The Ill Communication

Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness

Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Acclaim
N.A. Release: November 1994

Box Quote: N/A

It’s amazing how many games came out that were based on The Simpsons franchise shortly after the show premiered in 1989. Five games were released in 1991 and then another five a year later in 1992. And in keeping this white hot flame burning, a few more games were released during the first half of the decade. One of these games included a Game Boy title released in 1994: Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness.

Distilled down, I&S MGM is basically a platformer with a little bit of sports sprinkled on top. Each level -- or hole -- is a large multi-leveled environment where Scratchy needs to play through in order to sink the ball into the hole. However, you’ll need to keep a keen eye as Itchy is always nearby and ready to slice, fry, or blow-up Scratchy as he does in their cartoon shorts.

Armed with only a putter at the start of each hole, Scratchy can pick-up an arsenal of weapons along the way to help keep a level playing (killing) field with Itchy’s attacks. Some strategy is needed as there is a limited number of times you can use a weapon (with the exception of the putter) before the item is discarded. The putter is also used to hit the ball down the course, and ultimately into the hole.

Getting Itchy out of the way so Scratchy can continue playing through is always a fun task to accomplish, but the game can sometimes be unfair. This is mainly due to the fact that the camera angle can be poor in some spots, preventing you from seeing ahead and prepping for an attack from Itchy. For example, if Scratchy needs to go downward, there is no way to look ahead and see that Itchy is running around the bottom with a chainsaw in hand. When you drop to the floor below, you can fall right onto Itchy, resulting in a loss of a life.

As strange as this may sound, the golfing part may be the more compelling side of the gameplay than the half of deciding on how to dismember a mouse. Just like in mini golf, there are a number of obstacles that will need to be cleared before the ball gets to the hole. In I&S MGM, there are hills which may have Scratchy putting either upwards or downwards, a number of holes that transport the ball to another part of the course (some might place the ball back towards the beginning of the level), and a themed obstacle that needs to be timed in order to sink the ball into the hole.

The game does include a top scoring list which is based on the number of strokes that are taken. For a reference, each level includes a par, and if the number of strokes taken for a level is below par, an extra life is given as a reward. A stroke can be subtracted by finding eraser items hidden within each level.

Between each level, Krusty the Clown gives the player pointers on how to play the game. Some are useful, especially the tips regarding the golfing part of the game. Following Krusty’s message, the title for the next level is displayed. Similarly styled to a title card for an episode of the Itchy and Scratchy Show, it will give the name of the level – which is usually a pun for the theme of the level – and has Bart Simpson in a costume that matches the theme for the level. For example, "Hole 3: Rest in Pieces" is a spooky themed level where Bart is dressed as the Grim Reaper.

The only drawback is the music, as the entire game includes only one track! It’s so obvious that this may be annoying for the player that the developer gives the user the option to have the background music be turned on or off shortly after the game has been turned on. Other than that, Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness is a quirky but fun little game that stars two characters from a children’s television show hosted by a clown which is shown within a TV program that is aired on the FOX television network.

Image credits: Wikipedia

Posted on: April 9, 2015