Previews

The Simpsons

We know: Another Simpsons game, but you can stop your groaning right now...

Like a shagged-out ex-superstar dragged out of retirement by a hit remix, it seems that America's first family is heading for one last moment of great-ness. After years of churning out lacklustre episodes, with the double whammy of the forthcoming Simpsons Movie and Simpsons videogame, the bloated phenomenon is hoping to undo years of complacency and remind the world of why it's the greatest sitcom and cartoon of all time.

And, in game terms at least, we can say with only a little trepidation that it looks like they're going to manage it. Top of our 'Why don't they?' list any time we're in the pub debating game concepts is a huge, genuinely funny adventure which rips the piss out of gaming generally - a Conker's Bad Fur Day Plus. And it looks like Fox's mighty yellow family are the ones to finally do it.

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The plot rightly throws any attempt at logic out of the window as Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie discover that they're trapped in a videogame, and have to... well, escape. But ultimately they have to provide us with as much fun as we can handle.

Bart's Recurring Nightmare
Which means we'll get to play as every family member as we explore a freeroaming funland featuring every major Springfield resident, and on the way take part in challenges that lampoon titles such as Beautiful Katamari (with Homer as a rolling ball of lard), every WWII shooter ever made (with Bart or Homer behind the reticule), Frogger (with Lisa leaping across rivers) and pretty much every platformer ever created. And we can explore all of this in the very best visual recreation of the show ever seen in gaming - the 2D-as-3D design was looking pretty pixel-perfect from where we were sitting.

When it comes to great properties translating into dump games, perhaps only Scooby Doo can match The Simpsons for a history of crap. For every so-so game to feature the family, there are three or four games that still make us want to self-harm. But this time... well, let's hold off on the grand predictions until EA deliver a playable version directly into our disc tray.

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