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I took the plunge recently and picked up an old Mega Drive console on the cheap.
Friends and family, they all said I was mad, and I was starting to believe them - until I plugged it in and that magic 'Sega' screen popped up.
For the price of a new x-box game I snagged a handful of Mega drive games on a popular pre-owned site. They arrived and the nostalgia crept in as i sifted through the titles, each conjuring up images of a mis-spent youth, until a familiarly bright cover popped into view. Bart Simpson himself in one of the finest platform games of the 1990's.
I first bought this game brand new in 1992 and at the time it was cutting edge, fun and eminently playable. What shocked me was the fact that it was so damn easy to pick up and play almost 2 decades later! While the graphics have obviously slipped to the standard you'd now see on a mobile phone, the game is simply addictive. There are no save points, no seemingly invincible lead character and no abundance of weapons and goodies to make the game a cake-walk; just Bart, his x-ray specs and a few ingeniously used 'weapons' such as cherry bombs and rockets. A handful of extra lives is all the help you get (unless you're fortunate enough to discover some of the games secret extra life locations...). Fail, and you fail. Your only option being to reload and start again from the very beginning!
Five fiendishly difficult levels stand between you and that elusive end sequence screen, and believe me when I tell you that the sense of accomplishment you get is beyond 99% of today's offerings!
The game stands the test of time not because it's particularly cutting edge, but because it's fun! It is an insight to the world of the Simpsons which you just don't get from the newer games. From prank-calling Moe's Tavern to chucking Cherry Bombs outside the retirement home, this is classic Simpsons and should be picked up and played today! Given the current prices, there really is no excuse not to.
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants - Mega Drive
Firstly, I'd like to point out that although Dooyoo have this listed in the Amiga games catagory it is in the right place as this is where they keep all of the Mega Drive games.
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants is a single player game which was released on the Sega Mega Drive back in 1992. The game came as all Mega Drive games did in a box between Video and DVD size. The box contained an instruction manual and a 16 bit cartridge specifically for the Mega Drive.
** Game play **
My mum bought me The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants as a compromise present for one of my birthdays as she didn't allow me to watch The Simpsons show as she didn't feel it was suitable for me when I was young.
In The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants aliens have landed in Springfield and only Bart Simpson with his X-ray glasses knows about these aliens. In the game you play as Bart and must defeat the aliens to prevent them taking over Springfield.
The aliens have cleverly disguised themselves as humans and the only way you can tell them apart from the real residents of Springfield is by popping on your x-ray glasses, these will show you the hidden aliens and you must bounce on their head to kill them. You can also use weapons such as cherry bombs and rockets to help you.
In each level you must destroy certain items as you skateboard along. In the first level you must destroy any purple items by spraying them with your can of spray paint as you pass them.
The game is a platform game and when you are on your skateboard the gameplay is reasonably fast paced and can be quite hard to defeat aliens and managed to spray all the items you are supposed to be destroying. There is an option to walk instead of skateboard, this does make some things in the game easier, however there are somethings that are only possible when you are on your skateboard so I have always found it better to stay on the skateboard as much as I could and simply play a lot to improve my gaming skills.
While I found the controls of the game really easy and had no problems controlling Bart I found the game itself to be really difficult. The levels are really long, which is good as there are only five of them, however they are really hard to finish and I think in my best games I have only ever got as far as halfway through the second level where I was required to continue with jumping on aliens while destroying hats.
Due to the way the Mega Drive was, with only certain games having a save ability I find that with the levels being so long and quite difficult to complete this destroys some of the game life as each time you play you have to start all over again. I think that maybe a cartridge which allows you to save the game might have been a good idea with this game, or more levels but shorter in length and not quite so difficult until you progress further in the game.
** Graphics and Sound **
The graphics in the game are basic but good. They're smooth and the loading time between screens is pretty quick. The sound is good and features The Simpsons theme tune along with many of Bart Simpson's "Eat my shorts!" catchphrases.
** Price and Availability **
If you want to get your hands on this game you are best to look on eBay where there are often listings for The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants starting at 99p for auctions and around the £2 mark for buy it now.
** My Experience and Opinion **
Although I cannot get very far with this game I would just about recommend it as it is fun and as a Simpsons fan I find it to be better than more recent Simpson's games released on other consoles. I am however only rating it as 3 stars due to the difficulty and extra long levels!
Thanks for reading :)