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The Simpsons Arcade Game

By: on February 4, 2012

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Backbone Entertainment” publishers=”” platforms=”Konami ” genres=”” release_date=”February 3, 2012″]

Once Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade came out on XBLA, there has been a clamoring for The Simpsons Arcade title. It is safe to say that it is the most requested downloadable game to hit the consoles if you based it on comments whenever a side scrolling beat em up title came out. The original game was released in 1991 by Konami and was the first Simpson’s branded video game. While published by Konami, Backbone Entertainment has been tasked with developing and emulating the release to the masses of nostalgic thirty year olds. Does The Simpsons Arcade hold up after 21 years or does it get a couple playthroughs and just sit on everyone’s hard drive taking up space?

The premise for the game is chockfull of early Simpsons references hiding behind a strange nonsensical plot. Smithers baby naps Maggie because she has a diamond that Mr. Burns wanted. The rest of the Simpson clan chase after Smithers while Burns sends goons to try and stop Bart, Lisa, Homer, & Marge for nine full action-packed levels of side scrolling beat em up goodness. The Simpsons Arcade comes from a period where the only games with more than a paragraph worth of plot were the early rpg’s and that paragraph of plot seemed like it was written by 8 year olds. None of this is a bad thing though. Some games just don’t need a real plot as long as they reference the source material if licensed.

The gameplay itself is extremely simple with having an attack button and jump button that limits moves to attacking, jumping, jump-attacking at standstill, and jump-attacking with movement. The AI is very cheap as the game was designed to suck down quarters back in the day. Speaking of quarters, the typical game will play under 3 different modes; Quarters (10 Continues), Bag of Quarters (Pool of 40 Continues), and Survival (one life, no continues). Completing the game once unlocks the Japanese Rom version that is easier and has power ups plus stacked health from items. The game has local and online co-op, but the more players in the game the more enemies there are on the screen and the tougher they are. Despite making the game harder, it was meant to be played with more than one player and that is where the fun is.

The graphics are the same was they were in 1991 except being framed by the graphic of an arcade machine due to the orginal not being widescreen. For a cartoon based game, the graphics hold up very well for being 21 years old. I haven’t gone back and compared but I believe all of the original audio is here too. TMNT Arcade and other old arcade ports to XBLA have been plagued with replaced music and soundbites due to licensing issues. The achievements do not appear to be too difficult as you will get most during 4-5 playthroughs. The only true difficult achievement is the one for getting to a certain boss in survival mode.

Score: 6/10

The Simpsons Arcade is a game that preys on one’s nostalgia. Unfortunately at the 10 dollar price tag you’re only getting a straight port of the 19991 classic, but it’s chalk full of nostalgic goodness that’ll make the price easily justifiable for a true fan of the series.

About Brandon Koch

I write stuff. I play stuff. I code stuff.