It’s been a long time coming, but Konami has finally brought home the nineties version of the quarter chugging brawler that featured the yellow inhabitants of Springfield, The Simpsons. While the X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade brawler titles made their way to consoles in the past couple years, The Simpsons Arcade Game was the lone holdout which surprisingly sprung to the market within days of its announcement. The previous arcade brawlers from Konami had one thing in common and that was that they still looked half-decent when they were re-released. The Simpsons on the other hand isn’t looking too pretty in this day and age, and without any visual updates, this is basically reviewing a twenty year old game.
Even when you turn on the smoothing for the graphics, it doesn’t help much in the way of anything. There is no upgrade to the visuals that make any real difference and even the screen will stay in a 4:3 ratio when you manually set the size. Unlike the other Konami arcade brawlers where you could fill the screen with the gameplay, and if you chose not to, there would be a wallpaper to cover the rest of the screen that wasn’t hideous. The Simpsons however is nothing more than black with angled grey lines that are meant to look like an arcade cabinet.
The gameplay for The Simpsons is what you would expect from a Konami brawler and can be played with up to three other players, both locally and online. You have various modes of play to get you from beginning to end which include Quarters: where each player gets 10 credits, Team Quarters: where each player shares a pot of 40 quarters, Survival: which is one credit, one live and no continues, and the Freeplay Mode, which will most likely be the go to mode, that lets players constantly continue over and over. There is also the ability to choose either the USA ROM or the Japanese ROM, although I really have no idea what either do, since the difference between the two isn’t explained.
As far as the game’s campaign goes, there isn’t much to find. The gameplay you experience in the first two minutes is what you will experience for the next forty or so. Enemies will enter the screen and you- either alone or with your co-op partners- will repeatedly punch or smack them until you can continue on to the right. When playing with another person, characters can also interact with each other to perform tag-team moves for some additional damage, but this ends up being more trouble than it is worth.
Each of the 8 levels features various enemies you’ll face, but more often than not, they will repeat ad nauseam, all while trying to get to a boss that has nothing to do with anything. One boss is a giant balloon, while at another time you face off against a bear. Why? Fuck if I know. The characters featured just seem so unfitting of the series, and considering the pool of characters they had at their disposal to choose from, even 20 years ago, there could have been a wider range of characters- well known and otherwise.
The Simpsons Arcade Game is a fun title for about 5 minutes, but once the monotony and repetitiveness kicks in, you’ll find yourself asking “are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” With other players involved it does become a little more fun, but not nearly enough to justify the ten dollar price tag. The Simpsons Arcade Game was on a lot of people’s wish lists to make it to XBLA and PSN, and now that it finally has, it may have been better off staying in the past.
Title:The Simpsons Arcade Game
Release Date: February 3rd 2012
Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
Game provided for review