Here are a few interesting facts about the DS version.
During our time at EA's pre-E3 press event, we happened upon a roaming demonstration of the DS version of The (tentatively titled) Simpsons Game. While we didn't get to play it, there are some details about the game's development that may help make it the best Simpsons game since the original arcade version released in 1991.
Specifically, the development team handing the game at EA actually got a bona fide Simpsons arcade cabinet to play with and draw inspiration from. The group knows it's the gold standard of Simpsons games, and they will be looking to capture that goofy fun and bring it to the home versions.
The gameplay, described to be "just like the console versions," generally involves playing as a member of the Simpsons family, running through levels that are either traditional 2D side-scrolling or an isometric viewpoint not unlike Double Dragon. Each character has special powers that can be useful in getting through levels. Homer can turn into a giant ball and roll over objects. Bart can transform into his superhero alter ego, Bartman, and leap great distances. Marge can get on her bullhorn and recruit other townsfolk to join a mob that falls under her command. Lisa has the ability to use music to move key objects, a process which uses the touch screen.
These abilities are important in levels where two characters team up. One level shown to us was a cavern of sorts, where Bart and Homer needed to get to the exit. Homer first needed to knock down a wall using his ball power, but soon a gate appeared. At this point, you could tag out to Bart, turn into Bartman, climb a rock, zip line across the top, and open the gate at the top of a ladder. Then the action switched back to Homer, who could now pass through the gate, climb the ladder, and rejoin Bart. The level filled up both DS screens, meaning that in this case, Bart climbed up to the top screen while Homer remained on the bottom screen.
The game will be broken up into different missions that can be accessed from a map of Springfield that is setup much like the mission map from the first Ouendan game. Using the DS touch screen, you can drag the view around and see the sights around town. Locations like Moe's Tavern, the Kwik-E-Mart, the statue of Jebediah Springfield in front of city hall, and anything else you've ever seen from the show are all there. And because everything is animated just like the show, the game looks impressively true-to-life on the DS Lite screen.
No DS game would be complete without touch-screen mini-games. The one we were shown is called Pet Homer and is supposed to be a ploy on the pet rock fad. Basically, Homer is laying down on the living room couch in his underwear just lounging around and you need to give him items that he will interact with. If you feed him a donut, he'll eat it and say something funny. Give him a beer, he'll drink it. You can poke at him, too. You can acquire extra items in the main game that will make playing with your "pet" more interesting. There will be more things to do on the site besides play Pet Homer, but this by itself looked rather interesting.
The DS version will also support a lot of voice and video clips from the show, more than any DS game to date, if EA is to be believed. We didn't see any video and do not know for sure exactly what it will be, but it's not too much of a stretch to say that players will be able to unlock classic Simpsons moments on their DS. And of course, the TV voice cast will be speaking their parts for all the characters in all versions of the game, including the DS.
We should have more info on the Wii version of The Simpsons Game this week at E3, so check back with us soon!