Virtual Springfield is an exploration style game based on the most popular cartoon of all time The Simpsons. It gives you the chance to take a stroll through their native city of Springfield and view all of the famous sites and landmarks that everyone knows from the show.
The graphics are done in the style of a normal Simpsons cartoon, except that when you take a stroll through the town all of the buildings are done in 3D. The cartoon look has been done to perfection and the whole city looks just as one would expect it to look.
The whole graphical outlook is very vibrant, with a palette of bright colors, which makes the whole thing very pleasing to the eye.
The characters have been translated from the show with ease and represent their television counterparts perfectly. Thereís a multitude of wacky animations from the show and otherwise and in true Simpsons form theyíre very funny and look great.
Overall, the graphics have pretty much just been cut straight from the cartoon, so if you like the look of the show then itís more than likely youíll find this game aesthetically pleasing. But if you hate one then itís pretty obvious that the other wonít be to your liking either.
The sound in Virtual Springfield is good, but there was definitely some
room for improvement in a few key areas. The background music for instance, is a jazzed up version of The Simpsons theme, whilst this is all well and good, if exposed to this background music for a prolonged period of time your ears certainly wonít be happy. This is the only background tune that theyíve got and it is way too repetitive to be classified as easy listening.
Apart from this flaw the audio is generally good, there is a mountain of speech (heaps of funny one-liners and jokes) to be found in the game and itís delivered with the comic timing that youíve come to expect from The Simpsons. Thereís a good collection of zany sound effects found in Virtual Springfield, and theyíve also been done pretty well. None of the effects are out of place and are pleasant on the old eardrums.
Overall, the majority of the audio has been done to a high quality. However there really needed to be more variety in the way of background themes to be better than it was.
The game-play isnít overly action packed or thrilling, but it does provide a decent play. As written above itís based on exploration, meaning that there isnít really a central goal to the game except to take a look around the place. You can visit all the hangouts of the Simpson family, Church, the Stonecutters building, Moeís Tavern and even the library!
As you travel around the town from building to building thereís a multitude of things to do. A person can find themselves popping back and forward to the same spots just to see the large number of different animations at their disposal. Youíll find many interactive objects located around the place and quite a few fun little mini-games (these range from throwing water bombs at susceptible targets to causing a nuclear meltdown at the plant), nearly every object strewn about the place has something you can do with it, this makes for hours of fun point and click action.
There is a bit of progression to be had in the game as some areas are locked and require a special key to get access to them, the locations can be discovered by deciphering clues that are found around the town of Springfield. Thereís also a bit of a side quest for the player to go on, and that quest is finding the complete set (80) of cards that picture a large population of The Simpsonsí finest characters. This can prove to be a time consuming task, and whilst it isnít overly fun itís still something extra for you to do.
Overall, whilst it isnít the most exciting game-play a person is ever likely to see, it does give the gamer a bit of a different kind of game, itís a bit like an exhibit, look and touch but leave everything the way you found it. Itís a very funny game and it shouldnít be overlooked just because of the lack of action.
The lifespan of the game is where Virtual Springfield hurts the most. Whilst the game is fun to play through, and doing everything there is to be done will take up a fair bit of time, there just isnít enough to keep the player coming back time and time again. Itís likely that they will go through a second time, but itís unlikely that someone would want to finish the game more times than that, there definitely needed to be some added incentive offered to the player for repeat games.
The fun factor of Virtual Springfield is pretty high. The show is one of the funniest things on television and this style of humor has translated perfectly into the game. Millions of people have yearned to take a walk through the streets of Springfield and take in the views; this game should take care of those wishes pretty well. Thereís just so much to do, ensuring the playerís enjoyment never fades and boredom never grows, itís the perfect mixture.
The challenge offered here is minimal, probably non-existent. Being a game of an explorative nature it means that there isnít any pressure to succeed, which means thereís no failing in the game. Finding all the keys and various objects will just come naturally as you make your way through the game so that doesnít increase the challenge a person get either?
Overall, Virtual Springfield offers a great, unique outlook into the life of everyoneís favorite cartoon characters. Whilst it may not offer anyone a good challenge or long playing times, thereís still a huge load of fun to be had by all that play the game. Definitely worth a look, especially of youíre fan of the show.