||South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
Get down with the South Park gang - Review By Fragmaster
In the early days of television, game shows were pretty darn popular. More recently, they've made a comeback of sorts thanks to "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and other shows that offer players the opportunity to win insane amounts of money. So it's not really a surprise that the Dreamcast has been "blessed" with a home version of a game show that allows players to compete for a grand prize total of… errr… $12 (and a sweaty weekend with a food service worker).
Yes, South Park: Chef's Luv Shack pits lovely swimsuit models against each other in order to win a weekend with the show's host, the infamous Chef. Unfortunately, there's a shortage of swimsuit models in South Park, and the only contestants they can find are Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny. You and up to three other friends must answer wacky trivia questions, slug it out in over 20 mini-games, and endure Chef's belittlement in order to come out on top. Err… not literally, of course.
If you like South Park, you'll immediately notice that the game is very faithful to the show, especially in the graphics department. South Park's poorly animated construction paper cutout look is emulated very nicely. In fact, in many cases the game looks better than the show.
Chef's Luv Shack is really faithful to the South Park license, you can almost taste the construction paper.
Of course, Chef's Luv Shack features the crude humor you'd expect from a South Park game, which is why the game sports an "M" rating.
Since Chef's Luv Shack is a party game, it's been designed to be very easy to play. The interface is very simple and the only controls are the D-pad and A\B buttons. You start out by selecting the number of players (up to four). Then you select your character and the amount of rounds you want to play on the Luv-O-Meter. You can select Quickie (2 rounds), Fore-Play (4 rounds), Good Luvin' (6 rounds), or Hot & Heavy (8 rounds).
Each round consists of three trivia questions, which you can select from one of three categories. Pick your category and you get a question with four possible answers. Be the first to answer within the time limit and you get points. Get it wrong and you lose points. Pretty simple.
To make things more interesting, you can "shaft" your opponent. After you buzz in to answer a question, you can hit B and select another player to shaft. Shafted players must answer the question. If they get it right, they get double the points, if they get it wrong, they lose double the points. Shafted players can pass the shaft to someone else (except for the player who shafted them), but eventually someone will have to answer. You'll also occasionally run into "special situations" after selecting a category. There's the "Wheel of Fortuitousness," that you can spin and win anything, including nothing, a round in jail, or pressure rounds in which you have to answer 10 true or false questions in ten seconds. Get too many wrong and you'll get the anal probe. There's also double down, a rip-off of Jeopardy's Daily Double.
Oh no, the Wheel of Fortuitousness! Maybe if you're lucky you'll win... nothing!
After answering the three trivia questions, it's off to a mini-game. There are twenty simple mini-games to choose from, each of varying quality. Standouts include "Asses In Space," an Asteroids clone with "ass-teroids" replacing the asteroids, "Bees at the Picnic," which is much like Space Invaders or Galaga, Pizza Patrol (Paperboy), and "Bad Kitty" (Donkey Kong). There's also "Eat This," a button masher that involves eating pie as quickly as possible, "Go Karts," "Tug Oh War," and "Spank the Monkey with Mr. Mackey," which thankfully is a memory game like Simon.
Upon completion of the mini-game, you get a tally of scores, and then it's on to the next round. Whomever has the most points at the end of the game wins. Oooh!
Thankfully, the game manages to be somewhat entertaining and funny… with categories like "Famous Gay Cowboys" and "Whore is Well," how can you go wrong? There seems to be a good variety of questions too, and no, a working knowledge of the South Park universe isn't required to kick ass. Very few questions are South Park specific.
The voice acting is great, which is no surprise since Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Isaac Hayes reprise their roles from the show. The music is average and avoids being too repetitive.
There's a lot of stuff wrong with Chef's Luv Shack, but the biggest is that it's absolutely useless as a single player game. There is no computer AI, so you can only play with yourself (eww) and thus, you'll always win no matter what. This is strictly a multiplayer game.
Some of the mini-games, like Tug Oh War, are especially dumb.
The load times are also pretty awful. You'd think it wouldn't take long to load the simple 2D graphics, but it does. Boo! Waiting sucks, especially at such frequent intervals.
The gameplay tends to get old, especially once you've played through it a couple times. Some of the mini-games are really crappy, and once you've seen all the jokes Chef's Luv Shack transforms into just another You Don't Know Jack clone.
Like the show, the animation is crap. The sound also gets really repetitive, due to the lack of voice samples.
The Final Word
In the end, South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is just a mediocre trivia game with a South Park license and some simplistic mini-games to serve as a distraction. If you're a big fan of South Park and want a game to play at parties, it might be worth a look. Otherwise, just stick with playing Trivial Pursuit against your cat or something.
Highs: Pretty funny, some fun mini-games, decent trivia.
Lows: Gets old, multiplayer only, long load times.
Other: 1-4 players.
(out of a possible 10)
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