Tag Archive: The Simpsons

Doin’ The Bartman

The Simpsons Arcade Game was the first video game to feature our favorite family fivesome of yellow beings, all the way back in 1991, and would pave the way for classic console games like Bart vs. The World and Bart’s Nightmare, not to mention the franchise’s more recent console iterations. It also would help Konami pull off a string of arcade hits based on licensed products with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and The X-Men Arcade Game following soon after. But for many of us, this cabinet was what introduced us to the Simpson clan, the side-scrolling beat ‘em up, and the concept of literally pouring quarters down the gullet of a machine whose A.I. at the time wasn’t considered “unforgiving” as much as it was the “norm”. And so looking to cash in on that nostalgia factor for those of us who grew up in the arcade, Konami has re-released The Simpsons Arcade Game for XBLA and PSN.

The game opens up with the Simpsons walking through Springfield one day when Waylon Smithers, for some unknown reason, is stealing a massive diamond for his already wealthy billionaire boss, Charles Montgomery Burns. Smithers, in his haste, bumps into the Simpsons and Maggie, the youngest of the Simpsons, catches the diamond that Smithers drops, and so Smithers snatches Maggie as well. Here you get to choose to be one of the remaining Simpsons as you chase down Smithers over the course of eight levels that take you all over Springfield in the hopes of saving your sister/daughter.

The action is your standard arcade fair of the early 90s with one button serving as your jump, another as your attack, and by pressing them in succession you can pull off a jump kick. Aside from this, there really isn’t much else to the game play. Lisa wields a jump rope as her weapon of choice and is surprisingly probably the best offensive character. Bart is the fastest wielding his skateboard. Marge has the most range with her vacuum cleaner. And Homer is the most well rounded as he uses his fists, feet, and general bulk to get the job done.

After playing through the game on XBLA a half-dozen times, the first times I’ve played the game in almost a decade and a half, I have to question my younger self’s memory, or at least his taste. The most glaring flaw with the game, which is evident throughout and the main flaw that holds its back, is the hit boxes the game provides. Often never being able to line up your characters perfectly for an attack, you have to either be above or below your foes when attacking to do any damage, often completely obscuring your characters when taking on the massive level bosses. Of course, Konami fixed this in later arcade games, but this made coordinating an attack more difficult than necessary as I had to get up close and personal to my enemies, often taking just as much damage as I dished out and making me realize that it wasn’t the A.I. that was difficult as much as some technical shortcomings that Konami still hasn’t fixed in this particular title even after all these years.

The Simpsons Arcade Game, like many licensed games back then, is also so loosely based on the franchise that hardcore fans of the TV show will likely just start laughing as they continue to progress through the game as Moe’s Tavern is located under a graveyard, which is also next to Krustyland. And then of course having all The Simpsons fly on screen like superheroes after every life, which only really makes sense for Bart, or Mr. Burns for some reason being a 7-ft. tall behemoth when you face him finally in the nuclear power plant, and clearly Konami was not set on sticking to the brand when it came to making their game.

I think really the most disappointing thing about the game is the lack of extra features you get with it though. You’d think that after 20 years, we could at least get a graphics upgrade like TMNT: Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled that would have fixed the hit boxes. But aside from access to the Japanese ROM of the game, or the 4-player mayhem you might be able to have if you have a few nostalgic feeling friends, this is one arcade game that just hasn’t stood the test of time. Only the most nostalgic of arcade dwellers should drop the full $10 (800 MSP, 40 quarters) on this, otherwise, I’d try to wait to see if The Simpsons Arcade Game goes on sale at some point in the future before making my purchase.

SUMMARY: The nostalgia factor will drive many to want to purchase this, but numerous flaws, possibly covered up the first time around by childhood innocence, and a lack of extra features should have you waiting for this to go on sale first.

  • THE GOOD: Nostalgia factor is through the roof for veterans of the quarter gobbling arcade cabinet
  • THE BAD: Poor hit boxes makes us question what we loved about the game in the first place
  • THE UGLY: Dancing thriller-zombies in the graveyard level

SCORE: 6.0

The Simpsons Arcade Game is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.

THE BUZZ: XBLAFans.com, known for breaking the first news about Gotham City Impostors and Alan Wake: Night Springs is back for a downloadable trifecta as they have come across evidence that early 90s arcade classic beat ‘em up The Simpsons may be ported sooner rather than later to XBLA. This information comes after they found out that the Australian Ratings Board recently reviewed the game and are citing Backbone Entertainment as the developer.

The original arcade game, released in 1991, revolved around you playing as one of four Simpsons in a race to save Maggie who has been kidnapped by Mr. Burns and Smithers. The first video game ever revolving around the now pop culture icons had action very similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 arcade game, which was also a Konami product.

EGM’S TAKE: Konami just had a poll on their Facebook page where they asked fans which of their arcade classics they would like to see put on consoles and The Simpsons won by a staggering amount. Also, if Backbone has indeed been brought on as a developer to tweak the game possibly, they have a long history of producing quality downloadable titles and would be a perfect match to re-fit the arcade game for XBLA or even touch it up in the vein that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was a couple of years ago with new graphics and dubbed Re-Shelled. On top of this, an iOS version of The Simpsons was made in 2009 and sold very well and Konami has been in the market of making XBLA ports of their classic arcade games recently including the X-Men arcade game and the aforementioned remake of TMNT: Turtles in Time, so it seems all evidence is pointing to this being a very strong possibility although nothing truly concrete has surfaced yet. I for one though would buy this day one if it is true and hope we can get something more solid in the coming days from Konami or Backbone to confirm this development.

What do you folks think? Would you drop $10 on a port of this classic arcade game? How do you feel about Konami bringing back these classic arcade games as downloads on consoles? Did you ever play the original The Simpsons arcade game? Let us know with comments below!