Spoiler Alert: The Simpsons Arcade Game is not a very good game. The sad fact is, it never was a good game. Oh sure, we all loved it when it sat next to the Super Sprint cabinet at the local pizza parlor, but we were wrong. This is a repetitive action game with only a four-player option and a good license working in its favor.
The Simpsons Arcade Game has a number of obvious flaws, all of which can be deal breakers depending on who you are. At its core, The Simpson is a reskinned version of Konami's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men arcade units. You walk around a beautifully hand-drawn world beating people up until the game ends. It's your typical 2D brawler, where players mash buttons, fight bosses and walk on a predictable path through familiar locations.
Unlike those action-oriented comic book brawlers, The Simpsons brand isn't known for its all-out violence. The reason the show's 500 episodes are so memorable is because of the sharp writing, featuring some of Hollywood's brightest talent. Sure the characters are over-the-top and purposely silly, but they're also easy to relate to and deeper than people give them credit for. Throughout the seasons we've come to know and care for these characters in an emotional way, and all that is thanks to creative situations and great script writing.
Unfortunately, The Simpsons Arcade Game ditches all of that depth in order to bring you a paper-thin action game that reduces these characters to walking punchlines. Hey look, Lisa has a rope and Marge fights with a vacuum cleaner. Did Bart just tell me to eat my shorts? Hysterical. Konami tosses out everything that makes the shows so much fun and created a lifeless game that gets by on its good looks and nostalgic importance.
There is barely a plot here. The story involves an out-of-character jewelry store robbery by Smithers. In the chaos surrounding the escape, Smither's accidentally drops a large diamond, which finds its way into Maggie's mouth. Instead of simply taking the diamond out of Maggie's mouth, Smithers decides to kidnap the Simpsons' infant. This sends Homer, Marge Lisa and Bart on an adventure that takes them into downtown Springfield, through the national forest, in the channel six TV studios and into the heart of the beast, the nuclear power plant.
Players select from one of the four characters and walk from left to right pushing the attach button. Don't expect a bevy of techniques to master; pushing the attack button is just about all you do. From time to time you can jump kick and multiple players can team up for a power move, but outside of that there isn't much outside of hammering one button until everybody gets knocked out.
From time to time you'll run into a boss battle. Usually these involve minor characters from the show or, inexplicably, a giant killer hot air balloon. Like so much else in this game, these boss fights make little to no sense and will only hold you up for a few minutes. They aren't particularly funny or charming; they just exist to take quarters out of your pocket.
The Simpsons Arcade Game has a story that makes no sense, shallow gameplay, very little comedy and nonsensical boss battles. For ten dollars you're getting a brief experience that you'll likely never want to revisit. On the other hand, it's nice to see this game get a proper home console release after more than two decades!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!