Genre: Children Developer: Tahoe Software Prod. Publisher: Hi-Tech Expressions Players: 1 Released: 1993
All right! OK! Go ahead, say what you want, tear me down, I’ll take all of the rotten vegetables and extra copies of John Madden Football all of you throw at me for attempting to review such a girly game as Barbie Super Model. Oh well, my morbid curiosity at the thrift shop got the best of me and as a result my wallet became 90 cents lighter on this waste of a game. But yeah, I collect Genesis games so I’ll pick up just about any game that’s not pornographic, which is why this game landed in my collection. The funny thing is that I haven’t even felt embarrassed to show it to friends either, I also haven’t gotten much flak from anyone who’s seen it either, so I guess I that makes me feel better.
I’ll have to start with one point, I have no problem with kid’s games whatsoever. I am not biased towards them and won’t give a game a low score just because it’s a kids game that doesn’t hold my interest. That being said, Barbie Super Model is one of if not the most shameless video game cash-ins for a then-current kids craze I’ve ever seen or played (well, maybe second worst next to that lame Waldo game on the Genesis).
Before I even start going into the gameplay I’m going to mention the graphics. The visuals in this game are so plain and ugly that it’s almost scary. Barbie’s animation is so stiff and limited that you’d be hard pressed to tell that this game is running on a 16-bit console and not the Master System if you weren’t told so. The backgrounds are pathetic and endlessly loop maybe every screen or two. The programmers did just enough to get by with the visuals for their cash-in and that’s it; it’s just all out pathetic. The sound for the game is also borderline pathetic, there’s nothing but simple tinny blips and bleeps. I’d call the music in the game passable and nothing more.
The gameplay is where things gets really interesting. It’s composed of several mini games where you need to actually get a high enough score to actually finish the game, along with completing each stage without losing all of your life hearts. The majority of the game is played on a what looks like a beat-’em-up stage, except Barbie has to just avoid each obstacle or enemy. You have four hearts, and when you get hit enough it’s game over since you have only one life. There are four stages: you start in a car then go to the beach, then roller blade through a city then finally a stage where your walking through a winter wonderland. There’s also a final stage in Hawaii. Along the way you can grab point icons and purses which allow you go to a bonus stage that has you observing a picture of Barbie with certain jewelry and clothing. You then have to recreate the picture without being able to see it anymore. When you get to the end of each stage you a practice Simon-like round where you have to memorize a random four-button combination and then walk back to the beginning of the stage and input the combination again from scratch to march Barbie down the runway.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense because it isn’t worth playing to understand. It’s as boring as it sounds, and each stage is almost an exact repeat of the last with a few different visuals and some extra obstacles. You can’t skip those horrid bonus rounds since you need every point you can get, and they obviously make the game seem even longer and more plodding.
You only get one life, and while the easy mode is pathetically easy, you only get a few of the stages. The harder setting is actually quite challenging, though not difficult. The mentality and the simplicity of Barbie Super Model makes it seem like it’s geared for maybe three to four-year-old girls, but the harder difficulty setting will probably be too hard to finish for that young of an audience. For that reason, the game really left me with the question of whether or not the programmers ever decided which age group they were trying to target.
The more I think about it, the more embarrassed I am at myself for actually playing Barbie Super Model and reviewing it, and to a lesser extent even buying it in the first place. It’s that bad! I know I don’t have to say not to play this game because I know all of you wouldn’t dare touch it just for the Barbie name alone, not to mention for how bad it is. It’s one of those titles that doesn’t need a review to warn people to stay away. I don’t want to leave any game unturned for coverage, so hopefully my writing of this review at least gave all of you a good laugh!
SCORE: 2 out of 10