Publisher: Konami / Devleoper: Backbone Entertainment / Platform: PSN, XBLA

Who remembers Chuck E. Cheese’s?  There was one not to far from where I grew up, so just about everyone’s birthday party took place there.  Some people came for the huge ball pit, others loved the Baja racing game they had set up in the arcade, but one specific game (also found at the nearby Fuddruckers) ate so many of my quarters as a child it may actually rival that of my student loan debt: The Simpsons Arcade Game.

My three friends and I, not a single one of us above ten years old, would crowd around the cartoonish four-player game and attempt, time after time, to see it to completion.  Each time we were thwarted either by time or money running too low to continue.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I hear of its return in the form of a XBLA/PSN downloadable title.

For those of you who may not have grown up with an arcade machine nearby, The Simpsons Arcade Game isn’t really anything special when compared to other beat-em-up games like Streets of Rage or the X-Men Arcade title (also downloadable!), so really whether or not you should get this game comes down to either nostalgia or how big a fan of The Simpsons you may be.  I beat the game by myself in a little less than an hour, which unlocks the Japanese version of the arcade game (this adds some subtle changes to the scoring system, combat and level layout).  There’s an unlockable art gallery, similar to the one from the X-Men arcade game re-release from last year.

There really isn’t anything special to the combat.  Even for a beat-em-up, The Simpsons Arcade Game is incredibly simple.  One button for attack, another button for jump.  Additionally, if two players stand idle next to one another for a few seconds, they can perform a special combo attack.  Boss fights usually consist of wailing on some big enemy and getting knocked back every once in awhile.

The Simpsons Arcade Game is a solid beat-em-up, especially with friends, although gamers who didn’t grow up with the game may find it difficult to see its worth.  For everyone else, its exactly how you remembered it growing up; what’s wrong with that?