Following on from yesterday’s review of Bart’s Nightmare, comes proof that all licenced games are not always a quick cash in of the licence.
So how did Krusty’s Super Fun House avoid the pit of licencing fumbles that hit the likes of Total Recall, Untouchables, and more importantly how did it become a better game than its brethren in the Simpson’s pool of titles.
Simple, it was never meant to be a Simpsons game. the original was called “Rat Trap”, and the fact that there was no guarantee that it would sell prompted the developers to make it great. Acclaim, looking for quick cash as always, snapped up the publishing rights and plastered Simpsons characters all over it during the last phase of development. It was the first Simpson’s game not to feature Bart as the main character, but it wouldn’t be the last as “Bart Mania” was still huge during the early 90’s.
Doing further research highlighted that ‘Rat Trap’ was intended for release initially on the Amiga, which explains the subtle art style that feels well… when you see it like in Robocod, Zool, James Pond, Pushover, etc it’s hard to not just call it the ‘Amiga’ style. Yet when looking for the original on disc, I was quiet surprised to see it in many places, all intact except for the Simpson’s branding. What’s more is it felt pretty much a complete game in itself, albeit without any music playing in the background.
So ‘Krusty’s Super Fun House’ is basically a puzzle/platformer where you have to create a path to lead rats to an extermination machine at the end of the level. Once you do that, you can move on to the next puzzle room. It’s a more fun, yet forgiving and simple take on Lemmings. Sure some puzzles will require great timing to avoid the rats’ movements becoming out of rhythm with each other, and without the ability to fast forward, it can be annoying to have to wait for groups of rats to stroll through the maze.
The platforming parts of the game just felt a little bolted on as a gimmick, with some enemies running around in the level and hazards you need to avoid, but nothing too taxing that would break you off your stride working out the solution. If fact the most annoying piece is that some puzzles have special blocks to break open to unlock specific other rooms which have to be completed to finish the stage. These special blocks are usually hidden in the level and look the same as any other block. It’s a annoying way to gate progression and I hate it! Especially when there are better ways to progress based on a level of skill.
Sound effects are hit and miss between the Snes and other versions across all formats, and while the music is very ‘Simpsons’ within the background, it does get repetitive after a few hours play. Nothing too annoying there, but something to bear in mind.
But i’m picking at minor things here. Overall Krusty’s Super Fun house is a great game for the time, playing on the best bits of the Lemmings genre without overstaying it’s welcome. With that I can forgive Acclaim for doing what they did. They saw a great opportunity to tie a new ‘relevant’ brand with a good game, to stem the tide of previously mediocre releases. It was just a pity that didn’t turn it around for long.