Smithereens! is a game that proves that you don't need sophisticated graphics or complicated controls in order to have fun. To enjoy this game, all you really need is a friend, although having a Voice module doesn't hurt.
Smithereens! is the Odyssey² version of a ubiquitous early computer game that often goes by the name "Artillery Duel." In Smithereens!, two players face off across a medieval battlefield. Each controls a soldier, armed with a catapult, who is ensconced behind a tall castle wall. The objective: destroy the other soldier's castle before he does the same to yours.
Firing your catapult couldn't be simpler: pull back the joystick, hold it for a few seconds and release. How far your projectile flies depends on how long you held back. So, scoring a hit requires nothing but good timing. However, the catapult is just sensitive enough that you'll never be able to nail every shot, unless you have a superhuman sense of rhythm. Also, the enemy castle shrinks as you hit it, so that last tiny pile of bricks will be a hard mark to hit.
However, the castle isn't the only target on this battlefield. If you overshoot the enemy wall, you just might take out his catapult -- or even better, the soldier manning it! Knocking out either one gives you bonus points and a few extra seconds to take unchallenged potshots at the enemy castle. The winner of each battle is the first combatant to completely obliterate the enemy castle. A big point bonus is awarded to the victor after every battle. The winner of the game is the player who has the highest score after ten battles.
As mentioned above, the game has very simple graphics -- minimalist even by Odyssey² standards. Likewise, the sound effects are so bare as to be virtually nonexistent... unless you have a Voice module. Smithereens! is one of the few games where having The Voice is practically a requirement; the module is used to its best effect in this game. With The Voice, boulders make a loud whistling noise as they fly through the air, and cause a tremendous explosion sound when they strike castle walls. If you miss, The Voice makes fun of you ("Come on, turkey! Hit it!"). And there's also the plaintive cries of "Mercy! Mercy!" and "Ouch, help!" that enemy soldiers make after taking a ten-ton boulder to the face. You just haven't played Smithereens! unless you've played Smithereens! with The Voice.
You probably wouldn't expect a game this simple to be this fun, but Smithereens! is ready to demolish your expectations like so many besieged castle walls. All you need is a good friend who doesn't mind taking the occasional projectile upside the head.
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