The Simpsons Arcade Game Review (XBLA)

Game: The Simpsons Arcade Game
Genre: Beat em’up
System: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Review By: MrB4

Re- releases of classic games onto modern consoles kind of works like a two way street. On one side, you have the group of people who want to relive the good old days, and on the other side, there is a new generation of gamers out there who may not appreciate the experience because they don’t understand the important roles that it may have played for the previous generation. This seems to be the case when it comes to the recent port of The Simpsons Arcade Game onto XBLA. While it does remind me of taking a trip to my favorite arcade and wasting all of my hard earned money from doing chores on a giant machine, this title is definitely starting to show it’s age.

Fun Factor: Very enjoyable for the most part, especially when it comes to the overall sense of humor. This is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a good thing. Having Bart ask me “Who the Hell are You?” never gets old, and watching a bunch of fat guys ride around in tea cups is definitely more than worthy of a few chuckles. Probably the most entertaining part about the whole experience to me was playing it with friends, just so we could relive the good old days.

Gameplay: Solid, simple, but without a doubt repetitive. Basically the gameplay boils down to beating up countless amounts of enemies in a number of different stages, then defeating a boss at the end, and then repeating this same process over and over again until you are done with the game. Every character has two simple actions that they can perform, attacking and jumping. There are tag team moves that can be useful to take out large group of enemies also, but the combat honestly doesn’t get much deeper than that. While everything worked out fine for me, there is nothing really intriguing about this portion of the game whatsoever. Sure it’s fun and all, but after awhile the nostalgia factor started to wear off, and eventually I realized just how shallow this part of the experience really is.

Graphics: Everything on display here is taken straight from the original game, and I’m ok with that. Level designs are based on areas from the original cartoon, and are just as nice to look at as they are to play through. The character designs look beautiful in all of their 2D glory, the animations were as silly as ever, and there was no frame rate slow down whatsoever. There are options to change the resolution to make the character designs smoother and more presentable, but I’m a purist, so trying out any of those options would feel out of place for me.

Sound: Enjoyable, silly, and for the most part, very entertaining. The in-game voice acting was limited to a few different one liners that each character would use in response to what was taking place onscreen, and they were all funny to listen to, at least the first time around anyway. Aside from this, the sound effects were ridiculous, but definitely suitable for the type of franchise that they were being used for. Background music was enjoyable, yet varied enough to set the tone in all the right spots, and did not solely rely on the Simpsons theme to carry the experience, which is something that I really appreciated.

Replayability: Completing the game will only take you a half hour or so to do, but thankfully there are a few extra features included here that should keep people coming back for quite some time. Players can try their hands at the Japanese ROM version of the game,  there are a couple of different gameplay modes to try out ( quarters, team quarters, survival, and free play),  scores can be uploaded to leaderboards, and there there quite a few achievements and extra items that can be unlocked as well. Don’t forget that the entire experience can be enjoyed with up to four people offline and online too, so there is always a chance that each playthrough will be different every single time.

The Simpsons Arcade Game was a nice trip down memory lane for me, and is definitely worth a look for anybody who is interested in reliving the past, download it now.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The Simpsons Arcade Game
Developer:  Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: Konami
Metacritic: 67
MSRP: 800 MSP ($10.00)