The Simpsons - Bart VS The World review
Bart VS The World is a cool platformer developed by Acclaim Entertainment. It was released for NES but also ported to other systems.
It’s the sequel for Bart VS Space Mutants which was also released for NES. I chose this for review as I think it was a underrated game while Bart VS Space Mutants got fame and also some praise. Bart VS The World has a far better difficulty curve, better gameplay and more interesting levels, even if still it’s a flawed game and surely NOT the best Simpsons game.
Bart VS The World is a classic platformer where Acclaim did many improvements over the previous game:
- There are 4 worlds, each world featuring 2 or 3 regular levels, various minigames and a boss. Every world has a theme: Traditional China, North Pole, Old Egypt and Hollywood.
- Most of levels are designed down-up too, not just left-right.
- Each level has a secret treasure (a Krusty statue). You must collect them all to unlock the true ending.
- The game encourages exploring and even some leaps of faith to find secrets.
- There are 2 powerups, one for invulnerability (Jebediah Springfield’s head), other for flying (Bartman). Flying is gives access to hidden treasures and items. There are other items to collect, like diamonds and Krusty collectibles to earn lives, grape drink to recover health or fire cracker balls.
- First 2 worlds levels are simple. Level complexity grows later as you advance worlds. Levels on 3rd and last worlds have got the nicest design: multiple sub-levels, labyrinths.
- Difficulty curve is ok. First world easy. Second world: hard jumps. Third world: labyrinths. Fourth world mixes everything.
- Every world has 2 minigame optional levels. Those are the typical puzzle games but still nice to rest from so much jumping.
- There is a secret level on last world.
- Bart can find other Simpsons characters and, of course, many references to the serie.
Game is far from perfect, even if it’s better that usually is rated:
- Game controls, that were inherited from Bart VS Space Mutants, are bad:
- There is a super jump that requires pressing both buttons and it’s awkward to execute.
- Bart slides too much when moving, even outside ice worlds.
- First world is short and introductory, second world also has a short level. That’s good because you want to get quick to the complicated levels. But the game is shortened.
- Puzzle minigame levels are simple and uninspired. The worst is the coffin mini game which is just pure luck and a waste of time.
- Level bosses are too easy, specially when compared with the normal game.
- There are few bad level design choices:
- Some levels have repetitive jumps. Those seem there just to make levels longer and harder. In particular, the last part of the Hollywood terror set level is very annoying.
- In the Great Wall level, the player needs to backtrack if he falls (slides) before a pit. A time waster.
- Second world, the North Pole, is also not very newbie friendly. Lots of hard jumps over pits and over a ice river. Too early to filter newbies out.
- Some hazards are hard to predict, like the fire crackers in China.
Those flaws could look pretty bad but, believe me, Bart VS The Space Mutants is worse. I wouldn’t recommend that game to my worst enemy.
Why to play?
If you like hard games and the Simpsons franchise, you’re going to enjoy this game as it’s pretty good. I enjoyed exploring with Bartman powerup and running the Egypt levels.
Here is the OST:
How to acquire
I am not aware of any way to acquire this game nowadays, unless you rely to second hand cartridges or to the rom preservation scene.
Version / Platform
I reviewed the NES game, as it’s the original version which I also played. I also think it looks better with those borderless sprites.
There are ports to other platforms:
- Master System: it looks weird and the sound is worse (as it’s usual on that console).
- Amiga: Graphic style is similar to Master System but it looks more detailed, better. Still bad sound.
- Atari ST: It seems to me the worst port.
The franchise is still on air after almost 30 years. It’s likely there will be another Simpsons game some day… but there won’t be any remake or re-release of the Bart VS The World game. It would not make sense either.
Games like Bart vs The World
I could suggest some Simpsons games that are worth to have a look into:
- The Simpsons Hit & Run: Grand Theft Auto meets Simpsons.
- The Simpsons Game: A modern 3D platformer game and probably you can enjoy it even if you disliked Bart VS The World.
- The Simpsons Bart’s Nightmare: a rather confusing platformer game but there are some interesting levels errrrr nightmares.
- Krusty’s Fun House: the game features a kind of Lemmings gameplay, I didn’t personally like it but it’s not a bad game either.
Other fun platformer games for NES:
If you’re interested on hard platformers, please have a look in NewZealand Story recommendations.
The Simpsons franchise has many games but there are various uninspired or just totally worthless games. I’m going to add a no-recommended list, play them at your own risk:
- Bart VS Space Mutants: I already talked about it, just bad mechanics and a worse game.
- The Simpsons: Skateboarding: Again, bad gameplay design, mechanics and little care for Springfield.
- The Simpsons Wrestling: A kinda lame beat’em’up / fighting game.
- Bart vs juggernauts: If you want to play with Bart, better look elsewhere.
It’s for sure this is not the best platformer you can play but I liked this game and it’s not bad at all, only it’s flawed and it aged not too well. Still I’d recommend it.