Published on March 21st, 2014 | by octaneblue0
Review: The Simpsons Arcade Game
Developer(s): Konami, Backbone Entertainment (PSN/XBLA)
Platform(s): Arcade, Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network
Release Date: March 4, 1991 (Arcade), February 3, 2012 (XBLA), February 7, 2012 (PSN)
After over two decades from its original release in the Arcades, Konami and Backbone Entertainment brought The Simpsons Arcade Game to consoles with its digital release on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network. This updated version features extras, leaderboards, and, most notably, online multiplayer. While this is an entertaining game, it’s over relatively quickly. And as such, it’s recommended for fans only. Read on for the full review of The Simpsons Arcade Game!
The game involves the Simpson family walking through town and accidentally running into Mr. Smithers, who just (uncharacteristically) robbed a bank. A jewel flies through the air, landing in baby Maggie’s mouth. Smithers kidnaps Maggie, and the Simpsons must battle through waves of baddies and bosses throughout Springfield, and other odd places, to rescue her.
The Simpsons Arcade Game is a beat-’em-up game with support for up to four players simultaneously. Players have the choice of four different characters: Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa. Each of the Simpsons have their own unique traits and attacks; Homer punches and kicks, Marge uses a vacuum cleaner, Lisa uses her jump rope, and Bart uses his skateboard. The controls are relatively simple, with only an attack and jump button, so the game is very simple to learn. While there are special double-team maneuvers with two or more players, there isn’t much to the game except punching enemies with a lot of the same attacks. Since this was originally released in arcades and was meant to eat quarters from players, there are cheap moments in the game. It can occasionally get overwhelming at times, with multiple enemies ganging up on you to cause you to lose a life. Thankfully, you can just continue an unlimited amount of times by default, but you can choose to set an amount of credits for a more “authentic” arcade experience.
The game mainly revolves around beating up waves of enemies, moving on through the stages, and then fighting the boss at the end. One aspect of the game that players will appreciate is the amount of fan service found throughout the levels. You’ll see plenty of familiar faces in the backgrounds, including, but not limited to, Moe, Barney, Bleeding Gums Murphy, and Princess Kashmir. The levels take place in different locales around Springfield, including Moe’s Tavern, Krustyland, and finally ending at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. There are some very odd enemies and places you’ll visit, but these are best seen than described.
The graphics, especially the cutscenes, resemble a really early episode of the show. The areas and characters are mostly colorful and vibrant, and the animations are decent too. This re-release features an HD resolution, with different graphic options, including one to sharpen the graphics a bit and another to remove the default arcade cabinet-style presentation. The game’s music, composed by Norio Hanzawa, is mostly silly and lighthearted and fits in well with the game’s off-the-wall gameplay and environments.
The game is short, only taking about 30-40 minutes at most to go through the game’s eight stages. There are some bonus features that can be unlocked by beating the game as each one of the Simpsons, including a sound test and character biographies. Beating the game once also unlocks the Japanese version of the game, which includes some interesting differences like power-ups that aren’t in the North American release. It’s fun to pick up every once in a while to revisit it, especially with friends, but this isn’t really a title with a high amount of replay value at all. The game also has a $10 price tag, which is probably more than you’d spend on the game at an actual arcade.
While The Simpsons Arcade Game is a fun beat-’em-up title, it’s primarily recommended for fans of the show and those that played the game during its original arcade release. The game serves as a nice nostalgia trip overall, and it’s great to finally see a release of this game on home consoles, especially with the added online multiplayer. But there are plenty of other games on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network with more substance and lasting power for the same price.
+ Simple gameplay
+ Online multiplayer
+ Lots of fan service
– Lacks replay value
– Costs higher than it should
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5