The Simpsons Game Reviewed
I think that we all know that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to video games. We have all taken our imaginary heroes through various trials, solving puzzles, and going through levels that end with a boss. The only thing that changes are the graphics, and that gamers keep shelling out money for more.
It is not surprising that these issues are addressed in, of all mediums, a video game. And who is more authorized to address these issues than the Simpsons, who has been satirizing issues for almost 20 years on prime time.
Traditionally, most games that are based off of movies or television shows are usually nothing original. In fact, the only reason why they are put out is to make more money on the franchise.
The Simpsons Game knows this, and still produces an interesting game by satirizing other popular video games. The gameplay is a platform type, where you work the Simpsons through various trials. The difference is between this game is that the player can portray not one, but two characters. The player switches off between Homer or Bart, Bart or Lisa, Lisa or Marge, who whoever is in the level.
Each character has his or her own special power. Bart is able to channel his powers as Bartman to glide over open spaces, and is especially adept at the slingshot. Homer is able to use his powers of eating to become a fat Homer ball, and can even fill up with helium to float. Lisa can use her saxophone to stun her enemies, and can use the Hand of Buddha to levitate very large objects. Marge can use her personality to rally a mob together to combat the evils of Grand Theft Scratchy (an obvious parody of a very popular video game that has just unveiled its fourth incarnation). Even little Maggie Simpson gets involved as Marge sends her through crawlspaces to reek some havoc.
And what would video games be without hidden treasures, and stuff that you can only find on strategy guides or playing until the break of day? The Simpsons Game has them. Bart, Lisa, and Marge find souvenir Coupons, while Homer searches for Duff Beer Bottle Caps. Not only that, one of the secret treasures of this game is finding the game clichés. When that happens, the Comic Book Guy comes out and identifies it by saying something like: “Oh, a crate, how original”.
There is no real plot or gigantic epic backstory that the Simpsons are a part of, but a string of deliberately unrelated adventures. Oddly enough, it is all this spoofing makes the Simpsons Game work. It reminds me of last summer’s Hot Fuzz, a parody of “cop” films that ended up being a really good film in and of itself.