The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare is a 1992 title for the SNES and Genesis developed and published by Acclaim Entertainment. Based on the license for the animated television series The Simpsons, the game puts the player in the role of Bart Simpson.
As the game opens, Bart is working hard on his homework for once, but as the day goes on he becomes increasingly tired. He eventually falls asleep at his desk and his nightmares take him to a strange world. Bart has to collect the lost pages of his homework in his dream and avoid waking up prematurely.
Gameplay is split up into two sections: Evergreen Terrace and Page Worlds.
When on Evergreen Terrace, Bart wanders around the streets looking for pages of his homework that are floating around. The player's health is represented by a row of Zs near the top of the screen. If the player takes damage, a Z is lost. If all Z's are lost, the screen will lose most of its color. If the player takes damage again while in the "white out" state, Bart will wake up and the game will end. The player is then given a letter grade based on how many points they earned and how many pages of homework they gathered.
There are a large amount of hazards that the player will encounter while on Evergreen Terrace. Lisa Simpson flies around and sprinkles fairy dust on the player, turning Bart into a frog. There are also basketballs that bounce down the street, Jebediah Springfield's statue heads, mail boxes that cross the street, Otto speeding by in his bus, and Blinky the Fish. Many of the obstacles can be defeated by simply jumping over them which will award the player with points.
The player is not completely defenseless here though. Bart can collect power-ups by killing enemies, encountering certain popular Simpsons characters, and use watermelon seeds and bubble gum to aid him. If the player is stuck as Frog Bart, they can wander into an old lady who will blow Bart a kiss that will return himto normal. Bubble gum allows Bart to regain health by spitting it at Z's floating around the street. Principal Skinner also wanders around the streets carrying Bart's church outfit. If the player runs into him, Bart will don the suit which will slow his movement speed but make him resistant to enemy damage.
Once a homework page appears in Evergreen Terrace, the player will have to jump onto it which will shrink Bart down and be given the choice of two randomly chosen mini-games represented by colored doors. If the player doesn't choose a door Bart will always go to the one on the left.
The door colors are:
- Purple Door: Bart takes a journey into his own blood stream where he has to destroy germs using an air pump to inflate them until they pop.
- Blue Door: Bart becomes his superhero persona, Bartman. The player flies over Springfield dodging missles, storm clouds, paper airplanes, and irradiated clouds. There are also boss fights with familiar Simpsons characters Sherri and Terri, Barney Gumble, Waylon Smithers, and C. Montgomery Burns. Nelson occasionally flies by using a hand glider to attack Bart and Apu will ride a magic carpet dropping power-ups that replenish the player's health.
- Yellow Door: Bart is transported into an episode of Itchy and Scratchy taking place in the Simpsons' house. The player has to defeat the cat and mouse using weapons scattered around the various areas while avoiding damage from insane household items like refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, telephones, and pictures of the Simpson family.
- Orange Door: Indiana Bart must find his way through the maze in the Temple of Maggie. The player has to jump from four rows of stone platforms, some will drop if stepped. The player also has to avoid pterodactyls, the Devil, and projectiles fired from the background.
- Green Door: Bart becomes Bartzilla, stomping through the streets of Springfield battling army jets, tanks, and helicopters. Eventually the player will reach the Springfield State Building where they will battle Homer Kong and Momthra on the roof.
If the player manages to reach the end of one of the mini-games, they'll collect a page of Bart's homework. If the player completes a mini-game level (page collected) or loses all of their lives (failed to collect page), the game flash to Bart sleeping in his room and display the player's score and how many pages they have collected. If the player manages to complete every mini-game and collect all of the lost homework pages, they will be given the game's proper ending.