TV Play Power


Review by Dave Giarrusso



Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 3

You’ve seen those “controller/game console all in one units”, haven’t you?  Remember the last time you ventured to the local flea market and saw Super Mario Bros. being played with an N64 controller?  But then it turned out that it wasn’t an N64 controller at all?  Instead, it’s a knockoff N64 controller with anywhere between 100 and 10,000 “different” games hidden away in its innards.  More often than not, these Taiwanese ripoff “consoles” merely repackage bootleg NES roms.

The TV Power Play is no exception.

Also known as the “Handy Boy” according to the screen when the unit is turned on, TVPP contains eleven allegedly different games (10 games + 1 bonus game! screams the package) most, if not all of which appear to be graphics hacks of existing NES carts.  In reality, there are only ten different games: GP Race and Racing Pioneer are hacks of the same NES game.  The unit could easily pass for a cheap third party PC or Dreamcast controller, and is powered by four AA batteries.  An equally cheap, eight-foot long A/V cord is packaged with the unit and connects to the A/V ports on the TV.

So what games are included?  Balloon Boy 2, Big Racing, Block Shock, GP Race, Jewel Master, Jump Car, Omega Zone, Race One, Racing Pioneer, Space Castle, and finally, Ultra Doggy.  Ultra Doggy is identified as the “bonus game.”  And now the part you’ve ALL been waiting for… a rundown of game descriptions.

Balloon Boy2 is simply a graphics hack of Nintendo’s own Balloon Fight.

Big Racing is a candidate for the “might NOT be a hack of an NES game” award.  However, even if it is an “original,” the game is clearly trying to be a strictly top down (as opposed to isometric) version of RC Pro Am.  In this one, “DJ Jungle” lifted the opening sounds of RC Pro Am, but slowed them down in a clever attempt to fool the consumer.  Way to go Jungle!

Block Shot is another NES graphics hack.   This time, DJ Jungle has hacked Taito’s Arkanoid cart for the NES.

Jewel Master is a Columns clone.

Jump Car is a graphics hack of the NES version of Bump N Jump.  Except here, DJ Jungle has transformed everything into a river/boat setting where you jump over land.  So, someone remind me, why’s the game called “Jump Car”?

Omega Zone is a graphics hack of the NES version of Galaga.  DJ Jungle has turned everyone’s favorite outer space shooter into a submarine (the Galaga ship) vs. octopus (enemy ships) battle.

Race One is another potential “non-hack” game.  It wants to be a futuristic racing game, but doesn’t even make it to the dizzying heights of 2600 Night Driver.  Technical note: this game is the only one that requires the player to use the “analog stick” (it’s not really an analog stick, but for lack of a better descriptive term) portion of the controller.

Racing Pioneer AND GP Race are BOTH hacks of the NES version of Rally Bike.  In Pioneer, you drive a car, and in GP, you control a motorcycle.  Who is DJ Jungle trying to fool?

Space Castle appears to not be a hack of a preexisting NES title, but is instead an extraordinarily poor Space Invaders clone.  Too slow, and way too lame.

Ultra Doggy is a bad Frogger ripoff that may or may not be a graphics hack of an existing NES game.  Based on the fact that all or nearly all of the other games ARE hacks, I’d bet that this one is too.  Slow pacing and bad control wreck this one, kids.  And by all means, if Ultra Doggy, Race One and Big Racing ARE hacks of existing NES games, please let us know!

Is the thing a complete waste of time?  Almost.  It’s not like you wouldn’t expect this kind of crap from a sweatshop game manufacturer.  And if you dig Balloon Fight, Arkanoid and Galaga and have absolutely no other means of playing the original games, this little unit might work just fine.  Until it breaks, which judging by the level of craftsmanship, might be shortly after opening the package.

Recommended only for those gamers who have an affinity for obscure, odball-ripoff video game items.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:34 PM