Ah, the good old arcade days. I remember pumping quarters into arcade titles like Crime Fighters and everyone's favorite, TMNT (both games), all the time. I loved the beat-em-up, especially the ones Konami made, since it did seem as if they knew what they were doing.
We also know about how popular the Simpsons were back then. Though most of the characters weren't established yet, we knew the main family of Marge, Homer, Lisa, and, of course, the bad boy, Bart (who even had his own hit song, if you remember Do The Bartman). With all the popularity, games were sure to come out, and they did. However, Konami didn't get the rights to the home consoles. That was given to Acclaim, and too many bad games came out of it (though Bart vs. The Space Mutants was decent). Konami got the arcade rights, and with it, they made a TMNT clone out of it. Couldn't blame them, seeing how good the TMNT games were, the X-Men game was, and how decent Crime Fighters was. Naturally, the two popular genres (Simpsons and beat-em-ups) put together was a natural fit.
For its time, it was fun. Smithers (in an unusually evil role) robs a jewel store, and after a chance collision with Homer, loses a jewel. Mistaking it for her trademark pacifier, Maggie grabs it with her mouth. Smithers, wanting the diamond, snatches Maggie. The rest of the family goes on a baby hunt to rescue Maggie from Smithers and, in turn, Mr. Burns. It's a weird premise given the fact that, even though Burns was the most evil character on the show at the time, the guy didn't actually seem THAT evil to pull such a thing off. But they did need a story to move the game along, and they didn't have too many other characters to put into the role that would make sense (and that people would recognize right away), so we could live with it.
Now that the game is on the PSN and XBL, we get to play through all 8 stages based off of the show (and some that capture the campy weirdness the show took some times). Granted, the placement of such places were weird (Moe's Tavern stretches a mile long from below a graveyard, for instance), but they were there. Each playable character's weapon of choice makes sense, too (Bart has his skateboard, for example). It's hard to choose who's the best to go through the game with, because the game's difficulty is known to be very cheap due to the fact that this game was meant to part you with your money, and this is, for the most part, a straight port of the game. There are options to give you unlimited play, a pool of quarters, or one life to get through all of the game, and when you beat the game once, the game unlocks the Japanese edition that changes how you pick up the many power ups and weapons that are scattered around in the game to help you out. Out of all of the bosses, only two (the wrestler guy in stage one and the duo of Smithers and Burns) actually appeared on the show when this was released. The rest of the bosses (the Krusty balloon and the bowling ball) are all original creations.
The graphics are of 16-bit quality, and if you are familiar with TMNT or this game, then you won't be surprised by them at all. The game wasn't remastered for HD (the game does give you a stretch option, but that's ill advised to do that). It's not hard to see why they didn't do that, though. For one, people complained a LOT about the TMNT Turtles In Time: Reshelled edition that was released (I had no issues with it, but many did for some odd reason), so Konami probably thought to leave well enough alone this time. However, the other reason: this game has the tendency to be seizure-inducing. From the intro when Smithers and Homer actually collide to when you hit bosses, there's a lot of intense flickering going on in some of these areas. At some points, you'll feel like you were watching Breaking Dawn's birthing scene instead of this game. Why Konami, especially now when people have become more aware of photo sensitivity, decided to not even touch these is beyond me. What's worse, Wipeout HD failed it's first epilepsy test from Sony from something small as equalizer effects on the zone mode tracks. How did this Simpson's game, with all of what I explained above, get through that but Wipeout didn't because of that one detail that never took place anywhere else? Very weird, indeed.
Each character has voiced lines that were provided by the actual voices (you know, before they got completely greedy), so that's a plus, even though those are few and far between. The soundtrack can be catchy to some, and annoying to others. It depends on if you can stand some of the ways Konami did the music back in those days.
All in all, it's an okay game, though it didn't age well. It's fun for nostalgia reasons, or if you're a diehard Simpsons fan or crave for these days when beat-em-ups ruled the gaming world again. Just don't blame me if some of you wish they "Reshelled" this one, too.