Krusty's Super Fun House Is Actually Fun?
Back in the year 1992, the Super Nintendo had been out for about a year when Christmas rolled around, and I was looking to expand my video game collection. Being a huge fan of the Simpsons, I asked for Krusty's Super Fun House, which was perhaps the greatest Simpsons game outside of an arcade. To this day, with the wide range of mediocre cash grabs that the Simpsons have churned out for the video game industry, Krusty's Super Fun House remains a fun puzzle platformer. Even though you don't play as a single member of the Simpson family, and instead you control Krusty the Clown, Bart's harlequin hero, the game is filled with a surprising amount of nods and references to the television show.
It goes without saying that the Simpsons was a big deal back in the early 1990's, as by the time Krusty's Super Fun House was released, Simpsons Mania had spread across the world, and nobody could get enough of the dysfunctional cartoon family. For anyone who was too young, or perhaps living under a rock, the exposure that TV show had during the time was unbelievable, with the Simpsons having everything from clothing, magazines, toys, home furnishings, and of course: video games. Unlike the traditional platformer games that came before it, Krusty's Super Fun House took a puzzle spin to the platformer genre, and was less bland because of it. Where as previous games like Bart Vs The Space Mutants and Bart Vs The World had Bart merely reaching the end of levels, in Krusty's Super Fun House, Krusty the Clown must lead a nest of mice through rooms in his fun house to a trap, and then escape the room. This difference grants the game much more variety than a typical 2D sidescroller.
Throughout the game, the player guides Krusty the Clown to different rooms of his fun house which are filled with rodents, and once all the rats have been led to a trap, you're free to exit the room. Leading the mice to the traps is easier said than done though, as there are many puzzles designed to block your way, some ranging in a simple matter of utilizing items, to others involving the management of pipes and making a mad dash to prevent the rats from escaping. One of the interesting things, which caught me by surprise as a child, was that there's a suicide button. Once you press the select button, Krusty falls over softly, makes a sad noise, and then he just dies. In reality, this was put in by the game developers to allow you to escape a level, just in case you've made a mistake and need to try it over again. There's something disturbing about how peacefully Krusty accepts death, reminding me of how dark the Simpsons could get from time to time.
While the references to the show might seem cheap throughout Krusty's Super Fun House, the occasional signs found in the background at least tie the Simpsons universe to the game, making you think that maybe Krusty the Clown really does have a serious rat problem at his strange fun house. From signs advertising bus tours from Otto, to prison poetry readings from Sideshow Bob, the game does a good job of sprinkling in nods to the show, despite the fact that Krusty's Super Fun House was a port of an unrelated Amiga game called Rat Trap, which had Simpsons sprites added to everything, including putting characters on the traps found throughout the game, giving you the eerie impression that both Bart and Homer are incredibly excited about killing mice.
While Krusty's Super Fun House isn't one of the greatest games found on the Super Nintendo, it's certainly worth playing if you're looking for a puzzle platformer, or if you'd like to experience a classic Simpsons video game, that doesn't involve Bart waddling around with terrible controls, fighting the abominable snowman version of Mr. Burns. Make sure to check out The Legend of Retro podcast for even more content on retro video games, as they break down old school video games.