Wednesday, December 15, 2021

South Park Chef's Luv Shack (Sega Dreamcast) - Review

 



The existence of this game is kind of shocking. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have stated that they hated the South Park games prior to The Stick of Truth and this game is a good example as to why. I am reviewing the Sega Dreamcast version simply because that is the version I happen to own. Click "read more" and let's take a look at this mess.



Writing


The story of this game is very simple. Chef is running a public access show called Chef's Luv Shack. His show is a quiz show with mini games that has the grand prize being a night of passionate loving with Chef. Unfortunately for Chef, they cannot get any ladies to participate in the game show for a different reason every time you play. So, Stan Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are the contestants who play only to win. 






It is a simple plot, but the shows humor (for the time) is still in tact. The game is fully voiced from all the same cast from the show. (Granted that is only 4 people.) The topics, questions, answers, and the small amount of dialogue are all in South Park style. Adult and dirty humor.


Wheel of Fortuitousness




The writing is probably the best part of this game. Even though it is very simple, it is true to South Park and is an element that makes me really want to like this game. 

Gameplay


The game is a party game that goes up to 4 players where everyone plays as one of the 4 main characters from the show. You can play 2, 4, 6, or 8 rounds which consist of answering some quiz questions, playing mini games, and the occasional random wheel that can effect points or give an extra minigame. Obviously, this game was heavily "inspired" by Mario Party. However, what is present is bare minimum at best. Easily the biggest offense of this is the fact that the game does not support and computer opponents and the mini games are not tailored to the number of players. 

Single play is without competition and depressing



The mini games are not much better. They are played at the end of every round, and occasionally an extra game if a random wheel spin lands on it. There is a decent amount of mini games, but all of them are either extremely simple, or blatant rip offs of classic arcade games. 






To complement a bare minimum campaign, there are loads of missing features. There is no settings menu at all or any option to play mini games on their own. Once you hit start, the game begins with no options of any kind. No save files are made either because there are no records kept or unlockable content. 

To complement every corner that has been cut, the load times are frequent. While only a few seconds long each, they really interrupt the experience. For example, it loads when cutting to Chef asking you to pick a category, once a category is picked it loads back to the boys to select an answer, an answer is given then it loads back to the category screen, and this repeats for every question. Basically, every time the screen changes in any way the game will freeze for a few seconds to load. Not the worst load times out there, but still quite annoying. 

Gameplay can be summed up as, lacking. From content, features, and just basic polish, this game is lacking in all categories. It really needed more development time.

Audio


Audio is a mixed bag in this game, but mostly positive. On the positive side, the voice acting is just as good as the show. Also, we do get an intro that features Chef's song "Simultaneous".



There aren't a lot of variety in tracks however. Just one for the game show and another for mini games. However, one issue I had, (and I am not sure if this was my capture cards fault) was that the game was mono. All my recordings came only out of the right speaker. Hard to fault the game for that considering it may be my fault, but since the game lacks any audio options it has to take some of the blame.  As a whole, the audio is passable with some problems.

Presentation


Visually, the game almost looks like the show. The animation is not nearly as smooth as the shows, not even for early season standards. The only areas you see are the gameshow set and various mini games which all look fairly basic. South Park has is not a franchise known for great detail, especially in 1999 when this game came out. So, a simple looking game that mimics the shows 2D atmosphere is better than turning them 3D in my opinion. It is not easy to really critique the presentation on this game; everything is basic and there is not a lot of variety. But, a title like this does not need too much variety. Still, the choppy animation is enough to call presentation below average. 

Final Thoughts


South Park Chef's Luv Shack is not a good game. It is one that I really wanted to like, but there is just too much wrong with it to give it any kind of recommendation other than a quick laugh with friends. There are no options at all, animation is choppy with frequent load times, several mini games are rip offs of 80s arcade games, any there is basically no single player with the absence of computer opponents. If you want a funny gameshow style game that is not necessarily kid friendly, I would recommend You Don't Know Jack. But, if you desperately need a party game on Sega Dreamcast specifically, I honestly think I would prefer Sonic Shuffle. Unless you are a South Park historian, looking for a bad game to rant about, or enjoy laughing at bad multiplayer games with friends, I would recommend giving this game a pass.

Writing - 6/10
Gameplay - 3/10
Audio - 3/5
Presentation - 2/5

Overall - 4/10

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