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The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

Moby ID: 4386
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Description official description

Bart vs. The Space Mutants is a platform game where the player goes into the role of Bart Simpson (from the TV show The Simpsons) and must stop the Space Mutants from invading Springfield.

On each of the five levels, Bart must collect (or get rid of) the ingredients that the Space Mutants are planning to use to build their machine, such as purple objects or balloons. He also has to collect enough "proof" of the aliens existence (brown coins left behind when they are jumped on), so his family members will help him when he meets a boss (characters such as Nelson and Sideshow Bob). This won't be easy since the Space Mutants are "using" human bodies as disguise. In order to discover who are the real Space Mutants, Bart must use his X-ray Specs.

The ways Bart can get rid of those objects sought by the Space Mutants are numerous. For instance, in the first stage, Bart must get rid of purple objects. He can dye them red, cover them, wash them, etc. Some even involve a little puzzle solving, like playing a trick on Moe to make him get out of the bar.

Bart also has some coins that can be used in many ways throughout the game, like buying things, getting devices operating, etc. Those coins are essential to solve some puzzles in the game.

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Credits (DOS version)

12 People

The Simpsons Characters Created by
Game Design by
  • Imagineering Inc.
Original Score by
Story Conceived by
Game Developed by
  • Arc Developments
Game Produced by
Software Engineering by
Visual Engineering by
Audio Engineering by
Additional Sounds by
Additional Graphics by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 69% (based on 43 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 138 ratings with 7 reviews)

Eat My Shorts, Dude

The Good
The Simpsons is one of the longest running television shows in the history of television. If you were growing up during the early 1990s you probably caught the Simpsons bug and, to their credit, the folks at Acclaim clearly had some good intentions in bringing the PG13 animated world to the G-rated NES world.

The Bad
It is a side-scrolling action game with little action involved because you simply do not attack anything in a level other then space aliens hiding in humans or the various bosses. You can collect some cool items and perform a few rebellious acts, but they are all designed to collect enough objects (i.e. hats) in a level to meet the boss.

Most of the time, success in each level involves making precise jumps and avoiding space aliens and other oddities like shoes. Bosses are defeated by jumping on them, in the precise place, or figuring out how to collect enough letters to spell a family members name, who provide some help with the boss.

Bart can only withstand two direct hits before he loses a life and there are no continues or passwords. Your health is only restored when you complete a level and you can only earn nine extra lives. The game comes off as being boring and unreasonable difficult.

The Bottom Line
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants attempts to capture the look of the tv series, with some success. However, Bart is a bit wimpy in the game and their is something a bit odd about being able to collect rockets and cherry bombs, but not actually use them for anything other then to collect something like hats.

In contrast, the arcade Simpsons game is not especially creative in the game play department but it was alot more fun to play then this game.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2010

The first and still one of the best Simpsons licensees

The Good
Back in the early 90s I used to read a lot a certain video game magazine. I got to know most of my first games through it, and this includes Bart vs. the Space Mutants. The magazine had an article covering the first two stages for the NES version of the game, and I was amazed by the variety of gameplay the game had to offer. By that time I had an NES but I never got to play the game on it (I didn't find the game to buy at any store and I guess I didn't find it on any rental store, or else I would rent it, as I did with most the games I played back then).

One year later my brother got us a Mega Drive and it came with Altered Beast on it. As I did with my NES, I rented most of the games I played, specially because I had bad experiences in buying some games. Some of them used to turn out boring in a couple of months and I found it too expensive to buy a game just to find myself tired of it after some play time. But I never got Bart vs. the Space Mutants out of my head so I got it for Christmas in 1992, and it was the only game I ever bought for that particular Mega Drive (which I sold in 1996).

I was really excited about it, because the graphics in the Mega Drive version were far superior than the NES one. Besides, I had two magazines covering all the strategies to beat the game, so it really seemed like a great deal. And in fact, I wouldn't regret buying it.

First of all, the graphics in the Mega Drive version just shine! They are colourful and really make justice to the show. Looking at the opening animation screens today, I realize they are quite simple. They're not really what you would call animations, as the UFO image just scrolls down the screen and the animation where Bart puts his X-Ray glasses to see the Space Mutants is really just two alternating frames. But that really looked amazing back in the day. The use of bright colors fitted the game even more due to an interesting plot device right in the first stage, which probably is the strongest feature in the game, granting space for really great gameplay features all through the game.

