It seems like a common understanding that everyone knows and usually loves The Simpsons. Taking note of this EA has snatched up the licence to create a game to be released alongside the movie. After a brief tutorial taking place inside one of Homers more regular dreams, a land made of nothing but chocolate, you are placed into the world of Springfield to begin your adventure.
During a typical day in the town, Bart stumbles along a book detailing a new game titled ‘The Simpsons Game’. Of course Bart, being who he is, ignores the realisation that his life is nothing more than a computer game and concentrates on the important details… he has special powers. As the game progresses you will find that every member of the immediate Simpsons family posses special powers or abilities of some sort. These special powers will often be the prime use of objectives throughout the game to solve puzzles or obtain hidden items.
Instead of having one continual level, The Simpsons Game is split into different episodes that are extremely varied and require the use of two particular family members. The episodes require specific family members as the entire level will take advantage of their unique skill and will be designed with such a skill in mind. An example of this would be the forth episode which requires use of Lisa’s ‘Hand of Buddha’ ability. This ability summons a massive hand in the sky that is capable of picking up large objects in order to complete puzzles. Alternatively you could always use the hand to obliterate all enemies of course.
Whilst progressing through the large selection of episodes (18 in total, comparable to a full series of the cartoon) you will no doubt notice a large use of game parodies. These parodies are fantastic and provide the platform for a constant stream of jokes to be produced. One thing that The Simpsons Game cannot be faulted on is the fantastic quality of writing and visual comedy throughout the game, which is hilarious! This quality could easily be compared to the older Simpsons episodes and thanks to the gaming spice is something which gamers particularly will no doubt enjoy.
The highlights of the game parodies are without a doubt Medal of Honour, Everquest and Grand Theft Auto with additional great jokes made of Madden, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic and Mario to name but a few. You will also see parodies of popular films, old Simpsons episodes and real life events. Respectably EA have happily made fun of the majority of their licences and general marketing campaigns alongside the other titles from different developers, something of which shows their dedication to make fun of the entire gaming industry and not simply competitors (Ed – Sounds like a familiar recent issue).
Unfortunately whilst the character traits are enjoyable to begin with, it won’t be long before the simple platform gameplay becomes dull and repetitive. As typically found with games of this genre, The Simpsons Game also has a frustratingly annoying camera that often gets caught on objects or fails to look the right direction when jumping. Switching continually between two characters to solve puzzles or taking advantage of the co-op feature throughout the game helps spice the game up a little. However it is unlikely that you will remember enjoyable gameplay when finished with The Simpsons Game, however, you will no doubt remember the witty lines and fantastic parodies.
As the story progresses between the varied episodes, you will be presented with short cutscenes that tell the story using the Simpsons episode cartoon animations, which is boasted to be forty minutes long overall. These cutscenes have thankfully been produced to an equal, if not better, quality of the TV series.
Graphically the game itself looks stunning and features a cell shaded style that closely resembles the TV series. The texture quality is not highly detailed and the game does not feature dynamic shadows, but who cares? The game fits its purpose by closely resembling the world of Springfield. Textures are typically bright, colourful and only detailed enough to resemble their structure, such as a bright orange house with a few detailed brick lines placed at random locations. Not only does the game itself represents the TV series well but the entire menu interface features font, characters and is displayed on the ever popular family TV. A large volume of characters have also been placed in the game and closely resemble their cartoon counterparts both in design and animation.
Not only have the graphics been well designed to fit the TV series, the sound effects are also spot on too. The game is literally plagued with a constant stream of background music that has been taken from the TV series and fits the specific location perfectly. Each character has at the very least several catch phrases or jokes that allow you to interact with them whilst running around Springfield, all of which fit their TV series counterpart exactly. Lastly the sound effects are also top notch, especially the combat sound effects and the background noise that fills every street. All of which once again closely resembling what you would find a typical episode of the series.
All in all you will find that The Simpsons Game is a fantastic representation of The Simpsons, but in game format. What more could you ask for! Whilst the game does feature gameplay that rates just above average, the storyline and continual sense of humour is up there with the best. The Simpsons Game will instantly appeal to fans of the series and typically a younger generation of gamers, due to the often easy gameplay. However there are enough jokes thrown in there and fantastic game parodies that only a seasoned gamer or adult would appreciate.