Wednesday, November 07, 2007

They Are Yellow, Four Fingered, Dysfunctional And Are Now In Your Nintendo DS..and every other console..

Those 4 thumbed, yellow coloured folks from Springfield seem to follow me everywhere, even on my trip to Dubai. First there was TV series showing on Emirates' ICE during my flight there. And then there was the newly released game, available at Geekay and Sharaf DG.

Last but not least, I had the series AND the movie accompany me home in my flight back to Malaysia, on the excellent ICE. On a side note, it's with regret that I inform everyone that Emirates' ICE pwns our national carrier's (MAS) in-flight entertainment system.

Now, if you don't know who are the 4-thumbed, yellow coloured folk I'm talking about, it's the cast of The Simpsons. With that out of the way, lets talk about the game. While in Dubai, I had the pleasure of playing The Simpsons Game, for the Nintendo DS.

In a nutshell, it's a 2D platform game, where you get to play as Bart, Lisa, Marge and Homer Simpson in a game about the Simpsons being in a video game (cue a collective "huh?"), which would explain why each character has superpowers.

Example: Bart can change into Bartman, Homer becomes a big fat ball, Marge can command "angry mobs", and Lisa has telekinesis.

There are a lot of quotes from the show and quite a number of videos, often at the start and at the end of levels. The game exhibits good production values with the voice acting, graphics, videos, being spot on.

It also has a certain cool vibe, parodying popular video games and much maligned video game cliches, which is almost certain to give birth to a new video game cliche: video games about video games. (cue collective moan)

Despite all that, there's still a drawback. Like most platformers, The Simpsons Game can be a frustrating experience. The lack of pointers in certain levels will definately frustrate new comers and the 2D art, while staying true to its 2D roots, cannot give a sense of depth which will lead to players asking: "Is that a platform I can jump on, or is it just background art?"

I'm generally allergic to platformers; yelling to the Nintendo DS while playing Super Mario World with the help of an emulator is a particularly favourite activity of mine. All the jumping, running and the timing involved simply doesn't exactly jive with me and it's no wonder shoot-em-ups like Quake appeal to me; just shoot anything that moves.

And if you are like me, The Simpsons Game may not be for you, despite the appeal of having unlimited lives for each character, which technically means no game over screen (scratch one video game cliche).

Anyways, here's a tip:

In the "Enter the Cheatrix" level, should you find yourself stuck, you are supposed to do the double jump from one platform to another. Yeah, I spent an inordinate amount of time on a game in a genre that has done nothing but give me frustration over the years. What can I say? I'm a fan of the series.

The Simpsons Game is available across platforms, and is available at with free shipping. Click here for details.