Approximately one year ago, The Simpsons hit the big screen with its full length movie premier, bluntly mocking viewers for paying $10(on average) to watch something that is otherwise free. The video game release followed shortly after, mocking fans silently with its full $60 price tag. The movie was hilarious and met its $10 ticket quota, but the game didn't quite meet it's hefty price.
About one year later, the movie has been pirated and shared, the series is back on Television, and the video game price has dropped to a manageable $20. For $20, I'd say any fan of video games and/or The Simpsons is insane for not owning, or at least playing this Action/adventure gem.
First; the good points.
All of the TV voice actors are present to deliver their lines as you progress through the game, giving a nice feeling of authenticity as Snake passes you in the street complaining that Apu doesn't do any of the work when being robbed. The voice acting and writing had me laughing at things that, outside of the Simpsons universe, shouldn't be funny. Even the cutscenes are animated, as the Simpsons were meant to be, putting everything nicely in its place to feel right at home.
The video-game mockery had me rolling several times, aside from the Comic Book Guy pointing out various video game clichés as you find them, you also hear the main characters break...some barrier, where they acknowledge they have “video game powers” and decide to use them to paint the town. You'll go through many different stages, all with a slightly different attitude, many familiar and true to the Simpsons' own worlds – imaginary or otherwise. You'll traverse a level that look like Homer's chocolate dream, the Springfield Museum, or Springfield forest, which has a slight semblance to Frogger.
You'll play as one of the 4.5 Simpsons family members, two-at-a-time on screen, optimizing the co-op mode, should you choose to utilize it. Each Simpson has different powers, but can ultimately wail on anything that moves with a generic punch attack, or individual special attack. There are upgrade items littered about if you keep an eye out for them, granting temporary strength, or speed increases.
The special video game powers are as follows; Homer will turn into a giant Homer-ball, able to smash things, or characters, and bowl himself up or around objects. Bart will don the disguise of Bartman, able to climb walls and glide to his destination if launched from the right height. Lisa will unleash her inner Buddha, while near a “buddha” statue, she will get a Hand of Buddha power, able to smash enemies and objects as well as complete puzzles. And lastly, Marge can rally mobs to do her bidding, or send off Maggie into tight spaces to solve puzzles.
Now for the not-so-good points.
The Simpsons are, and should always be, a cartoon. Throwing this art style into 3D had me wondering what I was looking at, and why it gave me the chills. If you walk at a certain angle, stylized eyes, or limbs seem to move in ways they really shouldn't. I suppose that isn't something too serious, but it is something that bothers me just enough to put it in here.
As with all action games, there is an established level of bad control, and wonky camera angles. I have personally been frustrated with games like Spyro, or Banjo-Kazooie, or Kameo - not for their difficulty or puzzles, but because when you jump forward, but end up to the far left, it pisses me off. This is basically the same thing. Seeing around corners is sometimes a challenge, as is keeping the camera looking where you want it to be. I don't know that there is any quick-fix way to solve this problem for any adventure game, it just takes some adjusting and anger management classes.
The primary storyline isn't really clear, I suppose it would be the ultimate goal of getting your hands on the Grand Theft Scratchy that Bart was after, but really – it's an extended collaboration of various episodes thrown together, all to make fun of video games. But if that doesn't bother you, as the Simpsons show rarely follows a set storyline or path, have at 'em.
Basically, I'd say this is a games for fans of; The Simpsons, video games, and adult fans of the action/adventure genre in general. If anything, the achievement points make it worth while, but really, it's a lot of stupid fun for a relatively affordable price.
Now imagine me, only whistling while painting the roses yellow.