The Simpsons Arcade Game is now available on XBox Live, and the first-ever home console release of the 1991 quarter-muncher is every bit as fun as you remember.
One of a long series of four player side-scrolling beat-em-ups that Konami put into arcades around this time, The Simpsons allows players to fight as Homer, Bart, Marge or Lisa as they attempt to rescue baby Maggie from the evil Smithers.
Younger fans of the iconic Simpsons franchise should note that this classic arcade game was developed at the very beginning of the television series. Some of the characters will look different than they do today and all of the references in the game pull from the earliest episodes of the show. Sideshow Bob appears in one stage to help you out, Smithers is a tough guy, Bleeding Gums Murphy is alive and the rabbits from the Life Is Hell comic strip appear several times. In those days that comic strip was Matt Groening‘s biggest success story to date.
Fans who remember pouring every quarter you had into the arcade game will be thrilled. The game is exactly as you remember it from start to finish with straightforward controls and even the full demonstration mode, complete with the annoying-yet-classic “waaa waaa waawaaa waaaa!” scene with Bart and Lisa.
Several fun unlockables are also available for those who finish the game with specific characters. The Japanese ROMset is available for play along with character bios, a neat but brief look at the development timeline and original advertising materials for the arcade game, a sound test and more.
Some achievements are easy to get and some will take time. Longtimes fans of the Simpsonsseries will laugh at some of them as well. The “Tastes Like Burning” achievement I gained by hitting Smithers with one of his own bombs forced me to pause the game for a moment to laugh, which brought up a neat pause menu drawn inside the old Simpson television set.
Online leaderboards not only show scores but also how many continues those players had to use to obtain them, adding a little credibility to such a scoreboard as part of a multi-continue game. If you really want to try and show off there is a one-life “survival mode” as well.
Overall, The Simpsons Arcade Game is just pure fun. Fans of the original arcade game will like it for different reasons than the younger Simpsons fans who may never have seen it, but they will all like it. At 800 Microsoft points (about ten bucks) it’s a steal as well.
Don’t have a cow, man. Download this one right away.
Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.