The Retro Critic


Don’t act like you’ve never played this one.

You were  a Simpsons fan, like everybody else at the time, and bought any game that had these big-eyed freaks on the cover. You played it for like a day, got stuck and gave up. Occasionally going back to it and getting stuck again, of course.

Weirdly, I have fond memories of Krusty’s Fun House on the Sega Master System.

But then again I have fond memories of most Simpsons retro games, no matter how ridiculously hard (Bart Vs The Space Mutants) or flawed (Bart Vs The World) they were.

Krusty’s Fun House is basically Lemmings but nowhere near as involving.

You’re basically Krusty The Clown going around leading mice to their painful, PAINFUL deaths. And this qualifies as “fun” because…

Animal Cruelty + Free Pest Control = Fun (?)

I mean, if you think about it for two seconds, this is one harsh, mean-spirited game. Every level sees you walking and jumping around, smiling like a moron picking up blocks (putting them god-knows-where on your person) and dropping them in strategically placed locations where the unwitting mice can then reach some kind of mouse-killing machine where Bart himself is waiting with an Alex Kidd-style boxing glove ready to smash down every single mouse around until there is nothing left.

Which is weird because isn’t Krusty usually a miserable creep? Why is he so happy? I guess he’s a douche so the thought of murdering another life form would entertain him somehow…

You know, come to think of it, this game would have made more sense with Sideshow Bob in the lead. He’s pure evil, this is the kind of thing he would do. Have his brother Cecil replace Bart in the mouse-inator and you’ve got yourself the best new Frasier reunion around!

Or the same stupid game but with characters that make sense.

Here’s what makes this whole thing a bit unsettling: the mice don’t do anything. They’re not hurting you, they’re not going around wearing pyjamas throwing chunks of cheese at you like those bastards out of Cool Spot. No, they’re just walking around, minding their own business, completely unaware of the impending doom that awaits them.

On top of that they look WAY cuter than they did on the title screen.

Yeah look at those mischievous eyes: they’re gonna get it!



By the way, on the cover Bart is holding a hammer and in the game he’s given an oversized boxing glove. Wouldn’t a hammer have made more sense? And doesn’t a game where you’re playing as Bart running around smashing evil mice in the face with a hammer sound much, much more fun than this? Yes it does.

And it’s called Bart’s Nightmare! On the Sega Genesis!

Just make your way to the Itchy & Scratchy level and hammer away.

It’s very satisfying.

I’ll give Krusty’s Fun House credit, though, it looks decent enough for the Master System and it’s actually overall an ok effort for that particular console. The animation is good, the controls are fluid, it works visually at least. The music is irritating though, it’s fine for a bit but after 5 minutes you’ll be putting the volume down and playing Simpsons soundtracks on Spotify.

But I have a few more problems with the game.

If Krusty is SO anti-mice, how come he doesn’t just put those bricks where those little mouse-sized doorways are and block them altogether? Actually, why did he build those doorways in the first place? Unless… THAT’s the actual point of the Fun House? Like a mouse-killing theme park?

That’s messed-up.

Also, Krusty looks like he can jump really high and he’s much bigger than the mice, couldn’t he just squash them himself? Jumping on top of them like Mario jumps on Goombas? Just sayin’. If you’re gonna rip off a game, why go for Lemmings when you can steal from Super Mario Bros 3 straight up? Sure you would receive negative feedback if you did that but at least you’d have a good friggin’ game!

The main problem with Krusty’s Fun House is that… it’s not fun.

Like, at all.

It’s kinda amusing at first but then those levels just get stupidly intricate, confusing and hard. And because the game really had nothing to give you in the first place except mice, blocks and a big glove, you start losing interest very quickly. So many times I tried playing it all the way through and just got bored, gave up and started playing something else. Even Alex Kidd In Miracle World, which was a free, in-built game on my console: I sucked at it but at least I could punch eagles in the face in that one!

To be fair, there are enemies you can kill in this game. Occasionally you get a flying pig or a snake showing up, you throw a pie or whatever item you have at them and that’s it, they’ll stop bothering you for a while. You also have those annoying green drops falling from the ceiling like the whole place was built on radioactive waste. I know “green drops” don’t sound too threatening but trust me, if you’re not focused…

They will find you. And they will kill you.

But wait…

Krusty has giant SNAKES running around throwing projectiles and he’s worried about peaceful, defenseless mice? Dude, if I had crazy amounts of snakes in my house, I’d Willard-up and train the mice into some kind of rodent army and get them to gang up on the snakes, their natural enemies!

But… waaaaait…

Snakes eat mice.

If you have tons of snakes in your house and tons of mice and what you’re most worried about is the latter… Get those guys together! Problem’s sorted! The snakes eat the mice, you kill all the snakes, you eat the snakes (I hear they taste quite delightful) and voila!

You’ve sorted out your pest problem, you’ve got killer snake-skin boots and you’ve had dinner!

Everybody wins!

Overall, Krusty’s Fun House is definitely not the worst game you’ll ever play. There’s far worse out there. This is more like an iPhone app you’d get today: like an annoying brain-teaser you’d get stuck on every once in a while. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see hints but there is a password system so you should be ok to start back where you were every time. But would you want to? Like I said, the game gets old pretty fast. Besides, that house is like a maze and every level, every room looks the same so you never know where you are or where you’re supposed to be, really. Plus you can get stuck on a level with no means of escaping back to the title screen so do be careful.

As a Simpsons game, I’ve played worse also but this is one of the show’s most annoying game entries. You do get the odd Homer/Sideshow Mel/Corporate Punishment cameo but they don’t do anything except hammer down those stupid mice. It really is one of the lamest uses of the Simpsons universe out there.

Again, couldn’t Krusty just take that boxing glove and go around hammering down the mice himself?

I’m looking way too deply into this game…

Bottom line: give it a go if you must on the Master System but I can’t guarantee you’ll make it past 20 minutes without getting bored. There are different versions of the game out there, including an especially rubbish-looking (and sounding) NES version…

… but I only ever played the Master System one.

And that’s plenty enough for me.