South Park, now in its tenth outing, hasn’t really produced much in the way of quality interactive entertainment over the years, which is surprising given how much computer game influence has appeared in the show. Fans will remember Kenny and his Sony PSP fighting in hell, the Guitar Heroes Stan and Kyle, Cartman cryogenically freezing himself because he can’t wait for the Nintendo Wii’s release and the legendary episode featuring World of Warcraft. The good news is the developers of South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play have made a decent stab at changing this.
South Park LGTDP describes itself as a tower defense game, but this isn’t strictly true. In fact the first level presented in the trial version would lead people to believe it isn’t a TD game at all and may well switch off at that point. The player is only able to control Stan, and he is only able to throw snowballs at adversaries, not lay out turrets in strategic positions. Quite why that odd decision was made is unclear, but it would be a mistake to quit the game at that point.
Over the next few levels more of the tower defense part of the game comes in to play and more characters from the series are revealed. By the third level Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Eric are available, each with their own unique special skill and overall ability. Their mission is to save South Park from the ever descending evil, at least in Cartman’s eyes, that is Ginger Kids, OAPs, cows, gnomes, hippies and ManBearPig. Half man, half bear, half pig.
In the more customary tower defense strategy way, the boys can set various different weapons at points around the familiar locales of South Park. The hordes will appear in waves, and if the towers don’t completely kill hippies or OAPs, the lads can pitch in too, lobbing snowballs at their foes.
It’s possible to switch between the different characters and move them about the screen to collect the coins the enemies drop; these in turn can be used to upgrade existing weapons or place new ones. Being able to move about can be used to the player’s advantage as those not in play are controlled by the AI. This is useful and sometimes essential because the different waves don’t all take the same route through the level as might normally be expected in a TD game (this can actually be somewhat annoying).
The further into the game ventured, the more unlockable extras are revealed. For those wondering why the download for this title is nearly a gigabyte, the answer is there’s a hell of a lot of video clips from the show included. Each of these, available through the scrap book feature, explain where the enemies in the game derive from, and give some insight in to the history of the different characters. It’s a fantastic extra, even if the clips are a little on the short side.
The series isn’t really known for quality hand drawn animation and so the Xbox representation of South Park and its inhabitants is pretty much spot on, even the awkward movements of characters is reminisce of what’s seen on the tiny screen. The series is known for its outlandish portrait of violence and profanity, which this game has in spades; be warned, limbs, blood and heads fly everywhere in over-the-top cartoon humour. If you can’t stand the programme, you won’t like this either: you’ll get tired very quickly.
Although South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play has a slightly different take on the TD genre, making more of a cousin than a sibling, there’s still a degree of strategy to the game, but it does rely heavily on the show’s vulgarity. The South Park humour, which is a love or loath thing, spills over into the game, meaning the haters should stay away.
There are better TD games on XBLA (think Defense Grid), but for those people that get on with the non-PC nature of the show, and who have a fondness for tower defense games, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be garnered from South Park Let’s Go Player Tower Defense. I’m super serial.
Marty has been gaming since the heady years of the ZX-81 and still owns most of the gaming systems purchased since those days, including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, SNES, Jaguar, Dreamcast and GameCube. Being a collection junkie (or more accurately, hoarder), he buys more games than he can possibly play, far too many of which are still sealed in their packaging. Marty favours RPGs and Driving games when it comes to genres, and is possibly a little bit too addicted to Disgaea. When not gaming he’s out frightening OAPs on his motorcycle, clad in black leather.