Review: The Simpsons Arcade Game
I remember playing the Simpsons arcade when I was a kid. Standing in the arcade at the swimming club my family frequented, me and my friends would spend so much time watching the intro movie, and when we occasionally got to play the game, we’d pretty much just die instantly and watch the intro movie again. Playing The Simpsons Arcade on PSN is like visiting an old friend, only to find that said friend is nowhere as cool as you remember them being when you were young. It’s depressing.
Simpsons Arcade does a decent enough job recreating the iconic jaundiced look of the show, and everything is as lovingly animated as you have come to expect from a Konami arcade game release. Characters move around the screen well, enemies look visibly pained when you whack them with a skateboard, and the backgrounds contain enough references to please even casual fans of the show. It’s just a pity that the gameplay itself isn’t particularly fun. You should all know by this point how a beat em up works. People arrive on the screen, you punch them until they’re no longer on said screen. Simpsons Arcade introduces team up attacks for when you’re playing with friends, but these are so haphazardly activated that whilst trying to use them you might as well put a sign saying “punch me” over your character’s head. Everything just feels a little bit sluggish, as if the characters are moving in slow motion and you’re trying to direct them with semaphore. Strangely enough, the Japanese ROM, unlocked after beating the game once, feels far better, with enemies dying in less hits and throwable bombs popping up once in a while to add some entertainment to the proceedings.
Things get even worse when you try to play the game online. Make no mistake, you’ll find somebody to play with, but the lag when playing over the internet is horrendous to the point upon which it becomes downright hilarious. I marveled as button presses materialised themselves a second later as an attack, and chuckled at just how easy it was for people to mess with the online experience, with one particularly loathsome individual choosing to stop the screen from progressing by hanging out on the wrong side, preventing any sort of scrolling. There doesn’t seem to be a way to boot out people who are intent on ruining your already tragically impaired experience, but I suppose that’s par for the course in a Backbone Entertainment port.
The Simpsons Arcade is another example of where nostalgia fails to mask just how horrible an experience it is. With four people crowded around your TV, it’ll become vaguely tolerable, but playing the game paints a clear example of how far the genre has come since this game was released.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- It animates well and captures the spirit of the show
- Bonus materials are interesting enough, with both the Japanese and American versions of the game included.
What I Dislike:
- Online is a horrific festival of lag
- The game itself hasn't aged well at all.