The Simpsons Wrestling
Die-hard Simpsons fans must have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Simpsons Wrestling. Having characters from Matt Groening's hugely popular and witty cartoon series facing off against each other seems like a great idea, but even the most loyal Simpsons fan will be extremely disappointed with the result.
As the game loads, the familiar sound of the Simpsons theme chimes in. A few seconds later, after the nostalgia of the song leaves you and you choose your player, disappointment starts to build. The visuals would have barely passed the bar in 1995 when the PlayStation was first introduced, and they definitely don't cut it by today's standards, especially with games like Klonoa: Door to Phantomile available.
Your initial character roster includes Barney, Groundskeeper Willie, Apu, Krusty, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart. There are four hidden characters in the game, but if you've watched the show, the identity of the characters won't be hard for you to figure out.
The fighting arenas are huge wrestling rings placed in familiar locales around the town of Springfield, including Krusty the Clown's studio, Moe's Tavern and the bowling alley. Characters from the television show are sloppily placed at random outside of the ring and yell out occasional wisecracks...unfortunately they remain static and devoid of any type of comic expression and creativity.
The game mechanics are equally disappointing. Those expecting a game akin to the WWF and WCW series should look elsewhere, as this title is a street brawl, plain and simple. Each character has his or her special weapon: Bart has his slingshots, Barney has his beers, Homer has his donuts, and so forth.
The X button jumps, and the triangle, circle and square buttons activate your "attack". Each time you use an attack (slingshot for example), your "attack" bar is depleted, which may be to deter players from button mashing, as the bar regenerates quickly when no buttons are pressed. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
The game basically consists of running up to your opponent and mashing the buttons, with the winner being the one whoever mashes the fastest. Of course, there are other ways to exploit the "AI" of the computer. For instance, you can run up to your opponent, smack him, run away, run up to him again, smack him, and repeat. You can also repeatedly bounce on your enemies; once opponents are down, it's impossible for them to get back up.
Once you deplete your opponent's health bar, you can either (A) kick and punch him wildly for as long as you want or (B) pin him to the count of three, which wins you the round and starts the whole torture all over again. If these "strategies" don't work, you can also collect icons that appear randomly throughout the match, including letters that form the word TAUNT, which when activated makes you temporarily invincible after spewing out a corny one liner.
In short, this game simply doesn't do justice to the series. It seems that The Simpsons videogames in general, with the possible exception of the arcade beat 'em up based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles engine, are below average in quality. Do not buy this game unless you are a fan that simply has to have every piece of The Simpsons merchandise released on the shelves. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The characters might as well be composed of Tetris blocks. The static audience serves as wallpaper. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The dialog is great, but it gets annoying and repetitive in about five minutes. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The game might be enjoyable for those who love to slap buttons, but the fighting engine is extremely basic and the computer AI is non-existent. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
This game is only good when you play your friends, and that fun lasts about ten minutes before you pop in Tekken 3 or Street Fighter Alpha 3. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The instruction manual explains the controls, but they are so basic that instructions are not really needed. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide