SNES A Day 59: Krusty’s Super Fun House

krusty's_super_fun_house_us_box_art

Approximate Release Date: June 1, 1992
Genre: Puzzle/platformer
Developer: Audiogenic
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

It’s not especially insightful to say that licensed games are usually subpar. But Krusty’s Super Fun House manages to be, well, fun.

So what does Krusty’s Super Fun House do to avoid the usual pratfalls of these types of games? The biggest reason is that it doesn’t feel like a The Simpsons game. If I were told that this was going to be a standalone game that got a Matt Groening coat of paint late in development I would believe it without hesitation. But that’s good; too often licensed games are rushed out and slavishly devoted to fan service. That’s not the case here; there are some cute posters hanging in the background and some cameos of The Simpsons characters, but that’s about it. I don’t think show’s theme song even makes an appearance.

Krusty’s Super Fun House is 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, more forgiving, more simple take on Lemmings. Some puzzles will require patience if you get the rats’ movements out of rhythm with each other. It can be annoying to have your puzzle solution laid out perfectly and have to wait for four or more different groups of rats to stroll through the maze.

The platforming aspects of the game isn’t as well developed as the puzzles – there are some enemies running around in the level and hazards you need to avoid – but it’s inoffensive for the most part. What I don’t like is that some puzzle rooms 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 goofy way to gate progression.

One weird thing Krusty’s Super Fun House does, which I’ve never seen any game do, is devote buttons to pausing and restarting the music. It’s a strange use of the L and R buttons, and between this and Capcom’s MVP Football I’m wondering if developers in 1992 were struggling with how to best use these then-unique buttons. Shoulder and trigger buttons are old hat now but were totally novel and weird when Nintendo introduced them with the Super Nintendo’s controller.

Krusty’s Super Fun House is a bad The Simpsons game but a good puzzle game. It’s not very challenging, but it’s worth an hour or two of your time.

Tomorrow: I know nothing about Space Football: One on One but I’m excited to experience the future of football.

13 thoughts on “SNES A Day 59: Krusty’s Super Fun House”

  1. I rented this game at some point in the mid-90’s and remember being surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Like you said, it’s not groundbreaking or anything, but is a perfectly competent little puzzler that can kill a few hours.

  2. I remember renting this when it released. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t a platformer (not that I knew the word then). I couldn’t solve any of the puzzles, barely making it through the first few levels. I thought it was weird that you could press the select button to kill yourself (quit).

    1. I assume later on it will be possible to mess up the room’s solution so severely that you have to reset by killing yourself. It would make lives relevant to the game!

        1. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad design but it depends on a few things. What happens when you run out of lives? Does the fail state help guide the player to a solution in some way? There’s nothing worse than failing at a game and not knowing why, but it is okay to fail if you learn something.

      1. The fail state resets the level, which is fine, but it costs a life. What happens when you run out? I think you’re kicked back to the beginning of the game. That’s bad design.

        1. Haha, oh, definitely, if you have to redo the entire game, that’s pretty awful.

          …just tested it. You’re right. But you do get passwords to start from the beginning of the world you were on. World 2 is BARTMAN.

  3. “If I were told that this was going to be a standalone game that got a Matt Groening coat of paint late in development I would believe it without hesitation.”

    This was going to be a standalone game that got a Matt Groening coat of paint. The original game was developed for the Amiga, called Rat-Trap, by Audiogenic.

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