The Simpsons Arcade Game was this perfect blend of my love for gaming with my friends, my love for gaming in general, and my newfound love for The Simpsons. That game sucked out quarters from me whenever I saw a machine. Sadly, during that time when Konami was creating it and other great 4-player arcade experiences, the games never made them to consoles. Well it was released on the Commodore 64, but seriously, how many people had that?
There was a version of the game released for the iPhone two years back that attempted to recreate the experience, but it wasn't even close to the original. Thankfully, Konami has gone back into their catalogue to pull out this classic, having released it for Xbox Live Arcade and PSN.
Just as You Remember It - Everything about The Simpsons Arcade Game is authentic. There's no deviation from the original or un-needed extras put in the game. It's still one button to attack and one to jump. They essentially took the arcade version with all the original voices and music, made it work on Xbox Live/PSN, and added some achievements to it. What more could you want?
Fun With Friends and Strangers - As they've done with other arcade games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles and X-Men Arcade Game, Konami added online play to these beat 'em ups recreating the arcade experience over Xbox Live/PSN. Whether it is with friends or strangers, you can always find someone to play with you, making The Simpsons an experience more authentic to the arcade version. It's hard to not have fun with this game when you have a full group of players.
Two Games in One - Like the X-Men Arcade Game, you can play the U.S or Japanese version of the game, although the Japanese version has to be unlocked first. The difference between the two is that in the Japanese version there is a nuclear bomb weapon that will kill all enemies on screen and the enemies are a little easier. Still, it's enough of a difference to warrant a playing through the game multiple times unlike the X-Men Arcade Game where the difference were hardly noticeable.
An Ugly Reminder of the Past - Sadly, the graphics of The Simpsons Arcade Game did not get an upgrade. There is literally nothing different graphically from this version than if you ran the game on an emulator. For that reason, it makes for an ugly game. Hell, I could go to one of the local pizza places that still has this game, and it would look much better there than it would on my HDTV. While you're still going to have tons of fun with this game, it's not going to be a pretty experience.
Whenever someone talks about the problems with games going digital, I point them to games like The Simpsons Arcade Game as examples of what's so great about going digital. Making a disc version of a 20 year old arcade game would not be an ideal project for any publisher, but release it digitally and they make a portion of the audience happy while not spending much in producing the game. Get this game if you enjoyed the original back in the arcades or if you want a fun game to play online with friends.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*