The story is the following: the Space Mutants are about to take over the earth and, to do so, they're building a powerful weapon out of purple objects. Where will they gather the objects? Springfield, of course. This may seem really dull for an story, but this simple story allows the game to be more than just a regular platformer. Bart is the one to save the world, as the title implies, and to do so, in the first stage, he needs to get rid of all purple objects he finds. He will do so in the most varied ways, what gives the game some puzzle solving action. The easiest way of doing so is painting the purple objects other colors than purple. The color of choice here is red, and this is done by using a color spray can. But Bart can also get rid of the objects in other ways, like walking on a clothes line to drop clothes over the objects, or using a wrench to open an hydrant and let water wash the wet purple paint on an awning. The later way involves more than you would expect from a platformer, as Bart has to buy the wrench at a specific store. He does so with coins collected all over the stage. The coins are also used in other interesting ways, such as playing Moe a trick to get him out of the tavern and painting his purple apron. The coins are used also in different ways at later stages.

Once Bart frustrates the Space Mutants' plans in using purple objects, they turn to other objects for the same purpose. In stage two, they'll look for hats at the shopping mall, in stage three it will be balloons at Krustyland Amusement Park, in stage four the objects sought will be "Exit" signs at the Natural History Museum and in the last stage, they'll look for radioactive cylinders at the nuclear facility where Homer works (finally something that resembles fuel for a powerful weapon!). The variety of objects and scenarios add value to the game, as the level design gets really interesting and fun. Again, the ways of getting rid of the objects is quite varied, and the game will keep the player interested.

Each stage has a final boss, and there's something interesting here too: Bart can get help from one of his family members at each stage to beat the boss. In stage one it will be Maggie, in stage two, Marge, in Stage Three, Lisa and in stage four, Homer. The interesting part is how Bart gets their help: he must collect proof about the Space Mutants. He will collect it by jumping over their heads, but the problem is that the space mutants are using human bodies as disguise! Using his X-Ray goggles, Bart can tell the Space Mutants apart from regular human beings. Once he gathers enough proof to spell his family member's name, he'll get their help.

The music and sound effects are OK, but the music can get a bit annoying due to reasons to be spoken of in "The Bad" section.

The Bad
There is a really cool "Eat my shorts, man!" speech every time you die. Even though it is cool as I said, I'm mentioning it here in the bad section because you'll hear it a lot of times, as this game is reeeeally hard! Even though I loved this game, I got quickly uninterested in it because I kept dying several times right at the first stage!

Even though the overall gameplay isn't that complex, the game can get a bit confusing at first. One button is used for action, one for jumping and one to use the main weapon (which varies throughout the stages). Running and jumping higher on objects can be done by holding the jump button, and this is somewhat difficult sometimes. Jumping farther can be done with both the gun and the jump button pressed, but you'll lose ammunition. Bart also moves a bit too fast and it makes difficult for one to navigate Bart through some jumping parts. You know a platform game went wrong when you die too much from imprecise jumping.

Bart has a life meter of only two hits, so dying is pretty easy. The game has lots of hidden lives, and be sure you'll need all of them. This is that kind of game you have to master each level in order to beat, as you'll need to get to the last level with the most lives you can. On top of that, the game offers no continues.

Another annoying thing is that you really have to know each level by heart. The puzzles aren't completely intuitive and some of them require a really precise positioning of Bart. For instance, at the first stage you have to use a flying rocket to scare a purple bird away. Unless you're in the exact right spot, you'll miss it and will have to use another rocket. As rockets are bought with money, you'll need every coin you can get. As moving around the level is pretty hard, either you get to know the right amount by trial and error or you find yourself a walkthrough to tell you beforehand what to buy.

It took me several years of practice to beat this game, and I only did it once. I reached the last level lots of times, but finishing was never easy. The time limit is something that you only consider when you get the last level, as it is a maze really hard to memorize, (even more due the fact you get to it much less frequently than the earlier stages, for obvious reasons).

The sound effects, although good, are a bit lacking. You'll get sounds for hitting objects and jumping, but that's it. I'm pretty sure it isn't due hardware limitations, even though this game came early in Mega Drive's history. Some more digitized bits, as when Bart plays Moe a trick would be awesome. But even if that is asking too much, other simple but more frequent sounds would be cool. The music is something which could've been done better. Even if it is cool, the levels are sometimes quite long, and the amount of time you spend on them (specially because of the constant dying) makes it a bit annoying. Also, I don't get why the developers didn't use the main theme from the show in the opening screen.

The Bottom Line
Bart vs. the Space Mutants is a really good game with lots of great ideas. The gameplay is varied and it bears lots of interesting gameplay devices which add some adventure value to a good platformer. The graphics are really good, even it being an early Mega Drive release. It could be a bit more polished by the inclusion of better sound effects and tighter controls. I for one would love to see a fan-made remake of it, with its minor flaws addressed and the difficulty level lowered a bit.

