When Komami released The Simpsons back in 1991 it became an instant success across arcades worldwide. Why? Because it uses characters and reference jokes from the hit television series and it's gameplay was heavily geared towards multi-player. This is fun and simple four-player gaming, what better way to spend your quarters?
The Simpsons is a side-scrolling, beat-em-up similar to it's arcade predecessor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The aim of the game is to rescue baby Maggie Simpson from the clutches of the evil billionaire Monty Burns. This is accomplished by punching and kicking your way through eight tough stages. Until you make it to the Nuclear Power plant where Maggie is being held captive.
For some reason the whole town of Springfield has a bone to pick with the Simpson's, but nothing a little cartoon violence can't sort out. Each character has their basic attack button and a special unique attack, Bart uses his skateboard as a weapon, while Marge relies on her trusty vacuum cleaner. In addition and even cooler is that the Simpson's can join together for even more damaging multi-player attacks. Homer and Marge can become a human donut and roll around the screen, or Bart can be picked up and thrown for example.
The graphics are typically cartoony, bright and colourful and feature state of the art special effects. In 1991, sprite rotation, scaling and warping were the latest, greatest thing. Basically 2D effects to manipulate game images in weird ways. Bosses enlarge to cover the whole screen and certain backgrounds twist in disturbing dream like ways. It's still nice to see the use of graphical features when looking back at retrogames.
The Simpsons is now a loved piece of videogame history, good gameplay stands the test of time. Especially when more than one player is involved.