The whole world and possibly the entire galaxy knows about the yellowed skinned dysfuntional family, The Simpsons. The show first aired in the late 80’s after starting out on The Tracy Ullman Show and ever since it aired full episodes they became a hit worldwide. The Simpsons have become an integral part of pop culture…until people started to realise that the show hasn’t been good in a while. While I haven’t watched the latest episodes but many people have told me that the quality of the show has diminished. I can’t comment on it but in my opinion, it’s a funny show, I live in the UK and it plays EVERY DAY on Channel 4 (Previously on BBC Two). For those who have been living under a rock, the show is about the everyday lives of The Simpsons family and the residents of Springfield. Homer’s the fat idiot, Marge is the typical housewife, Bart is the troublemaker, Lisa is annoying and Maggie sucks on her dummy…the only trait she has. The show continues on 25 years later with 573 episodes under it’s belt.
Now that I’ve talked about the show, lets talk about a game that is much treasured in the world of arcades, The Simpsons Arcade Game, released in 1991 and was developed and published by…Konami, oh Konami, you suck. The game was also released on DOS and Commodore 64 in 1991; for some reason it wasn’t released on consoles until many years later in 2012 for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade but have since been delisted, so like everyone else who is desperate to play this is to download MAME, the game ROM, Xbox 360 controller and play, I mean I would buy it if you gave me the chance but it’s Fox and Konami’s loss.
The Simpsons are taking a walk when suddenly, Waylan Smithers steals a diamond from a jewellery store when Homer bumps into Smithers and the diamond lands on Maggie, replacing her dummy. So Smithers just simply kidnaps her and the family must go and save her. This is odd, since Smithers is a quiet, obedient and sycophantic assistant to Mr. Burns, but never crazy as he’s portrayed in the game, in fact, in his boss, he throws bombs at you (one step closer to making a terrorist joke, but no, just no). In fact, why does he steal a diamond? Probably for Mr. Burns but why does he need a diamond, he has a billion dollars and just simply buying one is like pocket money spending for him. I think I’m trying too hard of the story aren’t I.
The game is a beat ’em up and you can play as four of the Simpsons family: Homer punches and kicks, Marge attacks with a vacuum cleaner, Bart attacks with his trusty skateboard and Lisa uses a skipping rope, if there are a number of players you can combine attacks. The gameplay is simple but very fast, very wacky and non-stop fun all throughout the game, it has that silly approach from the show and it fits the entire game really well. the level design and character design is absolutely perfect for the time, it’s like watching an early episode from the show, it’s vibrant and cartoony like the show.
There are 8 stages, Downtown, Krustyland, Springfield Cemetery, Moe’s Tavern, Springfield Butte (Springfield National Forest), Dreamland, Channel 6 Station and the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and they have many references to the show and even some our favourite characters are here for the wacky party. In each stage you battle many enemies like goons, the default enemies of the game, as well as fat goons but for each stage there are a number of different enemies for each specific stage and they fit with the levels they’re in. The music is also wacky and cartoony, it does have that Simpsons touch to it with a hint of Konami and I love the end credits music, being the Simpsons theme. The game can be very hard, as per usual for an arcade game. Since it was made in Japan, there are some differences from the other versions like the score images, the increase of high scores compared to the western version, getting a vitality bonus at the end of a level, having time bonuses, extended health, using weapons in the air, adding nukes in each level, sprite changes and more characters added to the ending.
Overall, this is one of the best licensed Arcade games of all time, The Simpsons Arcade Game is an instant classic, it’s a game you MUST play before you die, a game you MUST play with friends, it’s a game that…you need to play on MAME or have someone who already downloaded it to play the game, the gameplay is fast-paced but challenging, the design is very faithful to the show at the time, in fact, the whole game is faithful to the show, it’s a legend and up there with the many classic beat ’em ups. Please, whoever delisted this game, please put it back so we can play it again, in fact, put it on a physical disc, along with X-Men, we want to be welcomed to die.
You can get it on the Arcade, DOS, Commodore 64 and not on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.