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Joystiq hands-on: The Simpsons

Ross Miller

We had a chance to play 5 of the 16 levels for Electronic Arts' upcoming title The Simpsons. A lot of work is being put in to keep the game satirical of the video games, and so far they're on the right track.

The first level we tried was "Shadow of the Colossal Donut," and unsurprisingly it had us facing off against a giant, robotic beast. (We are disappointed, however, that said beast was not large enough that we climb on top of him like in Shadow of the Colossus.). Each of the characters' special moves are fairly unique and integral to solving the levels. Bart, for a rather lame example, is the only one that can climb ropes, while Marge has a loudspeaker used to attract people for her Pikmin-esque mob.

Much like LEGO Star Wars, the game features drop-in / drop-out co-op. Because of the unique abilities of each character, you will have to switch between each to solve puzzles. The town of Springfield acts a central hub where you can access all the levels.

Gallery: The Simpsons Game | 23 Photos

There are 31 game cliches you can find in the game, such as the water teleport of the obvious boss character weakness, as well as secret areas. In the Medal of Homer episode, we were shown a secret path to enter Castle Duffenstein. According to designer Greg Rizzer, the textures are actually from the original Castle Wolfenstein, showing a great attention to detail and appreciate of the satire source material.

Approximately 8,000 lines of dialogue from the show's voice actors are being used. Reports of Matt Groening being a boss character is true, said Rizzer, but he's not the final boss.

Unique to the Xbox 360 is online leaderboards for the target time mode. The PlayStation 3 will not have leaderboards but will reportedly have the betters graphics. The Wii version, whose visuals we did not get to see, will have -- surprise! -- minigames specifically tailored to the motion controls. One of the game mentioned was "Bite Night," an eating contest satirizing the Fight Night series.

We wish more developers would put this much effort into their licensed titles. The Simpsons is due out in the fall for all consoles known to man.

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