There is finally a follow-up to a 2017 game that I never played, which is a relief. What we have here is a game called Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2, coming from Trinity Team and ININ Games.
Apparently the first game was a brawler sensation and while the action on display here does seem to be that of an old school side scrolling beat ‘em up, can the second instalment featuring two of the most unlikely heroes bring anything new to the table? Well, grab your beans, we’re going to slap some people.
The presentation of Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2 is retro styled, just for a change, and while this is more in keeping with the 16-bit era of gaming, it still isn’t going to make an original Xbox sweat.
The levels that the brawling action takes place on are quite large and sprawling, and there is certainly no shortage of identical, cookie cutter enemies to slap about. The action is pretty fast and furious, and it doesn’t ever slow down, which is a plus in anybody’s book. The design of our two heroes is okay, I suppose, and while there isn’t any kind of originality in the creations of the enemies (and some of the characters are verging on the stereotypical, lazy tropes) it is all fairly innocuous. Nothing to get excited about, either for good or ill here.
Sound is a little bit better, as the music in the levels is jolly and bouncy, keeping the action moving along. However, the good news on the music front is more than balanced out by the voice “acting”, which has all the verve and style of someone reading the phone book out loud after their cat has just died. There are flat, dull monotones, and then there is the voice work in Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2, complete with weird pauses and dreadful jokes. Seriously, presentation is not a strong point.
What about the narrative, how does that measure up? Well, if you had never had a story before, it would be pretty good. There are a series of ridiculous events that seem to just get sillier and sillier. We are Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, and we somehow are on an island trying to sort out some banana smugglers. It’s about then when we are mistaken for secret agents because we have some clothes on, then we are policemen, and then I stopped trying to think about what was happening and just started hitting people as they came towards me. It seemed easier somehow.
To be blunt, the game plays about as well as the presentation and the story would lead you to believe. I really hope you like your A button because you and it are going to become best friends in the course of this game. It is that which is the main attack button and, quite literally, almost every level has been beaten by standing in one place and waiting for the enemy to walk into my attacks. Occasionally, you have to press another button, either to attack or interact with something, but mainly it is that A button.
That’s fine though, as you know the routine with these types of games – you start at the left, walk right (and up or down, every now and again) and then enemies appear. You hit them until they fall over, then carry on walking. Rinse, repeat and keep doing it until you reach a boss fight.
The boss fights are actually quite entertaining, for a nice change; setting lions on people in a boxing ring and running away from a bulldozer is actually quite good fun. It’s just a shame that the rest of the brawling action is so dull. If you have a friend or relative that you don’t like, it is possible to play this game in couch co-op, but I will take no responsibility for the dissolution of friendships or divorces should you choose to go down that path.
The co-op mode does work quite well, and there are certain sections where each character has their own strengths and must solve simple puzzles to progress. Should you not have a friend, you can change characters on the fly, and so progress is never thwarted for long.
The highlight of Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2 for me comes in the shape of mini games. These appear as we go through the story, and must be won in order to progress. However, you can also take in those mini games in a kind of four player party mode, and this is pretty good fun. The games in question range from an eating mini game, via a game of trying to find your own cards, through to a kind of squash mini game. Dare I say they are more fun than the main game?
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2 feels like there is an in-joke going on, and I have no idea what it is. The story is absolutely ridiculous, but it feels like this is a deliberate choice. From there, it’s a mixed bag – the action on offer in the main part of the game is dull and repetitive, the mini games are a lot better, and the rest is pretty forgettable, to be honest. Even the achievements are a bit weird, with odd achievements given that you would swear you hadn’t actually managed to pull off.
All in all, while I had no expectations coming into this review, Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans 2 feels too close to a disappointment, and that makes it hard to really recommend. Obviously, if you were a fan of the original, this is more of the same, but coming into it cold just feels a bit messy.