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South Park: Tenorman's Revenge Review

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On 04/04/2012 at 11:16 PM by Nick DiMola

I'd rather go Tower Defense play.

Not recommended, even if you're a huge fan of the show.

Creating a South Park game is tricky business, no doubt. It requires equal parts great gameplay, fan service, and humor. What makes Tenorman’s Revenge especially interesting is that it manages to fail on all three fronts. Stiff controls, a lame story, and poor level design make this one of the few South Park stories that you’re better off skipping.

Things don’t start off particularly well for South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge. Apparently as retribution for the whole parent eating fiasco, Scott Tenorman has nabbed his half-brother’s (Cartman) Xbox 360 hard drive. To get it back, Eric and the boys will have to traipse through time (after all, Cartman is the Time Child), constantly nipping at the heels of the ginger antagonist.

The time traveling basis of the story serves merely as a tool to bring the boys to a variety of locales in South Park history. What’s particularly problematic is that some content from South Park’s history is better left where it belongs. As odd as it sounds, Dr. Mephisto’s multiple-assed animals are sprinkled throughout the quest as enemies. While the Dr. Mephisto character served well years ago during the controversies of cloning, today he holds little relevance. Furthermore, it makes little sense that Scott Tenorman would enlist these creatures to fight for his cause when he already seems capable of producing a mechanical ginger army.

Plot and character shortcomings aside, the story that is presented isn’t engaging in the least. While you’ll come across characters like Mr. Hankey and Towelie, they don’t offer any particularly funny dialog or situations to appreciate their inclusion. The boys are even slightly out of character, offering up stiff interactions and soulless delivery of their lines, making this more a quest that merely features the characters rather than a production that shines because of them.

Fans of the show will undoubtedly uncover small tidbits of fan service throughout, but when compared with Let’s Go Tower Defense Play, it’s clear that the offering is minimal, at best. That production was absolutely inundated with show references, and while tower defense isn’t a clear fit for a game starring the characters, it worked well and proved fun with a group of friends.

The absolute opposite holds true here. There’s no clear teamwork required to best the various levels in the game. If you manage to get a full group together, it’s more likely that you’ll cause each other grief rather than effectively accomplish the tasks at hand. If you’re not all moving in tandem, you’re likely to be killed by screen zooming and scrolling issues.

This is in part due to the construction of the game. Clearly tower defense lends itself to four co-operative players, but as we have seen with other platformers this generation, making a game in the genre that works is extremely challenging, even when the game mechanically works fine.

At its core, South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge is a flawed platformer. The control is noticeably stiff, as players do not build up any degree of momentum when they move. Always walking at the same slow speed, it can be extremely challenging to hit longer jumps with accuracy. More frequently you’ll fall just short and be forced to either redo a large chunk of gameplay, or take a hit to your three-slot health bar.

While making your way through the level you’ll be collecting a variety of different items, all of which serve a different purpose. The most abundant are time particles that reduce a ticking timer at the top of your screen. In order to earn medals, you’ll have to collect enough particles to lower the timer to multiple minutes less than zero. This is noticeably easier with a group because you can cover much more ground in much less time. As just a single player, earning medals is nearly impossible.

You’ll also grab time cores, which will allow you to unlock levels in the game. With ten per level, they provide some impetus to explore your surroundings; however, that’s made extremely challenging by the scattered feel of the levels. The way forward is never clear – branching paths will spring up in the form of doors or ladders, but it’s always just a best guess if you’re progressing properly or exploring the expansive levels.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not much fun to move around, so exploration - which was clearly important to the developers - is something most players won’t seek to do. Given the ticking timer, it’s almost always more prudent to find the path forward and move along it until the end if you intend to register times good enough to earn medals. While you could undoubtedly take any of the levels in the game for another spin, it’s not a likely desire given their content.

Even worse are the attack mechanics, which are built on the old “jump on enemy head” stand-by in conjunction with attainable, limited-use weaponry. Because weaponry is rarely around when you need it, you’ll often have to resort to chest bumping an enemy to knock them down, accompanied by a subsequent jump attack to dispose of them. Because you must be almost to the pixel precise, it can be tough to hit enemies with either of the attacks. Jumping on enemies can also be problematic, as the ricochet off the enemy after the jump feels erratic and unpredictable.

Power-ups that turn the four boys into their Coon & Friends personas also fall flat. As The Coon, Cartman can climb walls, but everything else about him is kept constant. During these segments, you should feel empowered to quickly traverse an environment to collect items, but instead you’ll usually grab what you can and move on to avoid holding up the whole party. In most levels, these powers play little to no role, which feels like a missed opportunity.

South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge is simply a boring game that does not capture the soul of the show. Fans who have been watching it for years have nothing to latch onto here and when combined with the subpar gameplay, it becomes an experience that no one should endure.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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