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The Simpsons

It'll make you LOL

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Marge is armed with a megaphone and has to round up anthropomorphised dogs to re-paint buildings (as you do), while Lisa plays a defensive role and fends off attackers. Not only can the brainbox use her saxophone to temporarily turn enemies on each other, part way through the level a golden statue - aka the Hand of Buddha - spawns.

By interacting with the Hand of Buddha, Lisa's viewpoint flips into top-down and she can move a target around the screen and zap enemies with lightning, drop blocks of ice on their bonces and stuff. It also comes into play in puzzle-solving... but we don't want to ruin the surprise. It mixes up the play styles nicely, though.

TWO-PLAY, OR NOT TWO-PLAY
In single-player The Simpsons, you can switch at will between the two partners of parody adventure crime and the AI has proved particularly impressive in understanding what you wish it to do but never actually plays the game for you. However, we can't help feeling the most fun will be had in the drop-in/drop-out split-screen two-player mode.

Zoom

It is, after all, much better laughing at a gag with a friend.

One of the key challenges EA will have had to face with The Simpsons is reflecting the show's appeal to both young and adult audiences with the gameplay. It's a game that has to be aimed at everyone and as a result the hardcore gamer will probably blast through the main event quickly. The hard bit enters play via finding all the game's secrets and collectibles.

WE ARE NOT AMUSED
EA admits it's been a challenge parodying videogame properties in The Simpsons, and there are games companies out there that have refused to see the funny side of things. As a result, content has been pulled from the game but, as lead designer Greg Rizzer has pointed out, other companies have fully embraced the idea.

"I don't know if you've seen Sitar Hero? We did Apu playing this 60-button controller and songs like Pour Some Curry On Me - we made this wonderful parody poster and the guys from Harmonix loved it and we sent them 20 copies of the poster. They just loved it so much."

We'll find out if the full game gets equal ecstatic loving come review time. The Simpsons is out next month.

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