Cover art (Colecovision version)
|Developer(s)||Interphase Technologies Inc.|
Uriah Barnett (MSX version)
|Distribution||Cartridge, Disk, Tape|
Squish'em, also known as Squish'em Sam, is a video game published in 1983 for a number of home computers as well as the Colecovision game console. It was designed by Tony Ngo and published by Sirius Software. The Colecovision version features digitised speech without additional hardware and was published as Squish'em Featuring Sam. The game is the sequel to Sewer Sam. Unofficial homebrew remakes of the game were released for Windows in 2003 and the Atari 2600 in 2007.
Squish'em is a vertically scrolling game likened to the 1980 arcade game Crazy Climber. Players guide Sam to the top of uncompleted 48 storey buildings in order to collect suitcases of money. Each time Sam reaches the top of a building he grabs the money and parachutes down in order to attempt the next building. Each building is represented by a grid of girders connected vertically and horizontally in different patterns, sometimes there is only a single way up to the next storey of the building. The style of buildings does not change, but the grid layout and colors change as Sam progresses through the game. Sam moves by shimmying horizontally across the grid and climbing upwards, once he has moved up a storey he cannot climb back down.
The buildings are patrolled by dangerous enemies which move horizontally across the grid. Debris is dropped from above which Sam must avoid. Making contact with an enemy without jumping on them or being hit by falling debris results in Sam being knocked from the building and losing a life. The player starts the game with four lives, extra lives can be collected during play and up to 128 can be held by the player. Enemies can be 'squished' by being jumped on, they can also be jumped over or avoided by ascending to the next storey. Once an enemy has been squished it is rendered harmless for a short period, before turning white and becoming invulnerable. Once an enemy has turned white they must be avoided or jumped over, jumping over enemies is more difficult than landing on and squishing them. As play progresses enemies become taller and faster, making them harder to squish or avoid. The falling debris prevents players from climbing too many storeys at once, therefore enemies must be avoided skillfully in order to prevent Sam being cornered by a now invulnerable enemy which is too tall to be easily jumped over.
In the Colecovision version of the game digitised speech is employed when Sam performs certain actions, for instance he exclaims "squish 'em" after successfully attacking an enemy and "money, money, money" after collecting the suitcase at the top of each building. It is one of the few Colecovision games to contain speech, as unlike the rival Intellivision console the Colecovision lacks a speech module.
Craig Holyoak of Deseret News rated the Colecovision version 3 out of 5, praising the game's voice effects but criticized it for being unoriginal, despite the boundaries of technology being pushed. He stated that the game contains "...plenty of cute...", enabling it to appeal to all ages and both genders. He also stated "... there is little new here that will keep an experienced gamer long at the screen." Holyoak played the game intensely for a number of days, but lost interest after mastering the ability to squish the more dangerous enemies. He finished by stating "...if you are less jaded and are looking for a climbing game with a new twist, Squish 'em may well be it."
Allgame's Brett Weiss praised the Colecovision version of the game's smooth learning curve in a retrospective review. He stated "Unlike many home videogames in which you can recall a specific level that the action started getting hard in, the transition from easy to challenging in this game is almost invisible." He praised the game's animation, but added "...the graphics are clean and solid, but are lacking in an abundance of detail." Weiss criticized the game's repetitiveness, stating that it is "...fun, but it borders on redundant. Building after building after building, the objective is the same." He stated that a bonus level or different building types would have improved the game. "Overall, the game is a solid addition to any gamer's ColecoVision library, especially those who are crazy about climbing."
- The cover of Atari version shows "Squish'em" as game's title (see http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-squish-em_4967.html), while Colecovision's one says "Squish'em Featuring Sam" (see http://spong.com/asset/187212/3/11016877/entity)
- Holyoak, Craig (June 13, 1984). "A Game to Spur Shrieking, Sneaking and Talking Back". Deseret News (Deseret News Publishing Company): 75.
- Weiss, Brett. "Overview - Squish'em Featuring Sam". allgame. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Weiss, Brett. "Review - Squish'em Featuring Sam". allgame. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Squish 'em at Lemon 64