The Show, Blurb On The Box and The Plot
I am sure that most of you across the world are familiar with the Cartoon shown on Comedy Central in the US or Sky 1 and Channel 4 in the UK, South Park. It follows the adventures of Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Stan with regular doses of adult humor along the way. I am a big fan of the TV series but I can tell you right now that doesn't automatically mean you or I will like the game. Anyway, here is the basic storyline that is told to you at the beginning of the game and next we have the features.
From the deep reaches of space, a horror approaches. Once in a great while, the malevolent forces of the Universe combine to form a force of evil so concentrated, so pure, that no bastion of goodness and decency can stand against it. It hurls through the Universe toward its destination...the planet Earth. The town to be victimized...South Park, Colorado. A quaint little town, nestled in the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Where better to terrorize good and decent folk...Yeah, right!
Installation, Intro and In-Game Options
Installation of South Park is a real breeze as all games should be these days. It offers you the chance to install DirectX and also automatically installs GameSpy Lite so you can get playing online far faster than usual. Once everything is complete it asks you to check out the readme (It also comes on a piece of paper inside the games box).
Once you start the game you are greeted with the obligatory South Park introduction sequence along with the title music from the TV show. The intro is shown via the 3D engine and is well made, which got me thinking that the game might not be so bad after all. Next up we have the in-game options, which are as follows:
Nothing groundbreaking but I will explain each of them anyway. Story Mode is where the main part of the game comes in. With this option you get to play five different South Park episodes including, The Visitors, The Evil Clones and The Turkeys. Once you click on this option you start a new game and then select one of the four main characters to play as. When you have decided who you will play as, Chef introduces you to a bit more of the story and then the game begins.
Multiplayer lets you setup your own servers, join games, pick you character etc. But for the new user, I would recommend using the GameSpy option that will be on your start menu under the South Park folder.
The options tag lets you change a number of bits in the game such as your controls, keyboard configuration, sound and graphics. Most of these shouldn't need changing as they should already be set at the best level for most users.
Gameplay, Graphics, Sound and Controls
At first South Park seems like great fun, especially to fans of the show. But this fun is short lived as the gameplay soon (And I mean 4-5 minutes into the game) becomes very repetitive. The gameplay is really just run around shooting everything that moves, dodge your opponents and pick up new weapons along the way. Here is a list of some of the weapons:
As most of you will know, South Park is a port-over from the N64 game. This means that most of the game is identical to its Nintendo counterpart, but we do have a couple of characters like Satan and Jesus who didn't make it into the N64 version. This also means that you can ONLY save your game once you complete a level, this can become very frustrating later on in the game when more and more enemies are being thrown at you.
Now the AI. The AI in South Park is very poor indeed, sometimes (Much later in the game) the AI can be very difficult indeed which is no bad thing at all, but for the majority of the game (From the first level really) Acclaim have decided to just throw large numbers of enemies such as Turkeys, Cows at you. At first when you see loads of turkeys coming over the horizon you laugh because It reminds of you of past South Park episodes, but when it happens over and over through the game you just think, gees can't they think of anything better now? Intelligent it isn't, repetitive it is.
Graphics are nothing special, but they do the job of showing a realistic South Park world. The 3D models of all the South Park characters are almost perfect, which makes you think they spent most of their time on the characters rather than any sign of gameplay. You are though stuck with a 640x480 resolution, with no option to go higher which is another disappointment in the game. There are also a number of graphical glitches during the game, this is most noticeable when running about the landscape, with some characters managing to walk through walls. You are also unable to break anything such as windows or buildings during the game, the only broken window you are likely to see when you buy the game is the one on the front of the box.
Cutscenes are good, probably because they feature Chef introducing each mission. This is where the new 3D look of South Park really gets shown off and it then looks great. These cutscenes are shown at the beginning of each mission.
Sound effects are also of a high quality, but yet again there is the big problem of repetitiveness no matter how big a fan of the show you are. I challenge anyone not to tell the turkeys to shut the hell up after just the first mission in the game. On the plus side, all the characters from the show are perfectly reproduced thanks to the cast doing the voice overs.
Multiplayer is probably the only part of South Park that most people will enjoy, playing against friends is far more enjoyable than going up against hundreds of turkeys. In the multiplayer part of the game you can pick from almost any South Park character you like, including Starving Marvin, Big Gay Al etc etc. There are also a few new weapons available to those of you who decide to play South Park multiplayer games, including some ray which makes your enemy start to dance and a Cow Launcher.
South Park offers colorful multiplayer environments which are a welcome change from the dark and dingy ones you find in Quake 2 or Unreal.
There is no doubt that fans of the show will get some enjoyment out of the game, but the actual game itself is pretty dire to say the least, there is so little to do apart from shooting your opponents, run and pick up weapons and health points you may well end up bored in just the first level. But if you want to play as Cartman, Kenny, Kyle or Stan and hear them repeat the same words over and over then this game is for you.
Version 1.0 UK
In The Box?
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