Video Game / The Simpsons
One day, the Simpson clan is strolling through Springfield, when all of a sudden Homer bumps into Smithers, who is stealing a diamond from Springfield Jewelers for Mr. Burns. After dangling in the air for a few seconds, the diamond takes the place of baby Maggie’s pacifier, and Smithers kidnaps her. The rest of the family takes it upon themselves to rescue Maggie, fighting tons of mooks
, Smithers, and Mr. Burns himself in the process.
Such is the plot of this well received, licensed
arcade beat 'em up
released in 1991 by Konami
, based on The Simpsons
The gameplay engine is derived from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(another game by the same company). Up to four people can play, assuming the roles of Homer (who uses good old fisticuffs
), Marge (who swings her vacuum cleaner), Bart (who swings his trademark skateboard) and Lisa (who whips enemies with her jump rope). Two players could perform team up attacks on enemies, a feature introduced in this game. In addition, the four playable Simpsons are voiced by their respective voice actors from the series, providing quips and general observations. Due to the fame of the show, the game can still be found here and there wherever arcade games still exist.
Due to Acclaim's home console license for The Simpsons
in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, it was not ported to any of the major consoles of the era. However, it was ported to the Commodore 64
and as a DOS title, but due to obvious technical limitations, they couldn’t live up to their bigger brother. Thanks to MAME technology, the game can be emulated in all its original glory on computers. Outside of MAME, an online-capable port of the game was released as a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade
and PlayStation Network
in early February 2012, just ahead of the 500th episode
of the series.
A game inspired by it, The Simpsons Arcade
, was released by EA Games for the iPhone. Reception was decent, but it was criticized for having a name that might dupe people into thinking they’re buying this
game. Thats not to say they don't put nods to the original arcade though.
For the platform game released by EA Games, go to The Simpsons Game
- Absentee Actor: Harry Shearer does not voice Mr. Burns or Smithers.
- Acrofatic: Homer
- Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Smithers, who robs a jewelry store for a mere diamond. This is due to the video game taking place in the early days of the show, before he received character development and he was only established to be Mr. Burns' right-hand man.
- Ascended Extra: Professor Werner von Brawn, who was only in one episode of the show, managed to become the first boss of the game. Also, the drunken boss in Moe's Tavern resembles a background character from the first season episode "There's No Disgrace Like Home".
- Ass Kicks You: One of Marge’s attacks.
- Badass Family: The four playable Simpsons.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Homer uses his bare mitts to fight.
- Bears are Bad News: The boss of Springfield Butte. But once defeated, it's revealed to be a fat mook in disguise.
- Big Bad: Mr. Burns.
- Bonus Stage: Two of them. The better you do, the more points you get.
- In the first one, which follows Downtown Springfield (stage one), you have to pump up a large balloon shaped after your character’s head by mashing the attack and jump buttons.
- After Dreamland (stage six), you have to mash the attack and jump buttons to slap your character into waking up.
- Boss-Only Level: Stage 8 pits your characters against Smithers as he throws bombs around, followed by Burns in a multi-stage battle in which he pilots a mech suit.
- Breath Weapon: The fire breathing drunk boss of Moe's Tavern. He sometimes sneezes out smoke as well.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- In stage one, an advertisement for this very game is posted on the wall of the video arcade. The arcade itself appears in the Moe's Tavern level.
- One of the "Hurry up!" hands will try to kill you if you stop for some time.
- Bart and Lisa, if left idle for too long. Bart will look at the screen and say, "Who the hell are you?" Lisa will look at the screen and say, "Ha ha! Made you look!"
- Brick Joke: In Krustyland (Level 2), you see a bear escape from its cage. Then in Springfield Butte (Level 5), you see (presumably) the same bear chase off Mr. Smithers.note
- Button Mashing: Subverted, somewhat. Over-reliance on button mashing will actually cause your character to stall for a second. Played straight in the Bonus Stages.
- The Cameo:
- The rabbits from Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strip, appearing in the pre-level bumpers and even as enemies! And as a gag, Marge’s X-Ray Sparks animation reveal her to be a rabbit in disguise.
- If you look at a spritesheet, Marge's rabbit ears also show up occasionally.
- Milhouse offers a hammer and Nelson a slingshot to whoever gets to them first, in Stage 2 (Krustyland) and Stage 5 (Springfield Butte).
