Replay Value: 6.4
Ahh yes, The Simpsons. America's most dysfunctional TV family has done it all, they've been to Australia, survived a maul of dozens of crazy Itchy and Scratchy robots, and even managed to avoid murder. The Simpsons are not only one of the longest running cartoons, but it's also one of my most favorite TV programs ever. I've been a hardcore Simpsons fan since they were rough looking sketch like characters, and barely resembled their current bodies. I believe the Tracy Ulman show was where the Simpsons made it big, and from then on, for the past 10+ years, every Sunday at 8PM, The Simpsons would be shown. The Simpsons were truly one of a kind, recently they celebrated their 200th episode, and they are nearing the 250 mark very quickly. I've have seen every single episode of The Simpsons, I never missed one, I even have a 4 foot horizontal poster of Homer Simpson sleeping in his underwear on the couch, with a beer can on his belly, it's really funny. I can't deny it, I'm a Simpsons geek, I love them. So when I heard that they would finally be getting a Playstation game, I freaked. Simpsons Wrestling was announced by Fox, and it would be developed by Big Ape. This announcement was made at E3 2000 and we haven't heard word on the game up until a few weeks before its release. Well the time has come, I've tested Simpsons Wrestling and below is a full review.
Hmmm, perhaps making the Simpsons look 3D wasn't exactly the best idea. I think Big Ape should have worked with some sort of cell-shading technique, a lot like Jet Set Radio or Klonoa 2. Instead Big-Ape decided that polygonal models with black outlining would look best, and although the result isn't terrible, it does look somewhat jaggy, but good though. Their detail makes them easily recognizable I just wish that they looked a bit more smoother since the background spectators aren't exactly 3D, but just 2D figures made up of pixels, so that most likely wasn't an issue. The characters move rather freely around the ring, so the frame rate is not an issue, the game runs fine at all times, and would never slow down. In Simpsons Wrestling the environments are three dimensional and do a great job of re-creating Springfield. Overall the visuals could've been better, even though we're talking PSOne here, Big-Ape should've done a little more work on the visuals.
The gameplay I must admit is incredibly shallow, but will provide some good fun when you are in a state of just silliness. Kicking the living crap out of Flanders with Homer is a dream of mine, and I got to live it. SW features 19 Simpsons characters, including the whole Simpsons family, Groundskeeper Willie, Apu, Krusty, Ned Flanders, Bumblebee Man and even Moe the bartender. The action is all based on one button, pressing Square in a pattern will allow the character to pull off a series of hits, it really isn't anything impressive, just some basic stuff. You will start off with 9 characters, of course the Simpson family, Barney, Willie, Krusty and a few others will be your start. As you play modes like Challenger, Defender and Champion, you will begin unlocking new characters such as Flanders, Moe and the Bumblebee Man. In total there are 19 characters, which is quite a lot, and most of the characters have their own background, such the Simpsons, one of them would fight in front of their house, Moe would have a fight in his own bar, Apu, in front of the quickie mart and etc. Like I said, Simpsons Wrestling is a very shallow game that requires one button to be pressed so that it's finished. If you want to feel silly and have a little fun, you should check the game out.
Audio-wise this game is great, Big-Ape pulled out and created some very funny sound-clips of the actual character voices. Right before a bout, each character says something to his opponent, and the character actually knows who his opponent is, which I like a lot! The clips sound excellent, they're really funny and add a lot to this game's atmosphere. The music is also very good, some tunes are charming and very Simpson-like, while others you would most likely find in another game. Very good sound, I can't really complain.
At first hand when playing SW, the control feels a bit slippery, and not exactly responsive, but I think that the camera angle has something to do with that. You can move your characters by either digital or analog functions, and even some sensitivity was implemented into the analog movement. As I said earlier, the only button you'll really be using is Square, buttons like Triangle will do a little special move, and pressing L1 +Square or Triangle will do a grapple move, or will pin a character if he is on the floor.
I know I didn't really say much about Simpsons Wrestling, but that's simply because it isn't a game that much could be said of. It is a very shallow playing game, but its a good way to get your anger out on something and have a little fun. The visuals do a good job looking like the cartoon as does the sound do a good job. Simpsons Wrestling isn't exactly worth a $39.99 purchase, and I'm quite surprised that the game doesn't retail for $19.99 or $9.99, since it isn't exactly a technological achievement. But the game is worth a rental and since there are millions of Simpsons fans with Playstations, the game will sell.