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Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly (Game Boy) artwork

Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly (Game Boy) review


"Escaping the woods to the mess hall offers no solace. There the platforming is nixed and an all out food fight ensues. While this sounds like an exciting battle royale involving food and foolery, it's merely a scene of straightforward side-scrolling with the occasional press of the B button. Leave it up to Imagineering to make murdering someone with a hamburger or piece of broccoli feel tedious. "



Ignorance. It's a form of bliss that younger gamers have at their disposal that prevents them from realizing a game like Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly is a banal platformer. I played this game as a youngster and gobbled up every minute of its underwhelming antics. But adulthood kills that rosy sheen. Standards improve and memories are betraying, and games like Camp Deadly take their rightful place amongst the other gaming misfits.

It's here we witness the evolution of Bart Simpson from a burgeoning platformer star into a burnt out has-been. I seem to remember the kid's movements being swift and easy to handle. His performance in Bart vs. the World was decent even despite the buggy platform collision detection that hampered the experience. Two years pass and it feels like Bart has let himself go. Where we know that Mario worked his legs out between games, Bart seemed to be drinking away his salary without honing his skill. Where this vibrant youth could tangle with the best of them before, he now moves like he's mired in oatmeal. Movement in the game is slow, almost delayed, and the slo-mo jumping is a hypnotic experience that should not be witnessed by the inebriated.

Let's put Bart's new anti-talents the test!

The once peaceful forest is now the arena of a survivalistic struggle. Bart and Lisa must escape the clutches of Ironfist Burns and his army of Wayne Campbell clones. It's in this camp that Bart will leap with an elephant's grace over creeks made of TV static and throw boomerangs at monstrous mosquitoes. It's a land of monotony where the same situations present themselves without new dressing. The same leaps, same enemies, same problems reappear without added difficulty, and it's something that even a physically impeded platformer star like Bart can handle.

Escaping the woods to the mess hall offers no solace. There the platforming is nixed and an all out food fight ensues. While this sounds like an exciting battle royale involving food and foolery, it's merely a scene of straightforward side-scrolling with the occasional press of the B button. Leave it up to Imagineering to make murdering someone with a hamburger or piece of broccoli feel tedious.

Withdraw from the violent buffet and it's....back into the forest! The madness never ends as the same levels are recycled as often as the situations. From the forest to the sewers back to the forest only to return to the mess hall... The greatest challenge I ever faced in this outing was staying interested. Even within the Simpsons franchise, there are far better experiences and challenges to be had.

But in my younger years I still hadn't developed the ability to recognize a poor gaming experinece. I didn't realize that the sound emanating from the speakers was really Danny Elfman being murdered in 8-bit, nor did I care to notice the warning that the developers placed in the beginning--the first item you grab, a tiny flag flapping in the wind, nets you exactly 666 points. It's like someone at Imagineering wanted you to know this game is of the devil.

And poor Bart's gaming career continued the downward spiral. It's pretty consistent that as long as he is the sole focus of a game's premise, it will blow. His further escapades in climbing a beanstalk, having a nightmare, and donning a virtual reality visor were no more exciting than this no-so-great escape. But I'm sure you already knew that. It's not as though the lackluster quality in early Simpsons games is an uncommon appraisal.

Rating: 3/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (April 27, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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honestgamer posted April 27, 2011:

One of my greatest accomplishments as a kid was when I beat Bart vs. the Space Mutants on the NES. The game was brutal. I own and have played Bart vs. the World and Bartman Meets Radioactive Man and found them challenging as well, but not as interesting. Bart's Nightmare was actually quite interesting to me, but its effects were harmed by horrible play control. I think it, at least, was a very interesting game. This review did a nice job of capturing how disappointing I'm sure this game was compared to its source material... which at that time was great stuff.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 27, 2011:

I commend you on finishing Space Mutants. That is indeed a brutal title, even with Game Genie. I never got through it. For me, vs. the World was the one I somewhat enjoyed, even though it kicked my teeth in and had some very broken elements to it. Every other game aside from the arcade beat 'em up and Hit and Run has failed to entertain me, though, with exception to a few scenes in Bart's Nightmare.
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zippdementia posted April 28, 2011:

I also commend you. That game could've ruined my childhood had I let it.

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