South Park: Chefs Luv Shack
South Park Cable Access welcomes you to Chef's Luv Shack, the sexiest, sultriest, most soulful game show on earth. This month, EGM previews not one but two new South Park titles for N64. (Nobody can accuse Acclaim of letting a perfectly good license go to waste...) While South Park Rally is a Mario Kart-style racer, South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is an irreverent game show parody that tests your knowledge of South Park, pop culture and Leonard Maltin.
While the rules are similar to Jeopardy, the categories--Foul Balls, Styx and Twigs, Giant Japanese Monster Bad, Famous Gay Cowboys, etc.--are decidedly more offbeat. Like junior college, the game's questions are all multiple-choice, saving you the agony of typing on an on-screen keyboard. Here's a sample: Male vocalists without balls are known as: Geldings Unichs Castrati Backstreet Boys While we're all in favor of Backstreet Boys bashing, the questions--which were written by Acclaim, not Matt Stone and Trey Parker--are a bit sophomoric and lack the show's comedic edge. Still, you're sure to get the occasional chuckle or two.
On the plus side, Chef's Luv Shack has hundreds of original soundbytes created specifically for the game by Isaac Hayes (the voice of Chef) and South Pork creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. You also get dozens of multiplayer mini-games, such as Spank the Monkey with Mr. Mackey, Asses in Space with Terrance and Phillip, and Tethered Pheasant Shoot with jimbo and Ned. judging from the screens in the sidebar to the left, the creators seem to know their classic arcade games as well as their South Park Trivia.
And if you're really lucky, you might even get to see Cartman get anal probed! If you're a South Park fan looking for a good multiplayer game to entertain your friends-even those who don't particularly like video games--at your next party, Chef's Luv Sack might be the ticket.
Download South Park: Chefs Luv Shack
Imagine a large selection of both general knowledge and South Park-based questions presented game-show style and then interspersed with a variety of mini-games a nd you have a rough idea of what this is like. Developed by Acclaim Studios in Austin, Texas, the game is currently scheduled for a November release and is suitably puerile in its humor.
A Simon-esque game called "Spank the Monkey" anyone?
After the crushing disappointment of the idea-free South Park - a flat and ugly shoot-'em-up Jurok engine - the relatively simple ÆÿaÄ Chefs Luv Shack comes as somlMifqc of a surprise. It doesn't try anything special visually - in fact it doesn't try anything special full stop1 - it outright copies Mario Party's mini-games, and it only includes about eight characters from the show. But in all departments, it's far better than South Park.
Perhaps because it does things a whoooole lot simpler, or perhaps because it somehow remains truer to the original show, Chef's Luv Shack is a bit of a winner (and, from what we've seen this issue, better than the intriguingly good, but overly complicated South Park Rally too) - and the best thing about it is, it takes just two - seconds to get the hang of.
It's got Wheel of Fortune, ifs got Jeopardy, it's got Mario Party, ifs got South Park and most importantly, ifs got a barrel-load of spicy swearing. But the question is, is it really worth 40 quid?
If Mario Party was the perfect console board gamet then Chefs Luv Shack is the almost-perfect console pub quiz. Rather than Mazza's dice-rolling, family affair, Luv Shack prefers a first-on-the-buzzers quiz show with a dash of general knowledge and plenty of swearing for when the action lags. What the two games do have in common, though, are their mini games and, like Mazza Party, ifs this part of Luv Shack that works best.
Compared to the 56 that Hudson and Nintendo managed to squeeze into Mario Party, Luv ShadCs paltry 22 mini games look a bit lazy by comparison. Certainly, ifs not long into the game before you're playing the same sub-games again. However, unlike Mazza's slightly more^^ creative way of doing things, a lot of Luv Shades mini games are self-contained challenges in their own right, using age-old retro favourites as templates, and then tweaking them slightly. There's the knee- knockingly tricky Asses in Space, a fantastic Asteroids done with fart gags. Bad Kitty, a Donkey Kong take-off. the Calaxians-a- iike Bees at the Picnic, Scuzzlebutt, which is a bit like one of the old Game and Watches, and Pizza Delivery, a Paperboy- style bike ride. Mention should also go to Mr Mackey's chucklesome Spank the Monkey, where you have to follow his lead as he spanks one of his monkey's four butts. Top.
Undoubtedly, these provide the real meat of the game, though some are as short as 30 seconds, while the three rounds of questions that precede the mini games - whilst often hilariously funny - are really just a run-up to a top grade burst of frantic button-jabbing.
Even so, developers Acdaim-Austin deserve a hearty slap on the back for the sheer amount questions they've managed to cram in. Apparently there are a staggering 800, and although that doesn't stop some repetition kicking at around the two or three-hour mark, there's an enormous amount of variety. The fact that they're also split into three distinct strands - serious. South Park and completely surreal - means there's also an edge to the game, as you're never sure what to expect except that you'll very rarely have to answer the same question twice. Slightly odd. though, is the fact that the questions are divided into about 20 categories, and the category headings have absolutely no bearing on the questions at all. It's not a major criticism by any stretch, but it's bizarre all the same: the category 'Aliens, Asses and Anal Probes', for example, could easily be general knowledge.
If there's a serious problem with Luv Shack, it's that you might be finished with it a bit quicker than you would have liked. The mini games are almost universally brilliant, and generally offer far more of a challenge than Mario Party's, but they're not as dever and. worst of all, there's only half as many as in Nintendo's game. The 22 on offer are great while they last but it won't be long before you're trudging over the same old ground. And, because the mini games are picked at random by the CPU, you often end up playing the same games over and over, while others – Buckeroo and Chickenlover in our case - will hardly appear.
Kind of tied into this is the problem of having to buzz in when questions are being read. It's a fairly simple process in single or two- player games, but when there's a proper multiplayer game underway - and four of you trying to nab the points - too often you're just reduced to buzzing in as early as possible, even before the question has been fully read out, and certainly before you know the answer. Additionally, many of the mini games become just a little too cluttered when there're four of you, and a couple of them - Bees at the Picnic especially - are so obviously one-player games with three other characters shoehorned in.
Conversely, when you're playing Luv Shack in one-player, no other CPU characters play with you, so it's just you on your own. It would have been nice to have at least one of the other kids alongside you. just to add a little extra spice during fidgety rounds of buzzing.
But, even with these problems chalked up, Luv Shak will still make a top grade Chrimbo pressie. It's a triumph of simplicity and design, and offers a significantly different playing experience to Mario Party. In fact, it's the perfect companion piece to Nintendo's game and, as a bonus, has a fabulous South Park 'feel'. As Cartman might say. this kicks ass.