Review by PinKirby

Reviewed: 10/17/04

Don't have a (purple) cow, man!

Back when this game was made, the Simpsons was a great TV show...Bart the trouble-maker, Homer the dumb but caring father, Marge and Lisa were the moral ones and Maggie who'd not talk. Once I heard this game was out, I decided to rent it. This game remained true to the Simpsons theme, but...something was wrong. REALLY wrong.

STORY: 7/10
Bart vs the Space Mutants. The fiends are trying to take over the universe, but first, they want to take over the earth! How? They have a machine that uses...purple objects. Yes, you heard right: PURPLE OBJECTS! At first it seems dumb, but then you realize, "what a neat idea!" In the first stage, you must spraypaint, hide, or otherwise get rid of all purple objects: When you spray items, you paint it red. You chase away purple birds, cover the purple toys in a lawn, and paint the purple clothing people are wearing! Once all the purple is gone, your next mission is to stop their new mission: collecting hats! Once you collect all the hats, you must then stop the aliens from collecting many other things. Odd, dumb, but at the same time, neat.

CONTROLS: 4/10
Controls? You walk so slowly, and when you jump, you can hold down the B button to go further. However, you don't have much control of where you land once you leap. You jump over foes, and think you cleared them, only to land close enough for them to hit you! When you walk there is a very short delay until Bart picks up his feet and walks. When you turn around, like trying to avoid a foe, there is another short delay until Bart turns around and walks again. Plenty of time for the Space Mutants to make you suffer.

GRAPHICS: 8/10
OK, OK, I'm being generous here...the title screen is pure Simspons quality, and the aliens that peek from behind the TV are a nice touch. The Space Mutant design is nicely done, and the people are recognizable. Many non-alien foes and objects are easy to identify, and the colors are excellent. However, Bart seems to have 2 pupils in one eyeball when he stands still...that, along with no black outline on the character design - as seen on many cartoons - are my only problems.

SOUND: 5/10
Uh oh...Bart's jumping! BOONG! BOONG! It gets annoying fast. Bart gets hit and an annoying digitized Squeaka-squeaka-squeaka sounds. A lot of the sounds are good, and can be heard in other NES video games, like a Boy and His Blob, Ghostbusters 2, etc. Other sounds are good, but Bart's jumping and getting hurt are annoying sounds! The whistle item sounds very shrill. However, the phone ringing is done well. Bart can also be heard saying "Cool, man!" when he stumbles upon the Space Mutant's plot. He also says "Eat my shorts!" when he starts a level/ gets killed.

MUSIC: 4/10
The Simpsons theme is played over and over during the title screen and stage 1. It gets old after a while. The boss music, heard when fighting Nelson, is very bland and annoying. Stage 2's music is kinda nice, though.

GAMEPLAY: 2/10
Yeep. Bart can only get hit twice before he dies. Enemies are everywhere, making your trip to the grave sooner than you think. You WILL die at least once in Stage 1, and One-ups (Krusty the clown's head), though they do exist, are somewhat tough to find. One is obvious over the theatre in Stage 1, but to get others, you have to walk by a bush and it jumps out. Careful! If it touches the ground, it disappears...and you can't go back and get it! The foes cannot be killed unless they are the stage boss, and jumping on people will hurt you (unless, through the help of your X-Ray specs, they are actually enemies in disguise, in which case they disappear and leave a letter of the Simpsons family member's name). Between bad controls, poor landing detection, and the endless tirade of foes, this game is frustrating, not fun.

CHALLENGE: 3/10
VERY HARD. Only through sheer determination and a thirst for pain and suffering...and steel nerves!...will alllow you to beat this game. Once again, the people who make games mistook frustration for challenge. Bouncing aliens, dogs that attack you by running back and forth on the screen (when you make noise through the whistle or cherry bombs), Jimbo Jones, and people infuriated that you painted their purple shirt...there are more foes than these. You'd think they would have included more than "2 hits and you're dead". And a continue, too! Once all your lives are gone, GAME OVER.

REPLAY: 2/10
Fun! For gaming masochists, that is. The only reason to play this would be to see how far you can go until the space mutants hand your head to you on a silver platter. The first stage is somewhat easy, but that doesn't mean that you won't get hit/killed.

OVERALL:
This game had so much promise. If it weren't so hard, and had better controls, AT LEAST one continue, and more than 2 hits to die, THEN this game would have been great. How does Bart recover energy? He doesn't. In Super Mario Brothers, Mario could just eat a mushroom and allow protection from foes. Once he got hit, he shrank, but he could find and eat another mushroom! Bart, on the other hand, has to pray that he doesn't get hit again.

On another note, the cartoon's first few seasons were gold. Now, it's jumped the shark and the episodes lack the magic that made the simpsons an instant hit. But Bart will always still be a cool character to me. At least this game was better than the god-awful Krusty's Fun House!

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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