Genesis · by chirinea (47516) · 2009

Eat My Cartridge, Man!

The Good
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants for the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive for PAL gamers) is noticeably improved from the original NES Nintendo edition.

Here, the Simpson's characters and the beloved town of Springfield look much closer to the television series.

The famous musical score also sounds much better on the Genesis, in comparison to the original Nintendo edition.

The Bad
Once you get beyond the nice visual and audio improvements, many of the faults with the Nintendo edition have been left intact on the Genesis.

Young Bart can still only take two direct hits before he loses a life and his health is only restored after completing a level. You will need to collect the maximum number of extra lives if you plan on beating this game, without using the Galoob Game Genie device.

Each level requires Bart to accomplish two main tasks -- within a fairly limited amount of time. First, certain objects in each level must be stolen or modified; i.e. balloons, hats, shoes or purple objects so as to prevent them from being used by the evil space aliens.

Originally, prior to the Internet becoming mainstream, it was not always clear what items you needed to collect or where they were in each level.

Even if you knew what type of item needed to be "obtained", you had to content with an fast moving timer and, again, your inability to survive more then two direct hits.

Secondly, it is VERY difficult -- if not impossible -- to defeat the boss at the end of each level, unless you have persuaded a Simpsons family member to help you out.

How do you do what, you may be asking? Well, it is another tedious pain in the you-know-what.

Some of the Springfield residents wandering around the levels are really space aliens. If you carefully, jump on these residents heads then they will drop an icon that spells one letter in a family member's name.

If, you get enough of the icons to spell out a character's name, then they will be on hand to give you some much needed assistance when battling a boss.

On paper this probably sounded like a fun idea. Just like the idea of collecting hats in a indoor shopping mall, may have sounded like a really, really, really, really fun concept for a Simpsons video game....on paper.

Yet, most of the time these objectives are tedious and, because of the cruel timer and the fragile (and rather passive) nature of your character, frustratingly difficult.

True, Bart does get to make a prank call early on in the game and, yes, he can collect various prankster-type items.

However, his character is still amazingly passive because most of these "offensive" and cool items are not used against the army of space aliens plotting to take over the world.

These cool items are used primarily to help you change an object's color or help you collect shoes or hats. What teenager wouldn't love the opportunity to collect cool, juvenile-type items so that you can....collect hats and shoes.

Wait, I have changed my mind. Their is no way such an idea could have looked remotely cool on paper, unless it was written by the Springfield Principal or Mr. Burns.

Last, but not least, it should be noted that the folks at "Flying Edge" (Cool Name....NOT!) had the habit of reversing the standard game play format for Genesis video games.

So along with the flaws found in the original Nintendo edition, this version adds in bad control mechanics. This was not just a one time flaw. Just about EVERY single Flying Edge video game I played, made this same mistake. Hmm.

The Bottom Line
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants for the Sega Genesis looks and sounds better then the original, Nintendo edition of the game.

The game features many of the familiar characters and locations from the TV series and, on paper, the idea of young Bart stopping space aliens with bottle rockets and other such tools does sound cool.

Sadly, the flaws from the original Nintendo edition were brought over to the Genesis edition, along with some new flaws.

Diehard Simpsons fans will want to check out the game. Other gamers, even those that enjoy the TV series, will probably feel like telling the game to go "eat" its-self or something else, less polite.

Genesis · by ETJB (428) · 2014

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Trivia

Amiga bundle

The game was bundled with the Amiga for about a year, in a bundle called Cartoon Classics which also included Captain Planet, Lemmings, and Deluxe Paint 3. The pack was unchanged when the Amiga 500 Plus model launched. Because the Amiga didn't come with a joystick at the time, the bundled version was edited to allow for keyboard control.

Amiga version

For the Amiga version, Arc Development decided to include an animated opening sequence in the style of the actual Simpsons show. In order for them to do this they had to send each frame to Matt Groening and he hand drew over each one. Despite this effort, the animation still looks poor in comparison to the show.

Awards

  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #85 “Readers' Top 100”

Information also contributed by Martin Smith

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Psykax.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Game Gear added by chirinea. SEGA Master System added by Sciere. ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. Atari ST added by Terok Nor. NES added by Unicorn Lynx. Amiga added by MAT. Amstrad CPC added by Katakis | カタキス. Genesis added by Syed GJ.

Additional contributors: Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker, Alaka, FatherJack.

Game added June 28, 2001. Last modified June 8, 2024.