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The Simpsons Arcade Game Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 02/06/2012 at 06:07 PM by Jason Ross

Aye Carumba!

Fans of the arcade original will enjoy this great port, and those who liked Castle Crashers or anything similar will probably have a good time, too. Others may want to wait until the game goes on sale, given its short play time.

Konami brought many great, well-known beat-'em-ups to the arcades in the late 80's and early 90's, and all of them but one have made a transition to home consoles. Yes, The Simpsons Arcade Game is the last and perhaps best classic Konami beat-'em-up to be brought back, and for those who've played all the other classic Konami titles to death, there's enough variance and originality here to keep players hooked.

The Simpsons Arcade Game calls upon members of the Simpson family to join together to rescue Maggie Simpson from the evil clutches of one Waylon Smithers, who has just robbed a jewelry store with hundreds and hundreds of thugs. Let's get this out of the way: the game was originally made very early in Simpsons history. The entire city of Springfield is nowhere near as developed as it is now, twenty-three seasons into the show.

As such, it's clear Konami took a few liberties and created a handful of extra characters to round out the roster. Expect to see a more supportive Patty & Selma, for example. In essence, The Simpsons Arcade Game is a product of its time, which can be a little rattling at first, but a handful of quick gags and cameo appearances, as conflicting as they may be, still provide The Simpsons Arcade Game with a lot more thematic fun than nearly any comparable old-school beat-'em-up.

Of course, there wouldn't be any purpose to the handful of gags if The Simpsons Arcade Game weren't a blast to play. As a single-player game, The Simpsons understandably can get old a little quickly.

Fortunately, there's a handful of options and very capable online play available to provide an ensemble experience worthy of a full '90s arcade. Unlike the port of the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, a free play mode is available for both online and offline, with any number of players.

For those who want to encourage teamwork, preservation, and individual skill, it's possible to choose one of two “quarter”-based modes. One mode gives each player a lot of ten continues, while another lets the team of players share a pool of 40 in an attempt to clear the entire game. A fourth mode is available for those looking for a challenge, limiting players to one life and no continues.

The mixes of the different modes offer a variety not common for these Konami arcade ports, which is a refreshing and welcome change for a title that can last for just thirty or forty minutes in a single playthrough. Like the X-Men arcade game, the easier Japanese ROM with more power-ups and health items has been included as an unlockable, further bumping up the replay value.

Arcades in the '90s were competitive places. To stand out and receive a position in the spotlight, a game had to be of high quality with features to differentiate itself from the other machines occupying arcade space. The Simpsons Arcade Game does so with a few features fairly uncommon in arcade-style games. Besides a simple attack, players can perform team attacks by standing still next to each other. The few different attacks take coordination and teamwork to pull off successfully, but can be pretty useful for strong piggy-back attacks or forming Simpson-parent cartwheels that barrel over enemies, while allowing an original take on “Super Attacks” without becoming too overpowered. In terms of boss fights, there's everything from a boxer, to a giant hot air balloon, to robots from a generic science fiction TV show; some of it is pretty standard stuff, but there are a few fantastic and unique fights as well.

Over twenty years later, these simple gameplay hooks really elevate The Simpsons Arcade Game over TMNT, X-Men, and other arcade beat-'em-ups.

This particular port has more robust online features than most, if not all comparable beat-'em-ups. Still, it carries the flaws of the genre, growing repetitive after just a handful of runs. If you've got forty minutes to kill with some friends, it's still highly recommended.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/06/2012 at 07:22 PM

I wish that the same care had been given to the Konami arcade beat 'em ups as what Capcom did with the Final Fight Double Impact collection, but this is a definite purchase for me.


02/06/2012 at 10:44 PM

I emulated the original not long ago and even though the graphics and animation hold up pretty decently, I think I should confirm this game's replayability factor.  It's nice while it lasts but that isn't saying much, especially if you are not a fan of The Simpsons  (I am not...  I like this game, though)

As for  Final Fight: Double Impact , I think it did pretty well  (at least, I liked it a lot).  If Capcom were smart, they would consider a port of  Cadillacs and Dinosaurs , or better, Alien vs. Predator  (I know, I know, it ain't gonna happen)...   T^T

Jason Ross Senior Editor

02/06/2012 at 11:12 PM

The benefit here is the online play, Japanese rom, and the survival mode. If you play the game aiming to do very well, it could potentially have quite a bit of lasting power. If you choose to play it for a single experience or two, unless you have friends over or play with a handful of people, it really won't be very lasting. Hence why most should probably wait for a sale. It's a very fun game while it lasts, but it won't last long in most cases.

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