So during October I always try to find some Halloween themed games for my wife and I to play. Though this year it's been tougher for us to find the time to play games together. Our daughter turned sixteen months and we're tired, y'all. But tonight after the baby went to bed, we decided to hook up my Retron 5 in the kitchen, and fire up The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare - a game that fit the theme well, given that we're doing our annual binge of all of the Treehouse Of Horror episodes of The Simpsons.
Anyway, I knew nothing about this game other than I vaguely remembered it existed. It's a single player game so we planned to do the old pass-the-controller thing between lives/levels. Oh, I should start by just pointing out that this game LOOKS excellent. Graphically, it's about as close as you get a 16-bit game to looking like a 1992 cartoon. So kudos.
You start out in a hub area that's basically Evergreen Terrace, I guess. And you... just walk around? And a bunch of stuff tries to kill you. First impressions were that - MY GOODNESS - everything feels janky. You walk really fast. EVERYTHING moves really fast. And everything wants to kill you. I mean literally the mailboxes were some of the most aggressive things coming at us right away. Making it worse, the hit detection is HORRIBLE. Just wow.
So we just kept walking around, getting hit by stuff (mailboxes, statue heads, BUSES) and wondering when the actual levels would start but we couldn't figure it out. We googled it and apparently you need to find homework pages and JUMP ON THEM to enter levels. We saw those pages, but tried to collect them and nothing happened. Didn't realize you needed to jump on them - a task which wasn't always easy given the wonky controls.
So we did that and tried a couple of levels. One level was based on Indiana Jones (I guess?) and had you jumping on a lot of platforms in an isometric view. It was almost weirdo Q-Bert or something. And we died quickly. So we tried another. This time we were sucked into Itchy & Scratchy's house and UGH you have to hit them with mallets. But WOW the controls are terrible. I had so much trouble figuring out when I was lined up to hit them, or which was I was facing, or if I was close enough. Even worse, the animation to swing the mallet took forever. So we died again. It was at this point that the game froze up and... honestly, we had just had enough.
My wife and I said - in unison - "well, they can't all be winners." So oh well. It's a bummer, though. The game looks good, and the premise of nightmares offered up a good bit of possibility. But sadly, it's just such a poorly programmed game that we couldn't enjoy it.