Seven horribly bad Treehouse of Horror mini-games.
This is a Simpsons game based on episodes from the Treehouse of Horror tales featured in the Simpsons TV-series. The game has seven different tales that are played as separate mini-games. Each mini-game (or level if you see it like that) has its own story, and in order to play them all you need to beat them in order.
The game starts by showing the Simpson’s residence. This works as the menu of the game and you will be able to start the game, enter the options screen or enter a password from a previous game. The options screen lets you choose if you want to play on difficulty one or two and whether you want to play with music and/or sound effects – that’s about it. Once you start the game you’ll see the Treehouse of Horror, and each game is represented here by a window in the house. Only one window is lit up however, and that is the game you have to play to be able to unlock the other ones.
The first game is about Bart as he must rescue his dog that is lost in the attic of a haunted house version of the Simpson’s house. This game plays like most side-scrolling platform games does. Bart must thus avoid the many dangers in the house comprised of rats, spiders, zombie arms, possessed vacuum cleaners, flying books and the likes. But he must hurry as somehow, the dog (named Santa’s Little Helper) is becoming Satan’s Little Helper in this haunted house. In order to reach the attic, Bart needs to find fuses and place them in the fuse box in the basement to light up the dark rooms.
In short, there is nothing positive to say about this first game. The scrolling and the whole game is very jerky, it’s hard to jump on platforms as Bart seems to fall through them sometimes, the enemies will respawn in your face, there are pitfalls that lead to an instant death and it goes on like that. Needless to say, frustration is never far away.
The other games involve playing as Maggie as she has turned into a Maggie-fly. Your goal here is to reach the transporter device that will turn her back to her own self. Maggie must avoid spiders, ants, and wasps that attack her. This also suffers from poor design since you can’t see much of what’s coming up ahead and you have no means to defend yourself.
You’ll also get to play as Marge when she finds out that everyone in Springfield has turned into zombies, and she must fight her way through the zombies and reach the safety of her home. Besides from suffering from the same jerky controls, the biggest issue with this part of the game is the fact that you have to replay way too much if you die.
The following mini-game features Homer as he is on a quest to destroy a vampire version of Mr. Burns. This basically is a platform game inside a huge castle. There are platforms and pitfalls everywhere and the difficulty level is almost diabolically mean.
In the next game Mr. Burns has tried to create the perfect employee to work in his power plant. He has used Homer’s head and created a robot out of him. Robot Homer must now find the rest of his body. Mr. Burns has hidden and spread out Homer’s body parts in the power plant. Like in Maggie’s game you have no means to attack in this section of the game, and the enemies come in all shapes and forms. You can just barely jump over some of them and thus it’s just a pain to play.
In the next tale Lisa needs to rescue her fellow students at the elementary school as it turns out that the teachers and staff of the school are feeding on children. Lisa must find the keys to all the cages her friends are locked up in and set them free. This game has a bit more thought to it than the other ones. Lisa can search for keys in various places and hide up against the wall to avoid detection from the teachers. But still the level is poorly designed as you must match the right key to the right cage – as if they tried to make the game last longer by implementing tedious tasks for the player to do.
The last mini-game is again about Homer. He has turned into King Homer, a huge gorilla monster looking for his love Marge. The military is doing what they can to stop the monster from destroying the town. After having played the other mini-games, it really comes as no surprise that the controls are awful even in this one. You’ll need to walk from left to right and climb buildings and skyscrapers to get past them. It’s virtually impossible to avoid the oncoming enemies as they spawn just inches from you, and when dropping down from a building there’s no telling where you’ll land. Quite possibly you’ll take a few hits on your way down and typically land between two tanks that are just waiting to pump you full with rockets.
A common theme across all the mini-games are terrible hit-detection on the sprites, weapons that are incredibly weak and hard to utilize and clunky controls. Either way you put it, this game is simply bad and agonizing to play.
Overall the graphics aren’t all that bad. Besides from the jerky camera that seems to be consistent, the graphics are mostly clear and colorful, quite comparable to the style of the Simpson’s cartoons. Considering that this is a Game Boy Color title, you can’t really demand that much more from the graphics. It might just be that the visuals are the best aspect of this game, but that doesn’t uplift the playability.
The music is a poor rendition of the Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror song. It becomes old very quickly and it’s very monotone altogether. I’m pretty sure that the music of this game can by itself cause severe headaches – it’s that bad.
It’s a mystery to me how a game like this can be produced and published, let alone pass quality assurance and game testing. Sure, a game can be hard but this is way over what any human should need to tolerate, especially considering that Simpsons seems to attract a young audience. Even if you are the biggest Simpson fan out there, do yourself a huge favor and stay away from this garbage game.