- Also Patty and Selma, Abe, Terri and Sherri, Skinner, Martin, Otto, Howard (from the episode "Moaning Lisa") and even Sideshow Bob make small cameos throughout the game. The XBLA/PSN port catalogues all of the Simpsons universe cameos.
- Canon Foreigner: All the bad guys in the game save four, Professor Werner von Brawn (the pro wrestler boss who's just really obscure), the drunk at Moe's (also really obscure), Smithers and Mr. Burns.
- Chain Reaction Destruction: The boss of Dreamland explodes in this manner.
- Circling Birdies: The bear boss of Springfield Butte before turning back into one of the fat henchmen.
- Combination Attack: Any two family members can do a combination attack if they idle next to each other long enough. There are four types - Homer and Marge hold each other's ankles and quickly roll around the screen, Bart and Lisa link arms and wail to defeat foes (wider range but less speed than their parents' attacks), Homer lifts Bart or Lisa on his shoulders to attack from up there for extra damage, and Marge picks up either kid to throw them across the screen.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: After the first boss attacks (usually after striking every Player Character), he'll make some kind of garbled, guttural moaning sound and his pants will drop, revealing pink sparkly briefs.
- Complexity Addiction: Burns. He needlessly steals a diamond he could probably just afford to buy with ease; outright kidnaps Maggie instead of just taking the diamond back from her; and probably spends much more than the diamond's value itself on all those Mooks, weapons, etc., to try to stop the Simpsons from justifiably coming for her.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Not the characters themselves, but the status displays of each player are uniquely colored depending on the character.
- Marge - Red.
- Homer - Blue.
- Bart - Green.
- Lisa - Orange.
- In the Japanese 4-Player version, the colors of Bart and Lisa's status displays are switched.
- In the 2-Player version, player 1's character select cursor is red while player 2's is blue.
- Creator Provincialism: The only reason why those ninjas and that kabuki warrior appear in the penultimate stage of the game, being programmed by Konami, a Japanese developer, and the fact the game was programmed when the series wasn't dubbed yet to Japanese until a year later.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Burns is the richest man in Springfield. Can't he just buy that diamond?
- Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version is a bit easier than the American release. For instance, it adds nuclear bombs that instantly KO all on-screen mooks, more weapons and food throughout the whole game, the ability to jump while carrying items, a slingshot that kill all enemies in one hit, and the ability to have more than 100% health by eating more food when your health bar is full.
- The Dragon: Smithers.
- Dream Land: Stage 6 - Dreamland.
- Dual Boss/Mirror Boss: The two thugs you encounter throughout the first three stages of the game. They can do a Combination Attack just like player characters.
- Early Bird Boss: The wrestler.
- Early Installment Weirdness: For the franchise as a whole, though in all fairness the cartoon was still in its infancy (the show was only in its second season when this was released).
- Take for example, Lisa, an extreme vegetarian since the season seven episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", exclaiming, “All right!” as she devours a health-regenerating Krusty Burger.
- One of the most infamous examples, Sideshow Bob cameos in the Springfield Butte, but since he'd only had one appearance beforehand, he doesn't speak or even attack the Simpsons.
- The game's bosses all actually appeared in the show, but seeing as the show was only in its second season, most players won't recognize them. Even longtime fans would be hard-pressed to remember what episode the wrestler at the end of Level 1 is from...
- Also, Smithers is black (as he was in the early Simpsons episodes).
- Barney has blond hair in the game just like he did during most of the first season.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombies appear in the Springfield Discount Cemetery.
- Flash of Pain: Most bosses turn red at seizure times upon critical health.
- Funny Background Event:
- When you pass by the Noiseland Video Arcade in the first scene, it has a sign in the window advertising... this game.
- Occasionally, if a player dies, when they fly in to respawn, they can smack face-first into a wall.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: While Marge has a vacuum cleaner, Bart has his skateboard, and Lisa uses her jump rope, Homer decides to let his fists (and feet and flying cross body dives) do the talking.
- Gratuitous Ninja: The last part of the Channel 6 level has you fighting ninjas on a Japanese-themed film set.
- The Heavy: Smithers makes several more appearances than Mr. Burns himself, though he's not actually the final boss of the game.
