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South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack
There are hardly any South Park games released on home consoles nowadays, but back in the late nineties a trio of titles based on the show were developed.
There was an FPS (South Park), a racing game (South Park Rally) and a party game (Chef’s Luv Shack).
Despite the difference in genres, they all shared one common trait – they were all at their best when played with friends.
It isn’t just a recommendation that you play Chef’s Luv Shack with friends though – but almost a requirement.
Set up as a quiz show, the game has you competing with up to three other players in order to gather the highest number of points (or dollars) at the end.
It’s as shallow as a puddle in terms of modes, with no dedicated single player option (you can choose how many rounds you play, from 2 up to 8 – and that’s it) but fortunately the main body of the game is enjoyable enough.
Each round consists of a few quiz questions and a mini-game. Questions fall into certain random categories, such as ‘people who eat people’, ‘aliens, assholes and anal probes,’ and ‘DNA holes.’
Sometimes questions are simple, and other times they’re purposefully random – making answering them a gamble. Getting one right wins you 500 points, and getting it wrong deducts the same amount.
You have to press a buzzer to attempt to answer the question as well, which inevitably makes thing very frantic indeed if there are several contestants.
There are some variations to break up the question and answer format, such as the wheel of fortuitousness (where if you land on a certain section you get a points bonus or are allowed to play an extra bonus game) or a pressure round – where if you get enough questions right a huge anal probe/drill is rammed up Cartman’s…well, you can guess where.
As you might expect, the mini-games are where the most fun is to be had, and most of the challenges are incredibly simple but perfectly suited to simultaneous competitive play.
‘Asses in space’ is an Asteroids clone for example, and has you destroying as many rear ends as you can before you lose all your lives. It’s easy to pick up, and with more than one ship on the screen things can get joyously messy.
A game that requires button mashing is ‘Eat this,’ which has you taking part in a pie eating contest. You have to press A and B to eat the pies, and the d-pad to get rid of the empty tins, and if you can get a rhythm is enjoyably hypnotic.
One other example is the Game & Watch inspired Scuzzlebutt, which has you moving left and right to bounce falling water balloons off a trampoline onto a tree (that’s on fire and has scuzzlebutt trapped on top of it).
Although each game is basic, they each have a slightly different concept or control scheme behind them, and there’s enough of them to stop the game from getting dull too soon.
It goes without saying that you have to play it in short bursts to keep it fresh though, but brief plays are what it’s seemingly been designed for anyway.
The game still holds up fairly well today as well – for two main reasons.
One is that the basic graphics actually depict South Park fairly accurately, and secondly there’s very little out there quite like this, even today. Sure, there are slicker quiz game experiences – but none of them have the cast of South Park.
The game admittedly isn’t as funny as the show, but there’s more than enough here to satisfy fans.
Overall, the anarchic nature of the show is well suited to the party game format – and if you’re a South Park fan this is an essential purchase. It’s fairly cheap nowadays as well.