As a beat ’em up fan, my intentions for Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans were to complete it in a sitting, go back to it a few more times to finish any of the extras, then perhaps a couple of repeat plays in local two-player mode. It was a pleasant surprise then that it’s actually quite a long game, and I took pleasure in steadily playing a bit at a time as if reading a good book that I didn’t want to read too quickly, savouring the experience as much as possible. That’s not to say that Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans is an outstanding game, but it’s a title you might want to consider for your beat ’em up collection.
Most people identify themselves as a film fan, myself included. However, we’re aware of the huge multitude of genres, titles and reboots out there meaning it’s impossible to catch every single film in a lifetime, so we perhaps restrict ourselves to our favourite directors or genres and consume as much as we can. Westerns have never been my thing. That’s no slur on it, it’s just not a subject that has interested me and though I’ve seen my fair share of older westerns – notably the spaghetti western trilogy, the names Bud Spencer and Terence Hill were new to me. Both stage names for an Italian duo who made a series of successful westerns and slapstick adventures, the game follows the pair across the backdrop of some of their films. What starts as a typical western, soon reveals itself as a film set where the two are just looking to get paid, but lured into a kidnapping plot.
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans is a side-scrolling beat ’em up that looks like it was lifted straight from the 90s, but with a 70s vibe. The graphics are very rough around the edges, but that’s part of the charm, and I was quickly drawn into the game – especially as there was an immediate range of moves and animations that complemented the characters. Playing either as Bud, the tank, or Terrence, the agile, you move from left-to-right bashing many baddies, picking up power-ups – and henchmen – to save the day and get paid. There’s a basic attack, power attack and counter. The counter is excellent when executed as either of the pair will do a comic eye poke or bash enemies’ heads together like something from The Three Stooges. The score is lifted from the films and works really well, as do the corny Foley effects of punching a cabbage each time someone gets hit.
I don’t recall changing any settings as I dived straight into the action, but the game felt pretty easy, even with lengthy stages. There were power-ups everywhere from frying pans of beans or mugs of beer that replenish health and which also serve as a makeshift weapon, so much so that I had to check the settings to find it was on the default medium. Not long after upping the difficulty, the game got trickier with the shooting sections. Several enemies will appear on screen with guns, and a crosshair will hover on the screen and float around each target. When the crosshair hits the target, you’re supposed to hit X. Once all have been accounted for, you automatically shoot, and their trousers drop a handful of times, and you pass the section. Run out of bullets or take too long and you’ll get pushed off the screen, lose health and have to try again. This was probably the hardest part of the game as you can’t control the movement, but again, not that it was difficult.
After knocking out a few enemies, picking them up and throwing at one another for the 100th time, Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans gets a little tedious, and it’s only the backgrounds and introduction of different enemies that it livens up. The seemingly endless moves and animations soon became limited, but I never tired of pressing the O button when standing between two enemies to have them knock their heads together. Unfortunately, the story is a little forgettable, represented by a few text pieces to read between characters. The banter between the duo is ok, but the NPCs are a little lifeless in what they had to say. There were also moments where it was unclear on what to do. As you approach an ‘interactive’ NPC, a triangle icon would appear. In the early saloon scene, I had spoken to everyone, attempted to climb up to the next level, but my character kept glitching and falling through the stairs. Rebooting, the bartender could then be interacted with, and I could continue. This didn’t happen again, but the game seems to have a few technical issues in places.
Whether or not intentional, there would be moments where one enemy would walk into play. Walking up to them to instigate in a bit of fisticuffs, four more characters would appear out of this one – characters of different sizes and shapes. It seemed a little strange at times, but on a few other occasions, there were moments when characters would get stuck behind the scenery, but off the screen. Unable to hit them, nothing could be down other than walking around continuously until they ‘dislodged’ themselves and came back into play.
Despite these flaws and so-so story, the characters themselves were charming enough and depending on the company you keep, the co-op play is a lot of fun. Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans also has plenty of mini-games, and while they don’t carry the game, they’re a much-needed break from the bulk of it as it can get a little drab in places – again, because of the lengthy levels with the same old characters. The presentation overall is excellent and captures the genre very well, but makes me wonder about who the target audience is (other than the glaringly obvious answer of beat ’em up fans). For me, the soundtrack was a highlight, but it’s very niche, and there’s bound to be many people who won’t warm to the music, but more importantly, the repetitive gameplay. Still, Streets of Rage 4 and Final Fight weren’t about the story or game modes, so keep that in consideration as ignoring the negatives, Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans would most likely have been a triple-A around the same time as the latter.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps And Beans Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Replay Value - 6/10
Forget about knowing who the duo are, Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill – Slaps and Beans is an enjoyable side-scrolling beat ’em up that can get repetitive, but broken up with mini-games. Any game can glitch, but there were a few too many occurrences that made me feel that it might have been a design choice rather than a fault.
- Cool 16-bit aesthetic with an authentic soundtrack.
- Easy for anyone to pick up and play – ideal as a co-op.
- Mini-games are quirky and mostly fun.
- A few too many glitches with characters getting stuck.
- The story is run-of-the-mill and forgettable.
- A little repetitive.