Urge to kill rising...
I was going to end the review right there, but stupid Game Revolution has a 'word count' thing that I have to adhere to. Mmmmm...word count.
Look, this game is so bad I'm not even going to bother peppering this review with funny Simpsons quotes. In fact, I was going to try pretending this game has nothing to do with The Simpsons. I contemplated denying the very existence of this game in hopes of sending a message to the developers that this kind of thing is unacceptable. Actually, Duke tried that once before and evidently it didn't work, because here I sit reviewing yet another piece of software that was a bad idea before it was even made. Well, if we must...
I knew I was in trouble when the game began with no intro. No animation, no story - just the same picture that's on the box and the words "Press Start" taunting me. This is all I get from a game based on a cartoon?
Most of your favorite characters are here and immediately selectable - Homer, Marge, Bart, Groundskeeper Willie, Krusty, etc. There are also some hidden characters like The Bumblebee Man that are unlocked upon completion of the game.
Each character has his or her own unique fighting style...which seems to make absolutely no difference whatsoever. You have low, medium and high power attacks, each with its own button. That's pretty much it. No quarter circles on the D-pad, no tapping Left, Left, Punch....you just hit "low," "medium," or "high" and watch the characters do their thing. If you suffer from some sort of brain damage and all those commands confuse you, you can simply jump on your opponents head ala Mario Bros. Yeah! Or rather, Ugh!
I anticipated writing passages like, "Homer's 'Donut Death Drop' requires some deft manipulation of the control pad, but when executed correctly it's worth the effort." But alas, there's no 'Donut Death Drop' and deft manipulation of the controller is never an issue. If you look up "Button Masher" in the dictionary, you will find Groundskeeper Willy's face scowling at you. There is absolutely no skill required to master this game. But a keg of Duff's might help.
Someone forgot to include a button for blocking or defense of any kind. Instead, power-ups in the form of donuts and "Krusty-O's" appear randomly in the ring throughout the match. Armed with enough of these, your character is given temporary invulnerability and taunts your opponent with character-appropriate insults.
I distinctly recall seeing the word "wrestling" on the box. Unfortunately, there appears to be very little wrestling in the game. It's simply round after round of Simpsons characters bashing each other with stuff. Did I just write "rounds"? There are no rounds in wrestling! Simpsons Wrestling seems to follow the tried and true fighting game formula of best of three rounds as opposed to wrestling's "two out of three falls" matches. There are no tag teams (can't you just picture Mayor Quimby and Chief Wiggum vs. Krusty & Sideshow Mel?), no climbing the top rope, no action outside the ring and no wrestling fun whatsoever. Make that no fun whatsoever.
Speaking of the ring, it's way too big. Since your character slowly regains health over time and rounds have no time limit, you can simply run around avoiding your opponent until you feel healthy enough to attack. This gameplay is about as much fun as riding the Monorail.
Polygonal break-up, excessive jaggies and brutal slowdown plague this game. Watch as your character stands motionless while his appendages vanish and reappear as if by magic. I would complain about the collision detection, but there doesn't seem to be any. You and your opponent can stand face to face wailing on one another with no idea whose attacks are actually connecting until one (or the both) of you fall over. It's just endless whacking, back and forth.
The voice acting in this game is its only saving grace. Surprisingly, the voices aren't sampled from the show, and The Simpsons crew does an amazingly funny job with original material specific to the game. Notice, however, that I didn't say the sounds, just the voices. The sound effects are pretty abysmal. Getting hit by a rake sounds like being hit by a pie in the face, which sounds like getting hit by a thrown "Squishy," which sounds like getting punched, which sounds like... you get the idea.
When you think of The Simpsons, you categorically DON'T think of wrestling...and there's a good reason why. This is a match made in the deepest recesses of Hell, a few feet from the where they make forbidden donuts. Looks like we've found the first forbidden game.