I'm gonna spank you like a red-headed stepchild.
Picture the peaceful town of South Park, Colorado. Innocent children cussing at each other on the curbside. Genetic Scientists breaking the laws of nature with five-assed experiments in the mountains. Anal-probing aliens roam the countryside. Everything is normal in the town of South Park. That is, until, they needed to make a video game. So, the designers came up with some evil comet plot that really doesn't matter all that much. All you have to know is that you can control Cartman and kick your enemies "square in the nuts!"
In what is the most overused license in marketing history, South Park is everywhere. Aside from the obvious T-shirts, there are South Park dolls, jackets, Frisbees, balloons, bongs (no kidding), notepads, bumper stickers, shorts, pens, bottle openers, refrigerator magnets, telephones, and hats. That's just to name a few. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are laughing all the way to the bank, while the poor public is inundated with third-rate products rushed to the market to capitalize on the craze before it wears out. Acclaim paid big bucks for this license, and spent a wopping six months designing a game. While South Park 64 maintains the humor of the television show from which it got its name, the game itself is just plain boring.
In order to speed along the process of making the game, Acclaim simply reused the Turok engine. Thus, the graphics are decent. One might imagine that it would be hard to bring two-dimensional characters into a three-dimensional setting, but the folks at Iguana were obviously fans of the game. The animation wasn't hard at all; anyone who watches the show knows that they could animate South Park in their summer camp crafts class. For those N64 users with the expansion pack, this game takes full advantage of the higher resolutions offered by the upgrade. The designers did do a good job capturing the look and feel of the show.
On top of that, the sound is great! With little quips from all the different characters, fans of South Park will be laughing their five asses off. From Kenny's muffled obscenities, to the longest string of bleeping in the world, all the characters of South Park are brought to auditory life. Even Issac Hayes, that Shaft-singing, salsbury steak loving voice of Chef, makes cameo appearances throughout the game in order to instruct his little cracker children. I can dig it.
So, if it has good graphics and good sound, why isn't this game a winner? One word: Gameplay. In a nutshell, this game is boring. Wait, maybe that wasn't strong enough. This game is so damn BORING you'll want to kill Kenny yourself just so something interesting happens. I've been more excited by Tom Snyder than I have by South Park 64.
The level design is just plain awful. I suppose that's what you get when you rush a game from license acquisition to the market in just six months. Essentially, there are three backgrounds: the town, the snow fields, and a vast number of caverns. Just in case you wanted to spice up the gameplay with a little exploring, the game designers gave you arrow signs telling you where to go. That's alright, there's nowhere to explore anyway. You can't even go into houses that have closed doors! Every level is strictly linear.
The weapons, though creative, aren't all that fantastic. You have everything from yellow snowballs to dodge balls, and even that alien dancing gizmo. On most levels, it doesn't take much to find the weapons, to hide them better would have required the level designers to think (it wasn't in their job description).
"Well," you ask, "What about the enemies?" Are three types of enemies a level good enough for you? No? Me neither. Every level has three types of enemies: minions (turkeys, cows, etc.), tanks (Celtic turkeys, alien ships, etc.), and the boss. That's it. Imagine walking though a level and all you fight are two types of enemies, then you fight the boss. Fun? No. Boring? More than you can imagine.
On just the first level, after killing your 500th turkey, you'll be ready to shut off the game and watch reruns of the bass fishing network.
The only saving grace of South Park 64 is the multiplayer. Using cheats provided by Acclaim, you can play as most of the South Park characters, from Big Gay Al to that aforementioned love machine Chef. There are a good number of multiplayer levels to run amok in, and fans of the game will love taking their favorite character and kicking some ass. (Cartman's ass may take a few kicks, considering its size.) Unfortunately, the use of the cow-launcher ruins the multiplayer. Once someone discovers where it is located on a level, they will win, hands down. If there was some defense against having your head shoved up a cow's ass, I'd sure like to know it.
All in all, this is a half-assed attempt at a game. From Iguana, who people would expect to use all five asses when designing a game, South Park 64 is a disappointment. The humor from the show is there, but this game will find its way to that dusty shelf before you can say Skuzzlebutt. Though the multiplayer is fun, that too gets old fairly quickly. Rent this one when you need your South Park fix, and save your hard-earned cash for a better game.