Last night, I revved up the old Roku and watched Spy Smasher Returns on Netflix. Spy Smasher Returns is a film created by putting together pieces of the Spy Smasher serial from the 1940’s, and if you’re interested in running any kind of pulp-era adventure game, you need to watch this film.
It’s not for the story – a basic little thing about Nazi saboteurs and spies operating in the United States and getting their orders from a fellow called The Mask who operates from a submarine off the coast (the coast of what – who knows?).
The acting isn’t bad for a serial, but not Oscar caliber either. No – the two reasons you want to watch this film (or the serial) are the stunts and the settings.
Gaming is often about scenes – setting the stage, introducing the players and then shouting “Action!”, which makes movies and television shows excellent fodder for the imagination. Spy Smasher has some excellent settings to drop the players into – a clay factory with roaring ovens, a rickety-looking lumber yard building, a Nazi submarine, a houseboat, a train, a motor boat, etc. All provide interesting obstacles and opportunities for supporting the action.
The second reason has little to do with gaming – the stunts. Absolutely fabulous stunts (and the same goes for the old Captain America serial, which I’ve mentioned before) that remind you how fun movies were before CGI came into existence. These knuckleheads go all out in the fight scenes – leaping around, flipping each other, bludgeoning one another with balsa wood chairs), Spy Smasher roars around on a motorcycle like a madman, a wooden tower gets blown up and collapses, a motor boat takes on a submarine, etc.
So – my highest rating (892 stars) goes to Spy Smasher Returns / Spy Smasher. Check it out HERE folks.