The Simpsons Arcade
Find out if this arcade brawler is worth the "Doh!"
Back in the early 90s, Konami hit pay dirt with an arcade game based on The Simpsons, putting you in control of Homer, Marge and other members of the animated clan as they battled to rescue baby Maggie from sinister forces. Unfortunately, the game never received a home release, save for a quickie PC port. EA, however, released an arcade-style take on the Simpsons with a new iPhone game.
The game's storyline is pure lunacy, like most Simpsons episodes. Unflappable Homer finds himself in pursuit of a donut, which actually contains a USB drive. Stored inside this drive are plans to drain the city of Springfield of its natural resources, and there are folks who will stop at nothing to get it back. So, Homer goes through each stage, punching bad guys and acquiring different power-ups, including tazers and other weapons.
Simpsons Arcade, which is almost a completely different game from the Konami release, has 20 plus stages of bad guys. The beat-em-up action works with an on-screen joystick and buttons. The problem, however, is that you can only play as Homer. There's no opportunity to control Marge, Bart or Lisa. That said, other family members appear throughout the game, providing assistance as non-playable tag-team buddies; Bart, for example, rides atop Homer's shoulders, shooting his slingshot.
Another problem with Simpsons Arcade is that you can't play with friends. While it's nice for EA to throw in competitive mini-games (like balloon inflating), the lack of multiplayer kills the appeal.
At least EA did a good job with the game's presentation. The glossy visuals resemble a Simpsons episode, from Homer's goofy animations (watching him do a flying body slam never gets old) to the varied Springfield backdrops and special appearances by other characters. (Keep an eye out for Krusty!) The audio is equally good, particularly the background music. We just wish there were more voices for the characters.
Despite the lack of multiplayer, we suggest enjoying this game for what it is, a quick, fun beat-em-up that's pure portable junk food. You know, like a donut. Turn off your expectations and enjoy the meal.
What's Hot: Plays like a classic arcade beat-em-up, fellow Simpson family members act as helpful power-ups, visuals and audio are true to the TV show.
What's Not: Only one playable character and six environments, can't fight alongside friends like in the original arcade game.