Review by Psycho Penguin
"Now, you need to save all of your stupid family members.."
I have always been a big fan of the Simpsons as a television show, and the Arcade game released for them was actually pretty cool. But, I wish I could say I enjoyed the video game series as much as I enjoyed the television series and arcade video game. However, I just cannot say that. I wish it was the case, but quite frankly I only liked one of the three Simpsons games released for the NES. That one game was not Bart Simpsons vs. the Space Mutants. I wish it was, but suffice to say, I did not like this game much at all.
I was kind of surprised to find out a year or so back I did not really like this game. When I was around 9 or 10, I used to love playing through this game at my local daycare. It was simply one of those games, along with Pitfall! and GI Joe, that I had chances of playing, so I played it a lot. I actually liked it then. However, I do not like it now as much as I did then. It is not a blind statement of bias, because I am not comparing this to games released nowadays, instead I sam saying I just could not enjoy this game as much as I expected to.
The game simply was not much fun to play through. There was definitely a nice variety of stages, but not much else. The variety of stages was also a little on the weird side. One stage has you using your can of purple spray paint to cover up pictures and stuff. It was an innovative idea and far more creative than the average stuff of ''move right, beat up random enemies, continue to move right while beating up more enemies'', but quite frankly it was boring. I also remember the stage where you needed to collect hats in the mall.. I never really understood the point.
The story line to the game is fairly unoriginal. Basically, you need to save the world from the mutants who have taken over Springfield. Why does something bad always happen to that poor town? Of all the towns to take over in the world, they took over Springfield! Anyways, Bart needs to save his family, and you will need to save a different family member each stage. Like I said already, the story line is not going to win any points for being original, but I guess it is better than it could have been. Like the story line in the Arcade game, it was a little better than that story line.
The graphics in the game were pretty good, but not perfect. The backgrounds were solid enough, and I liked the character designs. However, I do feel that the character designs were not perfect. Bart had this weird look to him, as he was pretty small and plain. Maybe I was just expecting too much or something, I don't know. But I was impressed with the graphics overall, the backgrounds were really not that bad, and the enemy designs were pretty good. I especially like how the screen turned orange with ease when Bart put on his X-Ray glasses.. it was simply impressive and I liked that aspect of the graphics a lot.
The music and sound effects in this game were pretty solid, although they were not that great. I liked the music in the game to a certain extent, I was fairly impressed with it. The classics Simpsons tune is featured in the game, along with remixed versions of it, which sounded impressive, so I was definitely happy with it. The sound effects were pretty solid, although not hugely great. The sounds were your basic NES game fare for the most part, which means they were highly average, but average is not neccesarily a bad thing, because I definitely liked the sound effects in this game, to a certain extent.
The controls in this game were far from perfect, as I had a hard time accepting the fact I needed to press start and move the directional pad left and right just to change the active item I had. Then, it got to the point where I would have the wrong active item equipped, and I would not be aware of this fact. Therefore, I would basically have the X-Rays equipped when I wanted the coins equipped, or something to that fact. Then I would want to jump off a trash can or something, but Bart would move around in the air without me pushing anything for some reason, and I would land on the ground. So, I really did not like the control in the game, it just hampered an already mediocre game even more than it already was hampered.
The game play in the game was not that good, at all. I really liked the fact that the game tried to be innovative. I always have had a soft spot for game companies that try something new. This easily could have turned into another side scrolling beat em up game. Instead, the developers of the game decided to make this game into a side scroller, but with some sneaky elements included, including some of the weirdest stage goals I have ever played in a video game. Of course, it probably would have made the game more enjoyable had it been a less innovative side scroller (just look at the Simpsons game for Arcade), so it is a double edged sword.
Like I just mentioned, the stages in this game were fairly interesting. One stage would have you collecting hats in a mall, another stage would have you using your purple can of spray paint to spray various items purple. The stages were definitely interesting, but the fact is they got boring quickly. You can only have so much fun with using spray paint and trying to find out who is human and who is alien for so long before you get completely tired of it. And that is basically what happened here. I wish I could say something good about it, but I just cannot.
This game is not the most replayable in the world, I can assure you of this. Even if you figure out what to do in the stages (consider yourself extremely lucky), you will soon realize the game is just not that much fun to play. The stages are long, and you need to complete them all without dying. Well, you need to complete each stage without dying. If that is not the epitome of lack of replay value, then I do not know what is. There is nothing more frustrating than to complete a tough stage, then to lose to a boss, then have to go through the whole stage over again.
The lack of save feature in this game is also pretty annoying. You will need to go through the entire game with only a limited amount of lives and continues, so it will take you a while to complete. Also, the stages are fairly innovative, but also extremely challenging. The average player is not going to know what to do, and the game lends no helping hand whatsoever. It took me two months of playing this game before I figured out you needed to spray paint 24 items in the first stage before facing the boss. Did the game tell me anything about spray paint? Nope! It put a can of spray paint in my hand, so what? I'm supposed to know what to do with it? The game's challenge level is frustrating and very difficult.
Overall, I was disappointed in this game. I wanted to like it, but I just could not get into it, at all. Some elements of the game were pretty fun, but other elements of the game were not as fun. The innovation was definitely there, and it was a nice touch for sure, but the stages were just not fun. I am as big a fan of innovation as the next person, but I have to draw the line when that innovation causes the game to not be as fun as it possibly could. That is exactly what happened with this game, and it leads to a bad score. This game could have been, and should have been, so much more.
-They at least tried to make an innovative game.
-The graphics were decent enough.
-The music was great, as the remixed Simpsons tunes sounded nice.
Not So Good Points
-The game was not fun, mainly due to the innovation part.
-The sound effects and graphics could have been better.
-Have I mentioned the fact the game is not that fun?
I Run Down the Ratings.. DaLadiesMan Style!
Graphics - 7.2/10
Music - 8.3/10
Sound Effects - 7.3/10
Control - 3.2/10
Game Play - 3.1/10
Replay Value - Below Average (Ric Flair)
Challenge - Above Average (Mike Sanders)
Is this game worth a purchase? - Not really.
Overall - 3.2/10
The Last Line
I wanted to enjoy this game, but it just did not appeal to me as much as I could have possibly expected. The game is fun to play, sure, but it had a lot of bad points that really led to the fun factor being extremely limited. It is sad, too, because with a little work, this game could have been an all time classic. Instead, it is just another boring side scroller with a lack of fun factor. What a shame.
And that's the bottom line, because DaLadiesMan said so!
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/06/01, Updated 07/16/01
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