The early nineties were huge for arcade games. We’ve spoken about Time Crisis, but even before that, the scrolling beat-em-up was huge around the time of the Mega Drive.
Games such as Turtles in Time, X-Men and many more filled the Arcade floors, with 4-player co-op being a big sell to these games. But there was another game that no one expected to be as good as these.
In the early nineties, The Simpsons debuted on the FOX Channel and it became an instant phenomenon, spawning outlets such as ‘Do the Bartman’ in the music charts, and the arcade game, where you could control one of The Simpsons.
Here’s why it’s a great alternative to Streets of Rage, and why it’s still played today in gaming bars.
Do this game for me Billy, McGarnagle
Released in 1991, ‘The Simpsons Arcade’ game debuted and took many by surprise. Some were expecting a simple platformer with the family, but here, it was a scrolling beat-em-up with different attacks for each character.
Controlling Marge, she would have a Hoover to attack with, while Bart would have his skateboard. Each character would have their own jump and attack, while items like bowling balls could be picked up and used against enemies.
There’s even a cut-scene at the start that mirrors the Simpsons intro, which still holds up thirty years on. The story is that Mr Burns has taken Maggie, who is carrying a diamond, and its up to the rest of the family to rescue her.
There are eight stages that cover the whole of Springfield, from meeting Krusty to even Moe at his tavern.
Use the Forks Homer
The game was re-released onto the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Arcade in 2012, but unfortunately it was removed just a couple of years later. It had online-multiplayer and leaderboard features, which made it a game that I would come back to repeatedly.
When you put this against Streets of Rage, one of the first impressions from this game is how well it reflects The Simpsons. From the art style, to the music, and even the levels, you can tell that the development team knew what The Simpsons were and what they were about.
It’s a game with lots of replay-ability, even as an arcade release, and even though it was only on consoles for a short while, there’s plenty of potential for it to come back, especially now that the series is owned by Disney.
Even a sequel to implement guest-appearances such as McGarnagle, Fallout Boy, Poochie and Flanders with purple drapes would be welcome. But if you can find the game at your local arcade-bar once restrictions are lifted, bring a few friends and enjoy.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Retro page.