Bart's Nightmare

Super NES

Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 7

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 7

The first thing you'll notice about Bart's Nightmare for Super Nintendo is that Acclaim refuses to make an easy game out of any of The Simpsons' titles. In fact, it took yours truly at least an hour of solid play before I could see enough of the game to appreciate it. Time after time I struggled as Bart was tripped up, shot at, blown to bits, flattened, and dropped from dizzying heights. My persistence paid off, though, as I found the game was much better than my initial impression the further I was able to get.

Basically, Bart is asleep for the whole game. If he wakes up, the game ends. During his sleep, he must capture missing pages from his homework assignment via five mini-adventures: Bartman, Bart's Bloodstream, The Temple of Maggie, Bartzilla, and Itchy & Scratchy. Between stages, he must negotiate the ever frustrating Windy World, the gateway to each of the five worlds. There's no set order in which you tackle the stages, which I like, but you have to return to Windy World each time, which I didn't. In Windy World, you'll encounter nothing but trouble as Bart searches for the gate to the next world. The big problem is, the gate could be nearby or very far away.

Graphically, Bart's Nightmare is right in line with the other Simpsons' games: close to the cartoon quality, but nothing special by 16-bit standards. Outside of the opening sequence, the Super NES's capabilities are barely tapped. The same goes for the sound and music, which are about average, very uncharacteristic for this system.

The real fun of the game is in the individual stages, each with its unique play. My favorite is the Temple of Maggie, where you must hop from platform to platform dodging blue devils, avoiding speeding pacifiers, and trying to stay on solid ground. You can get two pages in the Temple, and it's one of the toughest of all the stages. The "echo" effect is one of the high points in the game, and the detailed graphics are a great contrast to the very simplistic ones in the Bartman stage. You have to wonder if several different hands were involved in producing the graphics here.

Bart's Nightmare is a tough game, and I still haven't conquered it, although I'm able to consistently get "B"'s on my final grade. It's the difficulty that will keep you coming back for more. Let me know if you've figured out how to get past the Itchy & Scratchy scene - Aye Caramba!

TIP: In Windy World, try to keep the bubble gum on the screen as long as you can. You only lose it when it drifts off the screen or hits another object. In the Bartman stage, go as slowly as possible when Krusty balloons appear. You'll get more of them the slower you go.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:16 PM