Previews

The Simpsons

It'll make you LOL

It's the start of the Neverquest level, a parody of fantasy videogames and, in this section, The Lord of the Rings. Homer is decked out in Link's iconic outfit, complete with pointy ears, standing next to an 'elfed'-up Marge.

Homer: "You are one sexy MILF."
Marge: "The word is 'ELF!'"

Er, you had to be there? All right, it loses a bit in translation from videogame to preview copy but it's one of our favourite comedy moments that caused us to LOL during a recent check-out of EA's The Simpsons, which has graced CVG Towers in near final form.

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In the past we've had to suffer the disappointment of seeing some of the world's greatest franchises being turned into mundane 3D platform action-adventures with the same old generic collect-'em-up scenarios, but thank goodness The Simpsons is taking a different angle and putting a unique spin on the genre.

EA's game parodies 30 years of videogaming, going right back to Pong and moving fun-pokingly forward through the ages. In fact, EA has unturned as many gaming stones as it can, even going out East to Japan and including cheeky nods to the likes of Katamari Damacy and Okami.

It drips The Simpsons too, not just with the art direction but with reassuringly good comedy, even if some of the gags will go way over the heads of the younger audience. 42 minutes of cut-scenes in the game have been created by Gracie Films, and the title features over 8,000 lines of dialogue. So far, we've not heard a line repeated.

It's littered with numerous tributes to episodes from the series, and of course there are more The Simpsons characters in it than you can shake Matt Groening's goatee at.

LEVEL-UP
What the game boils down to is Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart teaming up in pairs and working together to overcome puzzles, challenges and enemies. In the opening of the Neverquest level, it's the dynamic duo Homer and Marge and hobbits - Rod and Todd Flanders - battling to save a hobbit village from a massive two-headed dragon.

The dragon heads, aptly, are Marge's nicotine-guzzling sisters.

It's all silly, but funny at the same time, with Marge running around rounding up hobbits and sending them to beat up the dragon while Homer, using his helium ball special ability, inflates into a ball, lines himself up on the enemy and farts himself rocketing into the dragon to damage it. Parp.

Later on in the level, it flips into a 2D top-down view and, oh, hang on, that's Gauntlet! It boasts some very clever attention to detail, which, from what we've seen, is a theme that permeates The Simpsons game throughout.

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As you jump and leap your way through the game, fighting using basic attacks plus a combo move which can be powered up, the four main characters unlock special abilities (like Homer's helium ball ability) and can pick up temporary power-ups to help them out too. Bart, for example, can pick up the RoboBart power-up, which makes him temporarily invulnerable and able to fire lasers instead of his slingshot. Lisa receives a temporary boost from a power-up that turns her into Clobber Girl.

PIMP MY PARODY
Each character has been designed to perform a particular role too, which introduces a bit of strategy. In the Grand Theft Scratchy level, for example, teamed up with Lisa, Marge is insistent on cleaning up disreputable town where pimped up Itchys and Uzi-toting gangster Scratchys walk the streets alongside hip-swaying hookers (which you can beat up).

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