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Old 10-08-2011, 12:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Retronauts: Simpsons Smackdown!

It was fun while it lasted, but after two decades, Fox is seriously considering an end to The Simpsons, its longest running television series and the forefather of the modern animated sitcom. The executives at the network are pleading poverty, claiming that the show is no longer profitable and that the cast would need to take a substantial pay cut before they would even consider another season. However, television insiders have concluded that The Simpsons is worth more to Fox dead, as a revamped syndication package, than alive, as an expensive to produce and increasingly redundant part of the network's Animation Domination programming block.

How will this all pan out for Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Bart? Nobody can say for sure, but most fans agree that the series probably should have taken its curtain call years ago, after the first eight seasons. There's also a general consensus that the best Simpsons game released during the show's golden years was the arcade title by Konami. Emboldened by its success with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Konami was determined to base a side-scrolling beat 'em up on every oddball cartoon it could find. Sometimes this scattershot strategy backfired magnificently... just ask the poor sap who paid five thousand dollars to put a Bucky 'O Hare machine in his pool hall! However, The Simpsons was already snowballing into a hit for Fox, and its massive cast and fast-paced comedy worked beautifully with Konami's brand of frantic crowd control.

The gameplay won't surprise anyone familiar with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When Maggie mistakes a fist-sized diamond for a pacifier, she's kidnapped by jewel thieves, and it's up to the rest of the Simpsons to rescue her. (What, did you expect Chief Wiggum to do it? Yeah, good luck with that.) On your way through Springfield, you'll be swarmed by chubby thugs, Conan O'Brien clones, and even the occasional kwijibo, but you can fight back with Marge's vaccum cleaner, Bart's skateboard, Lisa's jump rope, or Homer's fists. Even more than TMNT, the game encourages teamwork, a clever nod to the show's loving if somewhat contentious family dynamic. Some items are too heavy for one player to lift, and especially powerful attacks can be unleashed when two of the Simpsons join forces. Put Homer and Marge together and they become a rolling wheel of death; set Bart and Lisa side by side and they throw a tantrum in tandem, mowing down nearby enemies.

Twenty years after its debut, the game is still surprisingly faithful to the series that inspired it. There are plenty of cameos from the show's bit players, and most of the voice talent is present, with the unfortunate exception of Harry Shearer. (Making Mr. Burns the final boss was a great idea! Hiring someone else to do his voice... not so much.) However, while classic episodes of The Simpsons mine their humor from situations and clever wordplay, the game prefers slapstick violence and surreal sight gags, making it a more cartoony experience than the actual cartoon! Series creator Matt Groening and executive producer Sam Simon went to great lengths to keep the show bolted into standard sitcom conventions, and it's refreshing that someone finally let these characters out of that cramped box.

Sadly, Konami's take on The Simpsons was as elusive as it was vibrant. Thanks to licensing squabbles, the company could only release its game on home computers, which weren't yet up to the task of delivering an arcade-quality experience. Console gamers had to settle for a dozen shaky Simpsons titles by Acclaim, followed by a handful of slightly less crummy Electronic Arts releases. Recently, EA redesigned the Simpsons arcade game for smartphones, but the company made so many changes that the appeal of the original was lost. You're better off using that phone to ask three friends to meet you at the bowling alley for a few games of the real Simpsons, and to reminesce about the show's glory days.




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Last edited by Kong; 10-08-2011 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Simpsons Smackdown!

I remember we wasted so much money on the Simpsons arcade game. I think we beat it but we probably spent five bucks each.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Simpsons Smackdown!

Me and Fungusman beat it about 3 or 4 months ago.
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