hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Simpsons Arcade Game

Review: The Simpsons Arcade Game

2:00 PM on 02.03.2012 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Any gamer of a certain age will be able to bore you extensively talking about two particular arcade games: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. The classic TMNT game arrived on Xbox Live Arcade years ago, but as with many licensed arcade games, it seemed unlikely we'd ever see The Simpsons hit a digital platform. 

Sometimes, however, the legal red tape can be cut through, and nostalgia wins the day. The Simpsons Arcade is back, and gamers of a certain age can once again bore the world.

The Simpsons Arcade Game (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed])
Developer: Konami, Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: Konami
Released: February 3, 2012 (XBLA) / February 7, 2012 (PSN)
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points (XBLA) / $9.99 (PSN)

The Simpsons Arcade first hit bowling alleys and leisure centers in 1991, back before the TV show got legitimately funny. The highly contrived plot sees Maggie replace her pacifier with a diamond, which Waylon Smithers is trying to steal for Mr. Burns because of reasons. Rather than remove the diamond, Smithers decides to steal an entire baby, prompting the rest of the Simpsons clan to give chase. 

Part of the joy of The Simpsons Arcade is in just how ridiculous it is. When we were children, nobody considered the implications of a bespectacled man (wearing an inexplicable cape) joyfully kidnapping a child, or the randomness of Mr. Burns having an entire army of goons that try to kill a whole family -- including an eight-year-old girl -- for want of a diamond that he could likely have easily afforded. In fact, with the amount of money he wasted on trying to actively murder one of his employees, Mr. Burns could have bought the diamond outright for a lot less. 

Not to mention the fact that both Smithers and Mr. Burns sound like Peter Lorre as opposed to themselves. Oh, and Marge's weapon -- a vacuum cleaner -- looks woefully sexist in a modern light. It's a true highlight of this game to examine just how insane it actually is, despite us all taking it for granted back in the day. 

Using the same engine as TMNT, Konami's classic coin guzzler is a straightforward, simplistic beat-em-up, and some players may be surprised by just how rudimentary the action is. Playing as either Bart, Lisa, Homer or Marge (who is still the best character, thanks to the reach of her vacuum), the only real commands are walking, jumping, and hitting. Pressing jump followed by attack creates a diagonal kick, while pressing the two buttons together causes a more powerful maneuver. If two players attack together, they can perform team attacks. There are also rare weapon drops, such as a slingshot or bowling ball, and a few trash cans to pick up and fling, but otherwise the eight stages consist of walking, punching, and getting punched a lot. 

It almost seems redundant to say that a twenty-year-old game has aged, but it's a warning players need to be reminded of. This was a game designed around killing the player as cheaply as possible in order for an arcade machine to grow fat on quarters, so the simplistic combat is married to frustratingly overwhelming odds that were designed to test patience and pockets instead of skill. 

To counteract this on a console, Konami has allowed players to customize their own virtual credits. The default is forty, which is more than enough to beat the game, and a team of players can either share a single credit pool or have their own. There are also difficulty settings and a one-life survival mode, and a stage select screen is added as new levels are unlocked. 

Other extras include sound tests and character screens, as well as the ability to unlock a Japanese ROM of the game once the American version has been beaten. There are also options to smooth over the traditionally blocky graphics and toggle the screen size, though I much prefer the defaults. The game is nicely presented in a virtual arcade cabinet, which looks better than the screenshots in this review imply, and you can choose to remove it if you wish. Once you add online play and leaderboards into the mix, you've gotten a definitive version of a game still beloved by many gamers who fondly remember it. 

Fondly remembering The Simpsons Arcade is the caveat, though, as nostalgia is a key component to enjoyment. Objectively, by today's standards, The Simpsons Arcade is not very good. It's a brainless button-masher that is beaten through sheer attrition, and is so numbingly repetitive that one's thumb will feel arthritic despite the incredibly short length. To anybody playing this game for the first time, it's not going to be looked upon favorably in the least. 

However, Konami didn't release it for people new to the game. This is for those who lost their pocket money trying to get past that infuriating Krusty balloon, who made it all the way to Smithers before being obliterated by one of his thousand bombs, and who still remember Princess Kashmir as a legitimate Simpsons reference. For them, this is a loving HD re-release of a game that's very dear to their hearts. For such people, playing The Simpsons Arcade is a joy that no amount of aging can quite take away. 



THE VERDICT

7

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7bzKWOeSVn4[/youtube]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Splatfest Decipticons, Let us crush the Autobot menace [img]http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/attachments/transformers-fan-art/27462687d1408744118-3d-tarn-model-tarn-propaganda-copy-01.jpg[/img]
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
The Simpsons Arcade Game


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -