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September 5, 2007 // 10:59 pm - While we've seen EA's upcoming Simpsons game quite a bit recently, the game continues to pleasantly surprise us. The tongue in cheek adventure finds the animated family braving the perilous world of videogames in a platformer starring the whole clan. We had the chance to check out some new levels in the Xbox 360 and PS3 game at EA's press event today that showed off the game's smart wit and fun gameplay.

The version of the game on display at the event featured a broad sampling of levels that included many we've seen before and two new levels. The first new level, The Land of Chocolate, serves as the game's tutorial and, for those unfamiliar with the classic fantasy sequence, is set in a candy fueled dream had by Homer. The level opens with a cinematic that's right out of the cartoon and then segues to gameplay. Your goal in the level is to follow a white chocolate rabbit through a chocolate village and to the top of a cake. Along the way you're filled in on the basics of gameplay and the various collectible in the game.

The second level was dubbed Super Happy Fun Fun and is a videogame parody along the lines of what we've seen in Medal of Homer. The level is a fast paced mash up of videogame and series in-jokes that work well together. The opening cinematic finds Homer and Lisa confronted by a large, Milhouse, looking suspiciously like the King of All Cosmos from Katamari Damacy. Despite his giant stature, the bespectacled dude is still as insecure as ever and fawns over an unimpressed Lisa. As the Lisa and Homer journey through they encounter ice and fire levels as and engage in a turn based battle that mixes Pokemon and Final Fantasy, which is all good, funny stuff. Sharp eyed players will recognize Comic Book Guy as sumo wrestlers you'll encounter and, more importantly, the mighty Mister Sparkle.

Both levels showcased the solid platforming mechanics and controls that have stood out in our previous looks at the game. Controlling and swapping characters is easy and the level design is a good mix of traditional running and jumping.

The game's presentation makes smart use of the processing power of both consoles. The graphical muscle is devoted to ensuring the characters and environments look authentic to the cartoon. As such the character's animations, both in action and idling, look great. In addition the environments are spruced up by some high tech flourishes like transparencies and other special effects that look sharp. Audio in the game stood out thanks to a hefty amount of dialogue from the series cast and well written dialogue. In game music was low key and didn't really stand out.

Based on what we played, The Simpsons is shaping up to be the best game made for the family in a good long while. It's funny, looks good, and, more importantly, seems to play well too, which isn't something that can be said about many of the previous Simpsons games. Fans of the series or anyone looking for an engaging platformer with a sense of humor will do well to keep an eye out for the Simpsons when it ships this October for the DS, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360.

The Simpsons Updated Hands-On

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