reviewed on PSP
Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons” made their humble beginnings as a series of animated shorts on the Tracy Ullman Show on April 19, 1987, taking the idea of a dysfunctional family and making it into an entertaining show. It didn’t take long for Fox to realize the potential of the yellow family, and in 1989, they threw The Simpsons into their first half-hour episode for their network television premier. Since that fateful night the popularity of the family has only risen, spawning more then 400 episodes, 19 seasons, board games, card games, comics, and of course video games. There have been 22 licensed Simpsons games spanning countless consoles, but only two has achieved a level of quality beyond mediocre. EA’s The Simpsons Game hopes to break above the chamber of crappy licensed Simpsons games. Question is, can it?
Grand Theft Scratchy
The very first time you boot up The Simpsons Game, you are treated to a homage to a previous episode of The Simpsons while you enter a world of chocolate. In a quick tutorial you pummel your way, as Homer, through waves of chocolate bunnies. As soon as you finish the level Homer awakens from his slumber and realizes it was all a dream. Meanwhile Bart has purchased a controversial copy of the new “Grand Theft Scratchy” game. Marge, who happens to be near the store, sees Bart holding the violent. She snatches it out of his hand and walks away with it. Bart, now with nothing to do walks down an empty ally way, when the manual for The Simpsons Game descends from the heavens and lands in front of Bart’s feet. Realizing he now has video game powers, he goes off in search of adventure with his farther.
The game delivers great jokes and the story wraps up very well. The humor in the game fairs much better than on show, due to the comedic gold that has been untouched by the Simpsons’ writing staff. The quantity of references from the series and various games throughout history (Mario, Sonic, Doom, etc.) can best be described as epic, and unless you follow the series religiously, you won’t understand a number of jokes.
It’s all the Presentation
The amazing presentation is what The Simpsons Game excels beyond all of its predecessors. The Simpsons Game sports fantastic visual effects and stunning visual effects. However it’s painfully clear that Matt Groening’s characters were never meant to break into the 3D realm. At times the characters look hand drawn and simply amazing, but other times they look absurd. Everything else however looks great, no matter the angle. The effects, again, are amazing, especially the explosions, Homer’s transition into a blob, the shading, just about everything.
Then there’s the stunning sound design. All the original voice actors return with a fantastic performance. But what surprised me the most was the fully orchestrated soundtrack. The music almost manages to kick in at all the right times, except during the boss battles. For some reason, the music seems to die down during the most intense moments, which is too bad.
No Pros and Cons at this time