Krusty's Super Fun House
Year released: 1993
It's becoming more and more apparent to me that The Simpsons, in all its satirical splendor, just does not make for a good vehicle for video games. Bart vs. the Space Mutants had a number of flaws that put it under the 67% line of adequacy, and Bart's Nightmare was a splendid concept brought crashing to its knees by one errant side quest. Krusty's Super Fun House does little to sway my opinion otherwise, since it takes what should be an innocent little puzzle game and turn it into an ardurous chore.
If you've played Lemmings before, you might have a bit of a headstart in figuring out the objective of this game. In each room of Krusty's aforementioned House 'o' Fun, one or more rats crawl out of a whole in the wall and begin to march aimlessly around the room. If they come across something that's one block high, they'll jump over it; otherwise, they'll just turn around and walk the other way. Your job is to use the movable blocks in the room to lead the rats to their grisly end: a trap manned by one of the other Simpsons characters.
The audiovisuals aren't too terribly exciting, but they get the job done. The visuals fit nicely into the Simpsons template, with colorful rooms and amusing ads for Kwik-E-Mart and Otto's Bus Tours littering the walls. The rats themselves walk upright, another trademark of Matt Groening's drawing style. Each level has a different feel, from pipes and tubes to circus atmospheres, and even outside rooms. There's some cute animation as well, such as Krusty's wheezing when his energy runs low and the various methods of rodent extermination. The music is a little flighty, as there are some cases where one track loops out of synch with the rest of the theme, but it actually serves to give the music a little variety, seeing as there are only five main in-game tracks. And if you don't like the music, you're in luck - a press of the L button and you're playing in silence. There aren't many sound effects either, aside from the occasional squeaking of the rats and Krusty's incidental sounds, but they do help flesh out the experience.
The game controls decently enough. Seeing as an NES version was also released for this game, it makes sense that the X, Y, L, and R buttons don't serve much if any purpose. The hit detection is quite good and you don't recoil when you take a hit, which is nice. I do have a little bit of a problem with trying to jump through holes in the ceiling which are one block wide; if you're not perfectly centered, you'll hit the ceiling. This can be problematic in certain areas, where you have to move quickly.
Now here's where things start to slip. First off, as I've alluded to above, there are enemies in many of the rooms that must be fended off with either cream pies or bouncy balls. Take too many hits, and you lose a life. I don't see any reason for these enemies to be there, honestly. They serve no higher purpose than to slow you down and sap your health, all while you're trying to accomplish a completely different goal. This isn't like Lolo, where the enemies have a tactical reason to be there; this game would be just as playable without the flying pigs and Space Mutants.
Secondly, there are a large number of rooms - from the second level on - where the point is simply to guide one rat through little more than a minefield, with just about every slip-up resulting in the rat being sent right back to its starting position. Other times, one slight miscalculation can get you stuck, leaving you to forfeit a life. Finally, later levels have invisible platforms, which are totally extraneous because you wind up guessing where they are. And while all these problems would probably be much more tolerable if you could save your progress consistently, you only get a password for clearing each level, meaning that you stand to replay a large number of rooms should you get a game over later on.
While the interesting puzzle concept is good for some thrills, eventually there comes a point where the game is more trouble than it's worth. The ending is unsurprisingly short and unrewarding, so I don't see many people tearing their hair out to clear every room. Playing through the first couple of levels should be enough for most people, and that's assuming that you don't get frustrated by the number of times you're forced to start over one way or another. There is an ultimate code that combines infinite lives and weapons with freedom to roam into any level - " JOSHUA " (With a space before and after the name) and that's pretty much the way to go in this game.
To sum up, Krusty's Super Fun House starts out a fairly playable puzzle game. The further you go through it, though, the less you'll want to go through it.
|Play Control: ||
|Technical Score: 13
|Aesthetic Score: 8
|Overall Score: 58%|