Comedy Central's cartoon 'South Park' is known for being edgy, crude, and full of four-letter words. Other Ocean Interactive's Xbox LIVE Arcade title, South Park: Tenorman's Revenge, is no different -- save for the fact that it's a video game.
As with most plotlines with the television show, SPTR has a rather nonsensical story where Scott Tenorman (Eric Cartman's half-brother) sneaks into Carman's room and steals the hard drive to his Xbox 360. Fearing for the loss of their precious saved game data of Batman: Arkham Asylum and L.A. Noire, the four protagonists of the show (Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Cartman) chase after Tenorman. The chase takes the boys first to the future where Tenorman has an army of robotic gingers, then back to present-day South Park, the forests of Peru, and Tenorman's lair itself.
The game itself isn't tremendously long, which is probably a good thing as it isn't tremendously fun either. A 2D platformer at its core, SPTR can be played either single-player or up to four-player co-op. Co-op is definitely the way to go as each of the game's four characters have their own talents. Stan, for example, has the ability to show his red hair to nullify Ginger force fields and Kenny has an abnormally high jump. Each character's signature alter ago (ie: Cartman's "The Coon" persona) can also be activated if properly triggered and serve their own player-friendly purpose.
In single-player mode, the characters can be hot-swapped (a feature added to the game post-launch), but the need to do so is so frequent that it's quite annoying. Furthermore, the levels tend to branch out from time to time. This provides exploration value, but much will be missed if playing non-co-op.
Levels are timed and the player is awarded with a medal at the end of each level based upon how quickly the level was completed (among other stats). Littered almost literally all over each level, though, are items that slightly reverse the timer every time one is collected, thus making it possible to end a level with a negative time. It's a nifty little gimmick of a mechanic, though it adds nothing noticeable to SPTR's overall gameplay. There are other collectible items as well such as Time Cores that allow the user to purchase levels from the game's main menu.
While gameplay won't blow anybody away, SPTR's visuals and fan service should do well for 'South Park' fans. The game's art style is true to the cartoon, complete with skippable cut-scenes that look like they were plucked right off of the television program. The same can be said for the game's writing -- complete with expletives and accurate interactions between characters. Even characters (both generic and otherwise) seem like they were taken right out of the show and plopped into the game. This includes the likes of AntiChrist, Towelie, ManBearPig, and a number of Dr. Mephesto's creations. Chef, however, was nowhere to be seen.
Fans and those overly familiar with the television show 'South Park' will find this game mostly to their liking, though they may have to play it in spurts because it gets dull fairly quickly. The fan service is nice, as is how true to the show South Park: Tenorman's Revenge seems to be, but it's just not enough to compensate for the fact that the game could have been made much more entertaining.
Final Game Guys grade: C
(Microsoft provided a copy of this game for review.)