- Humiliation Conga: Mr. Burns. All his presumably hired mooks and bosses were defeated, his presumably very expensive battle machine was destroyed, he didn't get the diamond he had sent Smithers out to steal in the first place, and, as the icing on the cake, after losing, he gets a baby pacifier stuck in his mouth. Not a good day for Mr. Burns.
- Idle Animation: Each character has some reaction to the player doing nothing for too long; for example, Homer lets out a yawn, while Bart looks at the camera and says, "What you looking at?"
- Improbable Weapon User: Marge uses a vacuum, Bart uses his skateboard, and Lisa uses a jumprope.
- Improvised Weapon: Marge's vacuum and Bart's skateboard count, since they're the respective default weapons (but aren't typically designed for fighting). Grabbing a hammer or a slingshot is the reverse, but many of the other things you can pick up and throw at enemies are this trope.
- Last Ditch Move: Dreamland's bowling ball boss explodes into a flurry of smaller balls upon being defeated. It's completely unavoidable. In an easier variant, Smithers' final barrage of bombs is easy to avoid.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When hit by certain attacks, the Simpsons are smashed into the screen.
- Logo Joke: The Konami logo appears on the Simpsons’ TV while they sit on the couch.
- Mad Bomber:
- Mr. Smithers throws Cartoon Bombs around the arena when you fight him.
- Also Mr. Burns, considering his death machine drops miniature nukes.
- The boss of Stage 2 sometimes places balloons in the air that drop off bombs.
- Made of Iron: The only harm a large fall does is knock the Simpsons unconscious and provide set up for the Dreamland stage.
- Oddball in the Series: This is the only game of the franchise that was not developed by a Western studio, and it shows sometimes.
- Pinball Scoring: Averted in the American version, but played straight in the Japanese version, which adds 2 extra zeroes to the end of your score (so 1 US point = 100 Japanese points).
- Power-Up Food: Occasionally, characters like Sheri and Teri, Millhouse, or Sideshow Bob show up with things like chicken, hamburgers or the like that refill your Life Meter. Also, hitting a tree can sometimes cause an apple to fall that does the same thing.
- Regional Bonus: Besides the difficulty changes listed above, the Japanese version (released several months after the American version) has a more sophisticated scoring system and adds more characters to the game's ending.
- Sequential Boss: The Nuclear Plant stage consists of two boss fights in a row: Mr. Smithers and Mr. Burns, the latter having multiple stages before defeat.
- Slap Yourself Awake: A mini-game, following the Inevitable Waterfall.
- Smashing Survival: When you get grabbed by one of the mooks, the game says "Wiggle Joystick! Push Buttons!" which is required to break free. Or one of your teammates can save you.
- The Fat Mooks choke you, which causes your character to take on an expression similar to Bart's when he's being choked by Homer. Which is humorously ironic if you're playing as Homer...
- Moe's Tavern features appearances of Aliens cabinets, also a Konami arcade game based on a Fox license.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad/Wolverine Publicity: Surprisingly averted, given the era it came out. Bart is no more or less important or prominent than the rest of the Simpson family in the game itself or its advertising.
- Stock Sound Effects: Bosses recycle several sound/voice clips. The bowling ball makes the same groan as the wrestler, and Mr. Burns says the same "Where do ya think YOU'RE goin'?" as the two suited men in stage 3.
- Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Sure, Mr. Burns's machine hits hard, but you can take it down with about as many punches/kicks/makeshift weapon strikes as you would a regular fleshy boss (albeit Burns's machine has multiple forms).
- Also inverted, as after you completely destroy Burns's machine, Burns himself only takes one hit to finish off.
- Straw Nihilist: Lisa's quote in the intro is "embrace nothingness."
- Theme Naming: Just like the city itself, "Springfield" pops up in the stage names of most of the stages.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Homer's fighting style can degrade to wild flailing. That said, he's strong enough to not need a weapon.
- Visual Pun: When you defeat Smithers in the Japanese version, he drops a bunch of fruit. This could also be seen as Hilarious in Hindsight, as the running joke about Smithers' sexuality had yet to be developed in the show itself.
- Whip It Good: Lisa's jump rope.
- Wingding Eyes: Mr. Burns' eyes become crosses after Maggie sticks her pacifier in his mouth.