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The Simpsons Game
Electronic Arts
Website: Official Site
Estimated Street Price: $39.99/£34.99
Review By:
Byron Hinson

The Simpsons GameThe once great and now only mildly amusing Simpsons TV series is back on our gaming screens in what is a far more authentic adventure for the family. From first looks it seems as if EA has done everything right...the perfect cartoon graphics, the full cast and crew for the speech and story and a full blown platform title. So does it work out?

Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa use exciting, all-new powers to save the world from rising chaos. To help the Simpsons, gamers at home must journey through all of Springfield (as well as vast worlds beyond!), vanquish an amazing array of villains, and fight their way through parodies of multiple popular games.

  • Play Your Favorite Characters – Battle enemies and save Springfield while playing as your favorite dysfunctional TV family; Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and even Maggie Simpson.
  • The Real Simpsons – With the actual voice actors from the TV show and movie reprising their roles; characters from The Simpsons Game sound exactly as they should.
  • Unique Character Abilities – While The Simpsons family have general abilities that can be used to fight opponents, interact with environments, and finish puzzles; each one has been imbued with special abilities that are unique to their personalities. These abilities grow and change as they progress through the story to battle tougher and tougher enemies in their quest to save Springfield!
  • Looks Like The Simpsons – Using innovative 3D into 2D technology, the developers have been able to recreate Springfield and the entire cast of The Simpsons as the most visually authentic Simpsons game to date.
  • Featuring Favorite and Original Springfieldeans! – The Simpsons Game features over 100 of your favorite Simpsons characters from the show along with 50+ new characters that were inspired by the fiction.
  • An Original Episodic Adventure – The Simpsons Game features a 100% original script from the writers of the show with 4 distinct acts divided into 16 episodes and over 8,000 lines of dialogue.
  • Springfield Hub – The open-world Springfield was designed as a central locale to jump into episodes with iconic locations to visit, characters to be visited and interact with, and hundreds of collectibles to be found.
  • Co-op Play – With two members of The Simpsons family involved in each episode, all episodes can be played cooperatively in addition to being played in single-player mode. Play by yourself and switch between characters to solve the various puzzles or have a friend come over, pick up a controller and drop-in drop-out of any episode they choose.
  • Collectibles – Roam throughout the episodes and Springfield itself to discover custom video game clichés, and unique collectibles for each member of The Simpsons family. Collectibles lead to trophies that increase your family’s powers, and can be viewed in your trophy rooms back at home on Evergreen Terrace.
  • Time Challenges – Every episode can be replayed, and each unlocks a unique Time Challenge. Use the skills you’ve learned throughout the game to beat target times over 16 individual Time Challenges.
  • Enjoy more than 6,000 lines of dialogue and 16 chapters of hilarity.

How Does It play

I have been a fan of The Simpsons for many years, though I have to say I have drifted away from watching it on TV due to the lack of quality that the show has shown in the past two seasons. This year saw the release of the movie which, while ok, was nothing special. The game actually manages to be funnier than most of the recent episodes which is a good start, but the adventuring and combat is where the game is a let down.

Firstly the game is split into around 16 levels all based around a different story, the game starts in chocolate land which is your basic tutorial level in which you guide Homer around, collecting various bonus objects and beating chocolate bunnies up to reach the end of the level. This isn't a bad start as it helps introduce the premise of the game quickly, but it is here that it also goes wrong.

The camera is very poor and can be a right royal pain in the butt to maneuver around some levels, especially when it just moves of its own accord whenever it feels like it. Also the levels are quite basic, they all involve the same things in each one with very little variety shown at all. They are also very small in size and the game can be completed in around 7-8 hours which seems to be the norm these days for a lot of titles and that in itself is disappointing to me.

The gameplay is platform and combat based. You need to swap characters to do certain things in the game such as using pressure pads, using Bart in his Bartman costume to fly around levels to unlock things and such like, this part works quite well and is better if you are playing the game in the co-op mode which can bring some camera problems of its own into the fray. The fighting part is very basic, each character can punch as well as have a special move such as burping or using a Sax to stun people.

You also have special moves such as Bart's Bartman costume in which he can fly around and climb things and Homer's Rollerball which he can use to move around faster, go over ramps and smash through things. These all work well but sometimes it can be a little annoying to swap between characters and find the character you need it far away from the place you want them to be at. Marge and Lisa also enter the game around half way through it with Marge allowing you to add various town folk to your group to follow you around and do things/destroy things for you.

With the levels always being parodies of various games such as Shadow of the Colossal Donut, I have hoped that they would show a lot of variety, but as I have already said, each of the first few levels are the same over and over. It isn't until you become Marge before a little bit of variety comes into the game and probably the best level of the lot - Grand Theft Scratchy.

As I have mentioned, the story itself is well written by the crew, it is perfectly suited the show and tends to be funnier than that has been for some time so all credit there. The style of the game is also pretty close to perfect, the HD-cutscenes are great, while the in-game cutscenes while not spot on are very close to the original style of the TV series. Graphically the game actually looks better on the Playstation 3, but only just, but the graphics certainly hold their own on all formats, with the Wii being one of the better looking games on that consoles. The voice work throughout the game is excellent just as it should be, but there are times when repeated voices show through which is a shame and can get a little annoying.

Final Comments

Despite all the criticism here, The Simpsons Game is still the best Simpsons title since the arcade game was released all those years ago. It manages to create a perfect look of the cartoon and also with the voices and writing cast on board it manages to have the same wit and unique feel to it.

The problems come from the fact that the gameplay itself is nothing special at all, it is a basic platformer with a very poor camera which doesn't make it stand out above anything else that has been released in the past few months. I guess with a few months more work the camera could have been made better, but the gameplay wasn't likely to change much and with the likelyhood of most users completing it in less than 8 hours there isn't much here for gamers to come back for again and again. A shame really as graphically and sonically the game is almost perfect.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 65%
Version Reviewed The Simpsons Game (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 The Simpsons - DVD
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Great Graphics for the Wii
Decent Co-Op
The Bad Points Awful Controls


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