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The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants is one of those games, which were released during the Simpsons hype in the early 90s. In most cases, this would be a bad sign, as most themed games are developed to take the benefit from their related TV-show or movie and are often released too early with many bugs and bad programming. However, Bart vs. The Space Mutants is one of the better games in the Simpsons series. The game’s first release was for NES, and after having some success, it was ported to many other systems including Amiga, PC and even C64.
You take the role of Bart Simpson and have to avoid an alien invasion of earth. These aliens have constructed an evil machine, which needs certain objects in order to take over the earth. As the alien technology seems to be completely different from human achievements, these objects are quite stupid things like purple items, balloons, etc. So Bart has to stroll through Springfield and prevent the alien invaders from gathering these things. On his way, he gets to visit many well known locations, like Downtown Springfield, Krustyland and even the Nuclear Power Plant.
Bart has to spraypaint or cover objects, collect others or simply destroy them with his slingshot. Each level has a special task, he has to fulfill in order to advance. Besides these objectives, he can collect some other items like coins that enable him to buy helpful things like cherrybombs in shops, or alien tokens from the alien mindsuckers, which have infested most of springfields population. These aliens are invisible, but thanks to Bart’s fabulous x-ray glasses, which never worked at school, but make these aliens visible, he can easily tell, who’s infested and who’s not. The alien tokens are converted to letters of the Simpson family member’s name you see in the lower left corner. If you’re able to complete this name until the end of a level, the respective family member will appear and help you to defeat the level’s boss. Besides the normal jump’n’run action there are some action sequences like skateboard rides, etc.
The game’s graphics are quite nice and very colourful, but the sound is simply horrible. The Simpson’s theme is rather squeaky in its original version, but this one has the power to drive you crazy. I’d suggest to turn the sound off, as the sound effects aren’t very remarkable either. Another downside is the interface, which could only be called “strange”. The keys are defined as follows: O – left, P – right, Q – jump, A – use, SPACE – fire. Please note, that I’ve got a German keyboard layout, and those keys might be wrong for most of you. The joystick’s controls are much better, however. If you want to switch between objects in your inventory, you have to hold the use-button and press space. Holding use and pressing left or right makes you speed up and jump higher. As fas as I’m concerned, these controls need some practise...
As a conclusion, I rate this game with 3, as it is quite fun to play, but lacks some adequate controls and music. As the first level is the funniest in the whole game in my opinion, you are able to just take a quick look at the game without missing too much. But who knows... Maybe you get a hang of it, once you’re into the controls.
The game archive includes a crack, but I still had some problems with the copy protection and therefore included the codes, which can be found in the extras section.
I had no problems running the game in DOSBox, but the intro seems to hang sometimes. If you experience the same problems, try running the game using the Simpgame.exe file. VDMSound works, but slows down the game significantly using the default settings. Some configuration is needed in order to play the game properly.