X’07: Hands-on with The Simpsons

Sometimes I feel like the last person on Earth who stills loves watching The Simpsons, but after seeing what Electronic Arts has done with this amazing cartoon franchise, I expect to see a lot of past The Simpsons fans coming home to Springfield.

With the knowledge that previous The Simpsons games where merely other game concepts with The Simpsons name slapped on just to sell it to fans of the show, EA developers decided to make this game truly a monument to The Simpsons culture.

Each character, background, and item was created with cell-shaded cartoon graphics to make it look more like the show, rather than some game with 3D modeling and amazing Halo worthy graphics. Homer shouldn’t look like he got stuck in that 3D world from one of those “Tree house of Horror” episodes.

You generally get two characters to play with in each chapter or episode of the game, which you are able to switch between at any time. Each player has their own special powers or moves, like Homer, who can inflate himself to roll over enemies, or turn into a jelly mold when he finds a Gummy Venus De Milo. The game does offer co-op play, and a family or friend can join the game at anytime, but the co-op is only for offline play.

The game will have online leader boards so you can compare your scores with friends and the community. It would have been nice to take it online for some good old co-op play, but it’s still nice to see how you’re kicking your friends’ butts at the game.

Each chapter takes a theme from a movie, the show or a videogame. We previewed the “Metal of Homer” level where Bart and Homer travel back in time to World War II to fight along side the Flying Hellfish. There are objectives to complete and enemies to fight in each level, and certain areas or items can only be reached by using a specific character in the level (like Bart using his Bartman flying ability to reach higher or farther ledges).

The controls were pretty simple to pick up on. Each character had basic punching moves, two special moves, a jump move, and a pick up move. Pretty standard stuff. Items in the game seemed to fit the theme of the game, like Gummy Venus De Milo or food for Homer to eat.

I really loved how the developers worked closely with the show’s creators to make it Simpson-fan worthy.  Over 8,000 pieces of dialog were worked into the game, and every character is voiced by the original actor from the show.

The best part of the whole game is the video game cliché feature. Every time you find a videogame cliché in the game like an exploding red barrel, Comic Book Guy will appear and sarcastically comment on the cliché. Best. Feature. Ever.

Remember to look for other videogame gags in the game like God of Warf seafood advertisements in Day of the Dolphins or Grand Theft Scratchy posters.