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South Park 64

 

 

1998 Acclaim

Nintendo 64

 

Whoever thought that a South Park game would be best handled as a first person shooter should be shot in the face. That being said the first South Park game for the N64 really isn't that bad of a deal, if a little shallow. You get to choose between Stan, Kyle, Cartman, or Kenny and walk around the town pelting cows and aliens with snowballs and plungers. It is a lot better than it sounds.

There is a loose overall storyline involving aliens and such and each level seems to take from a famous episode. The first level has you facing off against the Thanksgiving turkey horde, level two you fight cows, three they throw in the Pechewichomp clones, etc. You are armed with various funny weapons like snowballs, plungers, rayguns, etc, and you collect Cheesey Poofs for life. One cool thing is that each weapon also has a secondary attack, thus your snowball becomes a "yellow" snowball (with accompanying zipper and pee sound effects,) three plungers launch instead of one, etc.

The game starts with a rendition of the show's opening acted out by in game characters along with the show's music. It's pretty cool actually. The game engine used is plagued by the N64 fog of pop-in doom as most N64 games were, however the simple non-textured graphics move very smoothly and actually look a lot like the TV show. Multiple objects and effects fill the screen without much slowdown to speak of. There are some pretty good (albeit simple) graphical effects here and there, for instance some levels feature large UFOs that fly around and beam down clones or aliens while the game remains speedy.

At times the action can get a little hairy. Your default snowball weapon is horribly weak and it seems even common enemies take three or four hits to bring down. Ammo for other weapons is extremely sparse so you really need to save them for when it counts. Add to this the fact that you are constantly chased by a huge barrage of enemies at nearly all times. The A. I. here is pretty simple for the most part, enemy characters stand around and shoot you or run up to kill you, so to compensate it seems like they just packed in as much as the machine can handle. You end up spending a lot of time running away trying to find a position of safety to pick off the gigantic horde of turkeys or cows that just mob you to death. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were more ammo around, as it is you end up having to do this with the default snowball which can take a very long time. Add to this the too precise aiming and this can all end up an extremely frustrating affair.

Overall it does a good job of capturing the spirit of the show. Each character has their own trademark voice over (some of which are actually funny) although it gets old hearing the same "suck my balls!" every ten seconds. Multiplayer uses split screen and suffers from the same drop out and slow framerate that all N64 games do with this option, but it's not bad enough to make the game unplayable. The simplistic graphics and overwhelming challenge may turn some people off at this game, but those people are in fact, pussies.

Screw you guys, I'm going home.

Graphics: Non-textured polygons actually look a lot like the show.

Sound: Good music, excellent renditions of the characters voices.

Gameplay: Simple A. I. but overwhelming enemy count can make the game frustrating when it doesn't need to be.

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