South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is Jeopardy gone juvenile. Fans of South Park will have few problems answering the trivia questions related to South Park and pop culture. Video gamers should like the mini-games which include bastardized versions of classic arcade games like Asteroids, Galaga, and Donkey Kong.
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is not without flaws. People who do not watch South Park will be totally in the dark. Many questions pertain to the show and particular episodes, so unless you have seen and can remember the plot points from each episode of the show, you will have to guess at the answers.
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is also a game that has very little single-player value. This game was meant to be played by more than one person. So while you can go solo, Chef's Luv Shack is much more fun with some competition. The game does not use computerized players, so if you play a solo game, you compete only against yourself.
Graphically, Chef's Luv Shack is very true to South Park's animation style. It's all two- dimensional stuff, and mimics the computer-generated construction paper cutouts utilized by show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Some gamers will view this as a waste of the Nintendo 64's power, but I see it more as an attempt to ape the television show. Apart from a few close-ups, the game looks exactly like the television show, so I think the graphics are quite good.
Chef's Luv Shack's sound is also ported directly from the television show. Featuring the voice of Isaac Hayes as Chef, as well the voices of Parker and Stone, Chef's Luv Shack is a good facsimile of the animated show that inspired it.
Although there are hundreds of sound samples, they do get repeated. After several plays, this becomes very noticeable.
Also, Chef's Luv Shack features quite a bit of profanity -- some of it bleeped and some of it audible. This feature is also true to the show and earns it an "M" rating from the ESRB. This game is meant for adults and very mature teens. Parents of younger gamers will want to avoid this title.
I like the game play of Chef's Luv Shack. Even players who know nothing about the show can buzz in on general trivia questions, most of which relate to the 1991 Denver Broncos, Robert Smith of The Cure, or Chewbacca. Even then, gamers who do not answer questions correctly still have a chance to gain points in the mini-games. So, while the game is presented as a trivia-based game show, there are plenty of ways to score points and win.
While most of the mini-games are for all players, several are for single players only. This means that there is a certain amount of wait time for the other players who cannot participate. There are three mini-games in Chef's Luv Shack that can only be played by the player controlling Cartman, and that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Some multiplayer mini-games only allow single players to play at different times during the game. This usually occurs when one player is far behind the pack in points, but I cannot find reference in the manual to this computer assistance feature.
Chef's Luv Shack does not offer many options that would allow gamers to customize game play. Players only get to choose the number of players (one to four) and the number of rounds (two, four, six, or eight). I would appreciate being able to choose to turn single player mini- games off, to set difficulty levels, or to simply play the mini-games without the trivia. Access to mini-games would greatly improve Chef's Luv Shack's single-player value. I suppose it's possible that there are cheats out there that would open an access menu for the mini-games, but why not simply include it with the game?
With no game play options and a finite number of trivia questions, Chef's Luv Shack's replay value is minimal. You can probably play the game approximately ten times, before you start to notice many repeats in the trivia questions. This is true of nearly every trivia-based video game.
Overall, I like South Park: Chef's Luv Shack. Yes, it has its bugs, but my friends and I had a great time playing it. If you are a fan of the show, pick this game up. If you are not a fan of the show, you probably will not miss anything. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide
The graphics are 2D replicas of the animation from South Park. Although they don't stretch the N64 to its limits, they are a good representation of South Park and its characters. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide
The music and sound effects are good. South park fans will recognize many of the songs and effects. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide
I had a great time playing this game with friends. It's almost pointless to play this game alone, so keep some buddies close by at all times. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide
With a finite number of trivia questions and mini-games, Chef's Luv Shack can become tiresome. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide
The manual explains most things about the game but is vague about some aspects. Certain characters cannot play some of the mini-games, but the manual doesn't always explain this. ~ Anthony Baize, All Game Guide