‘Simpsons’ aims at games
After getting a taste of several offbeat levels of “The Simpsons Game” at this summer’s E3, the satirical jabs at video games and pop culture had me eager to dive in.
However, it was sort of like jumping into the shallow end of a pool — cool at first but painful in the end.
As play begins, the Simpsons discover that they’re trapped in a video game and must work their way out. Gamers get the chance to play as each member of the Simpson family, including Maggie. Each has a special video-game power, such as Homer’s toxic burps and ability to transform into an enemy-squishing ball of blubber.
Fans will love the fact that the game is very true to the Fox cartoon. Voices are supplied by the original cast and the graphics and animations perfectly match the show’s. In addition, the show’s writers worked on the game, ensuring most of the humor is top-notch.
A lot of it aims at gaming cliches and specific titles. For example, there’s a World War II level called “Medal of Homer” and another called “Grand Theft Scratchy.”
But like the show, the T-rated game is likely to offend everyone at some point. Its satirical shotgun blasts hit practically every belief and convention imaginable. In fact, I was so irritated at the idea of competing against God in “Dance Dance Revolution” that I decided I didn’t really need to finish the last level.
Another problem was the lackluster game play. The humor kept me going until the final level despite the fact that the actual game experience was rather uninspired — and often quite tedious. It’s ironic that the same gaming conventions that fuel the game’s wit rise up to create a fun-sapping sense of frustration.
A final gripe: the camera would frequently spin in inconvenient angles, making some tasks more difficult than they should have been.
As a result, the game is probably best appreciated by avid fans of “The Simpsons.”
Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS.On the Web:www.ea.com/simpsons/