Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 19, 2010
The Simpsons Game – Review

The Simpsons Game – Review

Post Rating

It seems everywhere you look these days, there’s a game being made to coincide with the release of a big budget movie. They are released on as many platforms as possible to maximize sales, and usually follow the plot of the movie pretty closely.

The Simpsons Game for PS2, while admittedly being released a little later than the movie, does little to break the mould, unfortunately. What makes it interesting, though, is that it knows just how cliché it is, and makes fun of it. Each level has a number of “Video Game Cliché’s” to collect, each with a quote from our favourite Comic Book Guy. It also parodies many popular games, and games characters, in the typically irreverent humor you find in the show.

I was surprised though that the game didn’t follow the plot of the movie. It’s a bit like a clip show, the game play of each level being interspersed with animated cut scenes, some you may recognise (Homer in the Land of Chocolate) many others a variation on an old theme (Mr Burns’ new “eco friendly” company).

The ‘plot’ holding them all together is pretty flimsy. Bart finds the game manual and gains “video game super powers”. He then bribes or coerces the rest of his family into joining him on a rampage of violence. Enemies include anyone from Jimbo and Curley to Kang and Kodos. Along the way, though, the game manages to make sufficient fun of itself to forgive the blatant 4th wall breach, and have you chuckling as much as playing. The sound bites from characters can be particularly funny; “I’ll diet when I’m awake!” “With my courage and your ability to be fat and stand in place, we can do anything!”

The rest of the sound is of a quality you’d expect from a Simpsons title. The voice acting is excellent, and everyone is voiced by their voice actor from the show – there isn’t an unrecognizable voice to be found. The music is of above average quality, changing each level to suit the surrounds the characters find themselves in.

The unfortunate thing is, though, that the game play is poor. Mildly annoying jumping puzzles become increasingly frustrating as the camera gets stuck on the environment, or swings the wrong way at the wrong time. The controls are clumsy and combat sinks into little more than button mashing. Attempting to strategise is wasted effort, as more often than not you’ll be hit while charging your ‘super power’, causing you to stop and try and charge up once again. It’s a short game as well; a good day’s worth of gaming and you’ll be easily finished. Though the collectibles and time trials on each level will keep you playing for a while longer.

Aside from all the jumping, the rest of the puzzles are refreshing. More often than not you’re teamed up with another Simpson, and pressing any of the game pad’s directional buttons will swap you between them. Each has a special power that is activated by pressing the R1 button, and usually key to solving different points of the puzzles.

The graphics during game play are also less than spectacular. I imagine they might have been crisp and sharp on a more advanced platform, yet on the PS2 they are a little chunky and jagged. It might have been a lot better if they had designed the graphics with the PS2 in mind, but since the game spans so many platforms the point is moot.

Another unfortunate thing is that the girls get less game play than Homer and Bart. Marge especially, she only gets to play in 6 of the levels. What makes it doubly disappointing is that Lisa is quite fun to play. Her saxophone stuns enemies, and her punching and kicking is surprisingly powerful. It’s easy to forget about the poor game play when you’re playing her. I found myself resenting the levels that she wasn’t in, and rushed to complete them so I could see if she was in the next one.

In short, and far from being a grrl gamers dream, The Simpsons Game as a PG title, is probably best enjoyed watching while the kids play.

Review by Teh Spikey

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