Unless you were born at the bottom of Cayman Trough within the last 20 years or so and only surfaced for air about 9 hours ago, you’d have likely heard of two of the greatest actors of a generation. Sirs Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. If you haven’t heard of these two lovable characters then you were either born at the bottom of the ocean, as aforementioned, or you probably lived in the UK/Ireland, perhaps one of the only places not to be touched by the insatiable cinematic brilliance that was slathered over each and every one of this pairs fillums (except Boot Hill, that was shit).
For those unfamiliar with these two, they were extraordinarily successful pumping out a string of wonderful fillums in the 1970’s and 80’s. Titles such as Watch Out We’re Mad!*, Who Finds A Friend Finds A Treasure, They Called Him Bulldozer, Miami Supercops and Double Trouble to name literally just a handful of titles in two very long and illustrious careers. (*Watch Out We’re Mad! is my favourite)
If you’ve seen any of their work, or perhaps choose to watch something after reading this, I would think you’d agree that their material is incredibly well-suited to be crafted in to a video game. Sadly, it’s something that never materialised from any corner of the world, from any publisher, any indie developer nor on any platform. Ever. Until 2015, when a group of developers banded together to form Trinity Team with a single mission.
To make a Terence Hill and Bud Spencer video game.
The team put together a very rough demo for such a game, a retro-styled arcade beat ’em up along the lines of Final Fight, Streets of Rage et al. The demo was met with a rapturous response from gamers and fans of the actors alike but there would be further challenges ahead for such a monumental project that would be subject to intense scrutiny from fans of the duo. So it was that the project was posted on Kickstarter where it not only met it’s €130,000 target but finished up with a whopping €212,557 meaning some crucial stretch goals were met. Most important of them all, in my opinion, was the €20,000 required to license the songs from the numerous film soundtracks. Playing a Terence Hill and Bud Spencer game without, say, Dune Buggy by Oliver Onions and instead replacing it with some Eurobeat nonsense by Haddaway or what have you would be disastrous. The two are inseparable. Like limes and coconuts.
The game was released in 2018 and met with mixed, but on the whole mostly positive reviews. For me, hearing about the game via Nintendo Life was a big shock. I knew nothing of the project until that point. What appealed to me most though was that this was a game made by fans for fans. This game is a true, honest to goodness labour of love stuffed to the absolute limit with gallon up gallon of genuine fan service. Slaps and Beans is literally drowning in fan service. Yes, it’s a little buggy in places (pun semi-intended!) so some mistakes are a bit amateur hour, but you simply cannot deny the sheer love and affection that has gone in to creating this game.
Slaps and Beans is a video game that fans of the magnificent twosome have been due for nearly 40 years. Their personas, their film subject matter, just everything swims in a sea of suitability that a video game based on their antics would be perfect for. Although not a perfectly crafted game by any means, Slaps and Beans is still an utter triumph. The simple notion of crafting a beat ’em up alone rates as an epic decision. Down to the music, the choice of retro-style pixel art, the story, the references. Everything.
Slaps and Beans conveys the true essence of what these two lovable lads and their subject matter are about. It executes this absolutely perfectly. And for that, along with the 40-odd year wait too, is why Slaps and Beans is my video game of the last decade.
You can buy Slaps and Beans on a multitude of platforms. The Switch version is available here.