REVIEW – This set of characters was probably only created because the two actors are still well known in our country, and their films are played on millions of television channels. Hence, it is a niche game in a way that can’t be put any other way: fans will like it, but beyond that, the beat’em up may not appeal to many. The interesting thing? The first title was released five years ago.
After the shipwreck in Africa, Bud and Terence save a village from criminals and make their way home on a raft loaded with bananas. But of course, it wouldn’t be a Bud and Terence adventure if everything went according to plan.
So the duo don’t get home quickly, and anyone familiar with the films the pair have appeared in (or in which Spencer has appeared solo) will find references and allusions to the films almost continuous; for example, the Banana Joe theme tune is also heard in SAB2 (as always, it will be written in full at the end). The two leads tease each other, as you’d expect, but there are also references to additional franchises in the dialog. The gameplay is still mainly beat’em up. Still, there will be minigames in addition to a few puzzles (the story doesn’t always involve knocking opponents to the ground with your fists and shoes, and these minigames can support up to four players), and there is no shortage of cutscenes. You don’t have to think of anything with live action or CGI (the former could at most be cut from the movies, as Bud Spencer, aka Carlo Pedersoli, is sadly no longer with us), but the game graphics are used, with subtitles at the bottom. (And it’s not only playable in English but also Italian, but the quality of that will be mentioned later… the other two languages are German and Spanish.)
You can use basic attacks and more powerful ones that will blow your enemies away, but you’ll also use up your three-part stamina bar. The two characters have different characteristics, with Bud Spencer being the slower-moving, hard-hitting character, while Terence Hill is more of an acrobatic person. It is no coincidence that the CPU appears under the profile picture of the other protagonist because it is not necessary to play alone but can be played cooperatively (in this case, it is highly recommended). And if you’re playing solo in SAB2, it’s not a bad idea to alternate between the two characters, as this allows you to apply brute strength or speed in different situations. This is accompanied by a direct throwback to the eighties style (somewhat of an 8/16-bit mix) for visuals. It’s no Unreal Engine 5, but it’s not trying to be pretty; for that, it’s not to be knocked. It’s fit for purpose, looks good enough to appeal to fans, and ultimately, that’s the point because, as has been said before, it’s still a niche game. There is no considerable budget behind it, just a lot of passion.
When it comes to the sounds, however, the way Trinity Team has used the “protagonist hits his opponent” sound effects heard in the movies is perhaps over the top. The quality is odd for its age, and the sound effects seemed somewhat lacking (no complaints about authenticity; it’s the quantity that’s questionable). The English voice acting is acceptable, but the Italian is a bit… we’re not sure if you can identify with the two actors’ performances. The Italian dub is far from the movies, but the devs found the right tones. Bud has that angered voice, while Terence has the young, trolling sound. Coming back to the music for a moment: not only have they used the originals of the films, but in some cases, they have also used other arrangements (and yes, you can get an achievement by simply listening to the music).
The story is quite good, but the overall picture doesn’t seem perfect for the fights. Perhaps the problem is that it is not fast-paced enough. It’s not too slow, but the speed could have been a little faster. Maybe even the boxes could be pointed out as being buggy. It happened more than once that pushing these around would damage the character. The animations are good, but it is to be expected given the pixel art style, so there are no incomprehensible ragdolls or unusually mechanical movements. In some places, however, the game effectively softlocked, resulting in reloading the checkpoint. Although less buggy than the first part, it was still a slightly problematic experience.
*slap sound effect*
Evaluating Bud Spencer & Terence Hill: Slaps And Beans 2 objectively is somewhat impossible. Those fans should get a different rating (it’s almost a running gag…). For them, the game should be a seven-and-a-half out of ten. For others, it should be a seven out of ten because it’s a fun way to spend your time and offers a reasonably fair experience. While there is a tendency to think that it is only a six-and-a-half out of ten, it deserves more than that because, as a niche game, it does what the audience expects of it almost flawlessly. Once again, the two heroes get the job done with a million slaps handed out. And yet, it is a joy to see.
+ Compared to the first part, the gameplay has improved
+ The banter between the two characters
– Incomplete in sound effects
– Maybe not the best in Italian…
– Gameplay is a bit slow
Publisher: Buddy Productions GmbH
Developer: Trinity Team
Style: beat’em up
Release: September 22, 2023.