31 Aug 2007
Being one of the few hugely devoted Simpson's fans that religiously watches back to back episodes on cable TV every night, buys the box sets and regularly attempts to defend the recent series lack of form on the pretence they usually have at least one laugh out loud Homer moment, we've been rooting for a decent Simpsons game for years.
Having to put up with people claiming that Hit 'n' Run was a 'good' Simpsons game (no it wasn't) was bad enough but the fact it turned out to be one of the bestselling games of all time just compounded our misery. Thankfully, EA's Simpsons effort is not a Crazy Taxi clone - although the story line, penned by The Simpsons writers is a parody of a series of recent game titles. So we get levels titled things like Shadow Of The Colossal Donut, Medal Of Homer and Grand Theft Scratchy.
This means the game itself is a mesh of game styles with the main emphasis on platforming. Not a great start then, but in our eyes the following things save The Simpsons Game:
- The character models are spot on and are animated perfectly with the same level of detail afforded to the series itself. As a reference point it reminds us of the 3D cel-shaded look of the recent Simpsons movie.
- The voices have been recorded especially for the game by The Simpsons voice actors. This is very, very important. Combined with the cinematic cut-scenes this means you get two-hours worth of exclusive Simpsons set-pieces. And as you can see in the walkthrough they are actually funny.
- The game takes the piss out of itself. When you identify a game cliché, like using awnings as trampolines or finding a boss character's sole weak spot, Comic Book Guy appears and tells you. Some might argue it's a clever way of explaining away a load of lazy, stolen game mechanics. But not us. We thought it was neat.
There is one downside though:
- It has to get an E for everyone rating to maximise sales within the lower end of the Simpson fan demographic. Which means no sex or drug references and we don't get to see Homer drunk. That accounts for much of the jokes in recent episodes.
Enough of what we think anyway, check it out for yourself. Greg Rizzer, Lead Designer on the game is the man doing the talking...