Bart Simpson? Isn't he one of those Teenage Neutered Turtle thingies? No? Oh well, I'm not totally up on all these cartoon so-called 'characters'. So, what's his problem then?
Well, it seems that Springfield, where Bart and his family live, has been invaded by space creatures who fancying taking over the Universe, (as space creatures do!) Their method of universe control is to collect everything that's purple. So what you, as Bart, have to do is wander around the place with a can of paint, spraying all the purple objects red (so the aliens can't collect them). It's got to be the most stupid since 'Stupid' Jack McStupid tried to eat the Houses Of Parliament for a bet in 1877.
ON ME HAT! ON ME HAT!
But enough of this banter. The game is a platformer (as you'll know if you saw the rather good Megapreview I did two issues ago) with Bart wandering around Springfield, spraying purple things and jumping on the heads of any aliens he meets. As they're disguised as humans, he needs to make sure his X-ray specs are in place (so he doesn't jump on any li'l innocent old ladies). In Level Two he's got to knock the hats off the aliens, in Level Three he has to pop their balloons with his catapult. In Level Four he's got to fire his dart gun at lots of invading exit signs and on Level Five he's got to collect all the radioactive cells inside his dad's nuclear plant. Bit tricky, eh?
Bart can run or walk left and right and can jump or bounce on certain objects. He'll need to use all these moves to get to some parts of the screens - let me tell you that the whole thing gets very difficult. Instead of just travelling to the right Bart has to go back and forth collecting all the objects he missed the first time.
Ocean have gone for the overlapping screen flip. Don't worry, I'll explain this rather worrying technical term (cos I know what it means). It means that the screen doesn't scroll, it jerks onto the next bit you see. It works really well and as the screen flips you can get some nasty surprises, like millions of aliens. (Not exactly a surprise anymore is it, James? Ed)
There are loads of objects to collect, the easiest way to do this is to jump on a few aliens' heads and collect the coins that bounce out. Then spend them on whatever you need in the shops that you pass on your journey. You can buy rockets, cherry-bombs and loads of other dangerous goodies, all of which you need at some point.
The coins are also useful because every time you collect one you get one letter of the name of another Simpson. For example, on Level One you need six coins and you get the letters M-A-G-G-I-E. Then Maggie, Bart's sister, appears and gives you a helping hand. It's a stonking idea and, boy, you can sure use that help! Later levels have Lisa, Homer and Marge turning up to help you out. And on Level Five the whole family turns out to get rid of those pesky aliens once and for all! Hurrah for the brave Simpsons!
ARCADE ACTION AS WELL?
By jingo, yes! Well, sort of. At the end of Level One there's a quick scrolling bit where Bart gets on his skateboard. He whizzes along, belting through the screens. There isn't much scenery, so the update is really quick and every now and then little dogs, aliens and other things appear on the path. You've to time your jumps so that you miss everything, as you're not really given any warning about what'll be in the way. And it's a razor-sharp reaction type thing. And it's also a lot of fun (especially when you're not expecting it. Er, except that you - 'cos I've just told you!)
ANY PUZZLEY BITS IN IT?
Well read on. Level Three has also got a different sort of game included in its fiendish levels. This is cared Dizzy Doors, and there's got nine different-coloured doors which you've got to open in the right order so that they're all the same colour. Yes, yes, I know it's complicated, but think of it like one of those slidey puzzles you get at Christmas (only a heck of a lot more fun) and you're on the right lines.
The idea of putting different sub-games into The Simpsons is pretty inspired, and makes the game even more fun. As you can tell, I'm really into this game. As far as I can see, it's got everything it should have. It's fast, it's easy in places and dead wicked in others and it's got a massive amount of variety. What more could you want? (How about an EMF soundtrack? Ed) The graphics are very cartoony, as you'd expect and there's pots of colour. Bart himself is actually see-through, so you can see him when he walks in front of yellow things. It's great making him walk past green things 'cos he looks like he's about to throw up! And, if you look at them closely, you can see him blink and do other cartoon-type things. Nice touch that.
So. I'm putting on my special Megagame hat, tying my Megagame laces and giving The Simpsons a - wait for it - Megagame. You see it's just so big, so varied and such a larf that I'd be a fool if I didn't. So there. Now go and buy a satellite dish so you can watch it on TV as well (Alternatively, just turn to page 35 and try and win one. Ed) Cowabungea, pizza-dudes! (As they say in The Simpsons, I believe.)
It's big, tough and lots of fun. Get it and do the Bartman, right now!
5 SIMPSONS FACTS
1. They're actually based on a real family in America called the Sampsons.2. Bart is modelled on Dan Quayle, Vice President of the USA.3. Bart's brother, John, is a famous newsreader on the BBC.4. People with satellite TV go on and on about it, so everybody else knows who The Simpsons are.5. Bart is the highest-paid entertainer in the world. He earns three times as much as Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby put together.
Watch out! Jumping alien things! They're pretty easy to avoid, though. Just time it right and you'll be okay.
Get down off those 30 squillion-volt powerlines at once, young man! But Bart is too naughty to listen, so up he goes!
Bah! I knew those pesky mutants were up to something! Just watch them plotting the downfall of the world. Blimmin' nuisances!
Wow! The movies! But Bart doesn't have time to watch films cos the aliens are here.
No, the page hasn't gone funny. This is a Bart's-eye-view of the world when he's wearing his X-ray specs. Aliens which normally look like people show up as hideous monsters (like this one).