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***Why I bought it****
This was the first game I got when I purchased my DS and I admit it, I bought it because of the TV series and the fact that I used to enjoy playing the Simpsons in the arcade years ago.
If my memory serves me correctly the arcade version involved some criminals of Springfield kidnapping Maggie and the task was to go and rescue her, beating up baddies as you went. The player could select Bart (with Skateboard as a weapon), Lisa (with a skipping rope as a weapon), Marge (with a hoover as a weapon) or Homer and they would only control this character.
Whilst a bit ?old skool? I was hoping that the new Simpsons game would follow this format, but it does not and I have to admit that I was disappointed.
Unlike the arcade version this game is written by the show's writers, and includes many animated sequences in between each "episode". The voices of the Bart, Lisa, Homer, Marge and all the other residents of Springfield are provided by the actors who actually do the cartoon. I think that this is really clever and adds a lot to the game. These animations are in 3D, unlike the actual cartoon, which is strange.
The graphics are really good and the characters on the DS look like the characters in the cartoon and on the animated movie. The colours are bright and vivid and the background as good as any cartoon style city and background.
There are no blocky graphics which is good. The creators have done a great job.
The sound during game play is dire and best left off. However, in order to get the most out of the animations in between the episodes the sound needs to be left on.
The game is split in to mini missions (?episodes?) to complete. Each episode must be completed by the pre-determined character, or pair of characters (working together). You do not get to choose the character, which is a shame.
The game consists of a 3D map of Springfield and in order to commence an episode you enter in to a building on the map. Some of the buildings, such as Moe?s Tavern for example, do not involve any episodes. Moe's Tavern just shows the credits.
The episodes are cleverly designed, creative and are quite good fun to complete. The best one has to be the Land of Chocolate. This is based on the dream by Homer whereby he is running around eating plants, biting chunks out of sign posts and eating the ears of rabbits.
****Controls and game play****
The controls are very easy to get used to and there are several checkpoints throughout each episode that means if you do mess up and lose a life you will resume from the last checkpoint negating the need to re-do what you?ve done before. This is a common and a great feature of modern day games.
As the game progresses you unlock various character traits, which allow the team working aspect to be more creative. For example Bart will grapple-hook his way to a higher platform and unlock a way for Homer to get through a locked door. In return Homer will balloon himself in to a bowling ball and knock down obstacles to allow Bart to progress. By performing or experiencing some "video game cliches", other items and powers can be unlocked. Even more features can be unlocked by collecting various items such as coins, coupons, and beer caps.
The episodes are very short and the game is very easy. I think a seasoned game player will get bored of this very quickly as it will not be challenging enough. It will be interesting for a while because the graphics are good and the animated stories in between episodes are interesting to watch. It is ideal for younger players, and my nephew (who is 5 years old) loves playing this game, although he does require a bit of assistance with certain sections.
Another feature of this game is Pet Homer. Pet Homer sits on the couch in his underwear doing nothing. It is up to you to feed him (not broccoli though, as it ruins his mood), play ball with him, give him a DS to play with, tickle him, and defibrillate him if he gets a heart attack. I can not see the point of this feature as it is ridiculous, boring and adds nothing to the game. If you want a pet then play Nintendogs or a game of that genre.
****Price and availability****
This game is not a new release so getting a copy should not be too difficult. I bought my copy from Argos for £19.99 although this game can be bought for under £15 from many online sites.
Overall this game is not too bad. It wasn?t the mindless beat ?em up arcade classic I was hoping for but I guess that time and game tastes have moved on.
The episodes are short and easy so the game will not last that long. The animated sequences between the episodes makes the game interesting, and without them I think that this game would be a flop because it is just too simple.
It is ideal for younger game players although I would recommend seasoned game players give it a go, if it is a Simpson fan, just don?t expect too much. I would not recommend buying it but if it is up for rent at a shop near you then it may be worth a punt.
(originally posted on Dooyoo under the name of Yackers1)