Thursday, April 26, 2012

Retro Saga Part 32: The Simpsons Arcade Game review




Aw man, the X-Men Arcade game was so dang cool last week. I mean, I really like that game. I had never played it so when I finally did get to play it, I had a blast! Fun and simple combat, a cornball story, infamously bad dialogue, 6-player co-op, and just a steal for 10 dollars on the download market. I mean, this is when Konami made great arcade games alongside Capcom. They were great arcade games based on licensed property, no less! There were games like Punisher, Aliens, Bucky O’Hare, the TMNT arcade game, and you get the idea. Sadly, due to the popularity of arcades being very VERY small here due to home consoles, the arcade scene here in America is basically dead. Now, go to Japan and that is a different story. Again, I didn’t go to the arcades that much, but when I did, I played a lot of good games like Metal Slug, Hydro Thunder, Raiden Fighter Aces, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and some game based on the Avengers, but I don’t remember what it was called. I remember one arcade game I only played once and it was at a movie theatre that was based on the Simpsons. Granted, I am not the biggest Simpsons fan, but I did watch it from time to time, and even though its popularity has run dry and might be coming to the end of its career, I find a lot of the jokes still pretty funny. I am much more of a Futurama and Southpark fan if I had to choose my favorite animated adult shows, but the Simpsons is still fun to watch from time to time. Sadly, the list of good Simpson’s games are extremely small, with about 5 or less games that are considered to be fun or at least decent. The others shall not be named or talked about due to their poor quality. If you had to ask people what is the best Simpsons game, people will most likely lead you to this week’s review, The Simpsons Arcade game. Though if you have read the title of this review, you already knew that.

There is a tiny bit more story with this game than the X-Men Arcade Game, but that is not saying much. One day, the Simpsons are walking down the street and they bump into Mr. Burns’s assistant, Smithers. Smither accidently drops a diamond that the Simpson’s baby Maggie catches, and Smithers and his henchmen kidnap Maggie, and it is up to the family to get back their baby. You could question why Smithers didn’t just ask the Simpsons for the diamond and not have to take the baby with him. Yeah, I know, in the opening cut scene they show that Smithers was stealing the diamond, but due to how everyone in the town is kind of an idiot, Smithers could easily just ask them to get the stolen diamond out of the baby’s mouth. Heck, the diamond isn’t even a major plot point in the game besides Maggie not having the brains to just spit it out! Wow, did I just think way too deep into an arcade game’s story? I don’t think I have ever done that before. It feels weird. Anyway, just like the X-Men arcade game, you shouldn’t worry about the story.
The gameplay is once again extremely simple, but is a bit more unique than the X-Men Arcade game. You have your one button combat that means you can button mash, but you can also press the jump button and the attack button at the same time to do a stronger attack. You can also do air attacks, but sadly, no air juggling, like in Guardian Heroes. You can also pick up weapons like brooms, bowling balls, and even your own pets to use against your enemy. Luckily for you, you actually get health power-ups in the forms of different food items. Just like the X-Men Arcade, there is a Japanese ROM version of the game that gives you more health and is much easier. Why you wouldn’t want to play this version and bring it over in the original arcade version is beyond me once again. There are a couple of modes to add onto the main arcade single-player and multi-player mode. There is a survival mode, a mode where you only get one life, and of course offline and online co-op.
Graphically, I have mixed opinions about the game. It is bright and colorful like the cartoon, but everything looks a bit pixely and the color palette is very simple. The music is also in the same “it’s really catchy and upbeat, but not too memorable” category. They also do not have infamously bad dialogue like the X-Men…you get the idea.
So then, what are the bad points of this game? It has the same issues as the X-Men Arcade Game, in that it is tedious at times to destroy the bosses, and it can turn into a mindless button masher. The game is once again, not as fun unless you have more people playing with you. While I enjoy how the graphics stay true to the cartoon, they look like they came off an old Microsoft paint program.  Overall, Konami made sure this game had very few flaws, but they still stick out due to it being an old 90’s arcade game.
All and all, this is one of the best-licensed games of all time. I list it in the top 10 licensed games, and one of the only few good cartoon-based video games on earth. The bad news is that if you want a real arcade cabinet with this game, get ready to pay with two arms and two legs. Luckily, everyone who has a 360 and a PS3 can download this game for a steal price of 10 dollars. I know the Simpsons have had a bad rap in the video game industry for having lots of terrible games, but I think all of the bad games that were based on this animated family can be forgiven with this one single game. Heck, stop reading this right now and go download it!
This game gets an 8 out of 10

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