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PC / Review / South Park
South Park
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Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Iguana
ESRB Rating: R/P
Graphics: 3.5
Control: 2.0
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Review by: Willem Knibbe
Posted: 01/01/00 [view screens]

South Park is meant to be a shooter for the masses--a fun little romp that allows you to spend some time with the lovable brats from the popular TV show. Hardcore fans of the show will probably get a few chuckles from this accessible game; hardcore gamers, on the other hand, will be sorely disappointed. This first-person shooter is so repetitive and linear that you'll be bored before you even get to the funniest weapons.

Iguana and Acclaim definitely succeed in bringing the show's atmosphere and irreverence to the PC. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman are voiced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, with Isaac Hayes Chefing it up in fine style. All their signature lines--"shweeeeet," "cool dude," "kickass," "I'm gonna kick you in the nuts"--are here. And though it's a shock to see everyone rendered in 3D instead of the show's flat 2D, you get used to it.

The game's plot, which features hilarious cut-scenes, even sounds like an episode of the TV show: When an approaching meteor wreaks havoc on the small town, the foul-mouthed foursome must save South Park by disposing of various menaces over five episodes of three to four stages each.

You face off against a seemingly endless gaggle of attack turkeys, then deal with tons of Big Gay Al, Jimbo, and Officer Barbrady clones, then dispatch herd upon herd of cows dropped by aliens, then eliminate a bajillion robots before finally waxing a bunch of toys-gone-bad. In classic console style--the game is a hit on the N64--you smush minions and sub-bosses called "tanks" before taking out a Boss in the final stage.

But getting to that final stage is just so insufferable. The game's designers seem to think that hundreds of enemies per level makes for an adrenaline-filled, action- packed festival of fun. Instead, the game quickly becomes a simple matter of back up and fire, back up and fire. This repetition is even more painful since--again, in console fashion--you can only save between stages. So once the game gets mildly challenging (in Episode 3), dying means you're forced to replay long, linear levels in which you know exactly how many enemies are coming after you as soon as you round the corner, venture through the door, or go up the ramp.

Eventually, even the characters' humorous signature lines lose their ability to make you laugh--you know it's bad when you can understand everything Kenny says.

The weapons-toilet-plunger gun, cow launcher, Terrence and Philip fart dolls, the warpo ray--are clever and funny, but there isn't enough ammo for them. You're invariably left to backpedal and huck snowball after pee-covered snowball at the approaching enemies as you stifle your yawns.

The well-executed multiplay game will wake you up somewhat. You can be one of 24 characters from the show and play on 26 multiplayer maps, and it's easy to find Internet games for up to eight via the integrated GameSpy Lite server browser. The games are enjoyable, but that's due more to the nature of first-person multiplay than to anything special about the game itself. It's always more fun to frag humans than to face off against the AI--and that goes double for this repetitive single-player exercise.

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