of the games. After the release of South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defence Play in 2009, the creators of South Park were an active part of the development of all future installments of the game.

Story

A comet is on track to strike the Earth and has a force of concentrated force of evil that cannot be stopped by the force of good. As this comet closes in on Earth, South Park is over ran by a wave of enemies such as rabid turkeys, aliens and robots. The gang of Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle speak to Chef who informs them of the danger and it is up to them to investigate and defend the town.

The story of the game is actually quite good and really fits the theme of the show and the sort of storylines that an episode of the show would cover. However, I feel that there could be some more depth to the story to add some context such as why these enemies invade the town and why the comet has this effect on the townspeople. I think that the choice of enemies in the storyline is decent, but I feel that there could have been some more variety in terms of these enemies.

Gameplay

South Park is a first person shooter where the player is in control of Stan, Kyle, Cartman or Kenny and the goal of each level is to reach the goal, which is somewhere within the level. The main weapon used in the game is the snowball, which is the only way initially that the player can defeat the enemies that will attack. The player will also need to collect the other 3 characters to be able to complete the level because if the player reaches the exit without them, then the player will have to go back to fetch the other characters.

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 19.02.12.pngThere are quite a lot of issues that I have with the game, starting off with the graphics. The game looks really ugly and there is very little detailing on the building and walls throughout the levels. The draw distance is a massive problem because the player cannot see very far into the distance, meaning that will be issues with seeing enemies off in the distance. There were so many times where I was walking through the level and all of a sudden there were 5 or 6 enemies right on top of me simply because I could not see far enough in the distance, meaning that I had no chance of seeing the enemies in time.

 

The levels are really boring and there is very little in terms of building or details, which means that the level are open but with nothing in terms of exploration. The player can explore and find more weapons, but these weapon upgrades are the same power as the standard snowball weapon, which makes exploration completely unless. Also, the layout of the levels is more boring because throughout the levels, there are arrows that will point the player to where they need to go next and makes the game nothing more than follow the arrows. This means that without the exploration which is completely unnecessary the game is a straight line to the end of each level and makes the levels boring.

There is very little interactivity between the characters once the player has collecting them, which considering the game forces the player to collect them makes them completely unless. If the game had a system where each player had their own weapons or unique ability rather than simply being nothing more than an audio swap of quotes, then there would be have been more depth to the game. Instead, no matter what character the player chooses, they move at the same speed and they all feel the same.

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 19.01.39.png

The final issue with the game is how boring it feels as an experience because there was so potential that could be have used with the South Park licence, but instead the game feels like it there was no effort put into it and the game feels monotonous. The reason for this is that all enemies die with one hit and the more powerful weapons basically do the same thing as the stock weapons. The levels are empty and the pure white of the snow especially throughout the game is so bright that it hurt my eyes. I just feel that the feel and the design of the game is lacking so much and I really like the game for these reasons.

Music and Sound

The music in this game is barely audible because the audio levels of the enemies are way too loud in the mix. There are quotes from the voice actors who did the voices for the characters in the show, but the quality of these recordings are absolutely abyssmal. From what I can hear, the sound bites are bitcrushed and compressed so much so that it causes the quality of the sound bites to fall to the point I could not understand what was being said. The sound effects of the turkey that attack the player are extremely annoying and because they are so loud, it makes the game unbearable from an audio standpoint. I was better off having some other music on because the turkey gobbles is one of the worst sound effects I have ever heard in a video game.

Conclusion

South Park for the Playstation is a complete and utter mess with no redeeming factors to save it from being one of the worst games I have ever played. The only slight positive would be the fact that the story would fit well in an episode of South Park and is true to the style of the show. However, the graphics are awful, the draw distance is so bad that enemies and buildings will pop out of nowhere, even though the enemies won’t deal much damage to the enemy. The music is drowned out in a sea of bitcrushed sound bites and awful sound design that will drive the player crazy. There was a lot of potential that this game did not even try to meet and it ends up being a boring game that looks atrocious. I found Cheetahmen 1 to be a much more interesting game in terms of gameplay and design then South Park and Cheetahmen 1 was an unlicensed NES game.

2/10

Copyright ©2017 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use

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