Sunday, April 14, 2019

Retro Video Game Review - SlamScape for PlayStation

Publisher/Developer: Viacom New Media
Vehicle Shooter


SlamScape for the PS1 is a 3D, behind-your-vehicle shooter set in a surreal world of bomb-throwing ferris wheels, deadly teddy bears, exploding balloons, bottled brains on unicycles, a Scary-Go-Round, a spinning seagull named Gullicopter, a monstrous creation called Crabzilla, and other bizarre enemies.

Your objective is to pilot a rocket-mounted pile driver called a Slamjet while shooting, blasting, smashing, and jumping most everything you see throughout four dangerous regions. Derived from your subconscious, the regions contain four heavily guarded Orb-Ids needed for level progression. Once you obtain these items, you'll take them to a central location within that level. You must employ a different strategy for each orb you wish to obtain.

Obtaining the Orb-Ids won't be easy as you're going up against 16 blood-thirsty opponents lusting for victory. While the default weapon is a Shockball, there are a variety of special weapons including Minetraps, a Fasterblaster, a Ripstar, and a devastating Torp, which is the most powerful item available. While flying in your futuristic craft, Nodensnaggers and Power Leeches will land on top of you, zapping your energy and draining your power.

SlamScape features a 3D graphics engine running at 60 frames per second and supports analog controls. Electro-rockers God Lives Underwater lent their musical talents for the interactive soundtrack.


If SlamScape weren't so limited in scope, it would be difficult to know where to begin this review. The game fails miserably in just about every area of gameplay. For starters, the Slamjet is terribly hard to control. It bounces around in the general direction you intend to go while spinning and sliding unintentionally into a wide assortment of strange but unappealing enemies.

Precision moves are nearly impossible to perform. When you do manage to land a shot, it usually just barely injures whatever you're firing at. On other hand, your ship is killed easily after just a few hits. You're better off trying to avoid most of your adversaries than taking them on directly. Needless to say, this gets boring and frustrating very quickly. To make this game even more of a pain, off-screen enemies suddenly appear without warning and leech themselves to your vessel, sucking your energy dry. As if the game wasn't difficult enough already!

Most of the better shooters involve the destruction of hundreds of enemies as many people play these kinds of games, at least in part, to blow off steam and relieve stress. Other gamers simply get a kick out of wanton (but harmless) destruction. SlamScape offers almost nothing of interest in any of these areas. If anything, playing this game will make you want to pull your controller out of the PS1 and “slamscape” it into the wall. Everyone needs a few hard games in their collection, but poor controls and undue frustration do not make for a fun game.

Included in this package are three music videos by obscure alt-rock grunge/electronic band God Lives Underwater. Although tolerable, they're not a great band by any stretch; their music is as hackneyed as their name. Sadly, the music videos are the best thing about SlamScape.

No comments: