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Lego Dimensions: Simpson Level Pack Plus Bart Simpson Fun Pack

lego-bart-and-homer

One of the major selling points of Lego Dimensions is the inclusion of several diverse and popular intellectual properties.  My family was initially drawn to the game because of the ability to play characters from The Simpsons among others.  When we first started playing the game, I let the kids pick a pack to buy and the one they wanted was Bart Simpson.  So what I am saying is, we’re fans.  How does the game’s Simpsons content stack up?  I’m sorry to say it’s kind of a mixed bag.

homer-level-pack

Starting off with the big ticket item, the Simpsons Level Pack includes the famous family’s patriarch as well as the requisite vehicle and gadget.  Homer is carrying a refreshing Buzz Cola rather than the expected Duff Beer because this is a toy ostensibly intended for children.

The expansion pack adds a new level to play through.  This one is based on the season eight episode, “The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer” in which Homer hallucinates after eating spicy peppers at a chili cook-off.  With the help of a coyote spirit guide voiced by Johnny Cash, Homer goes on a spirit quest to find his soulmate.  The level plays out essentially the same as the episode it’s based on with some of the rough edges sanded off in order to make it more family-friendly.

The gameplay is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a Lego game.  Some levels mix things up with content that feels appropriate to the source material.  For instance, in the Dr. Who level, time travel is a factor.  The Mission Impossible level emphasizes stealth and disguises.  The only added wrinkles come in the form of Homer’s hallucinations which require him to do things like walk on the ceiling.  This can be more frustrating than fun.

It’s not surprising that the developers selected a Homer-centric episode on which to base the level given that Homer is the playable character.  But there may have been other factors that played in to that decision.  Once Homer’s hallucinations kick in, the setting changes from Springfield to a psychedelic desert.  From that point on, we see very little of the familiar characters from the show.  That’s a shame because what you really want to be doing is exploring the town and interacting with the show’s large cast of beloved characters.

Unfortunately, the voice actors were in the middle of contract disputes at the time the game was being made.  As a result, the only voice actor from the show who appears in the game is Dan Castellaneta who voices Homer and Krusty the Clown.  Other characters appear, but are mostly mute.

In terms of versatility, Homer doesn’t bring all that much to the table.  He is able to grow in stature which gives him super strength.  Theoretically, this is a result of his hallucination.  When he drinks his soda, Homer lets loose a burp that can shatter glass.  These are pretty common abilities in the game.

Homer’s vehicle is his pink car which includes a towing function.  It can be upgraded for use as a watercraft or a submarine.  The latter form can blow up silver bricks.  Nothing exceptional there.  His gadget, the Taunt-o-vision – is a little more interesting.  The TV play’s Itchy and Scratchy cartoons that distract enemies who might otherwise attack you.  It can also be used as a bomb to blow up silver legos or upgraded to be used as a mech with a laser function.

On the whole, The Simpsons Level Pack is decent if you can find it on sale (which isn’t hard to do).  But it definitely represents a missed opportunity.  Fans of the long-running show would have loved a chance to really immerse themselves in the world of Springfield, but the Level Pack doesn’t provide that deep dive.

bart-simpson-fun-pack

You really couldn’t release a line of Simpsons product without including the most merchandisable member of the family.  Bart Simpson has graced TV shirts and toys since the show started over a quarter of a century ago.  (Damn, I’m old.)  What made Bart such a marketable character was his irrelevant catch phrases.  Unfortunately, due to the contract negotiations at the time, those catch phrases are entirely absent here.

Yep, Bart is mute.  He won’t tell you not to have a cow or shout “cowabunga, dude”.  It’s not going to impact the gameplay at all, but the absence of dialogue means you don’t really feel like you’re playing as Bart Simpson which is a shame.  Rumors abound that at some point in the future, dialogue may be added, but you would have to think that if it was coming it would have been added by now.

Bart isn’t a whole lot more useful than his father.  He only has two skills.  He can use his slingshot to hit targets and his small size grants access to areas other characters can’t access.  The latter skill is relatively uncommon.  But other characters with this ability are a lot more versatile.  You’ll recall that Slimer had a laundry list of other skills in addition to being small.

Bart’s vehicle is a soapbox racer from an episode of the TV show.  It doesn’t do much in its base form, but it can be upgraded to function as a tow or to fly.

The primary selling point of the Bart Simpson Fun Pack is that it gets you access to the Simpsons Adventure World without paying for the more expensive level pack.  The adventure world gives players the opportunity to explore Springfield even if the characters you encounter aren’t very chatty.  If that’s your goal, you may be better off with the Krusty the Clown Fun Pack.  As a character, Krusty is about as useful as Bart but at least he’s allowed to speak.

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Posted on February 10, 2017, in lego, video games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It sounds like the Level/Fun Packs were hurt by the contract dispute, and although I like that Homer episode, I wouldn’t think it’s flexible enough for gameplay. In a different scenario (no contract disputes), “The Simpsons” have had so many great interpretations of pop culture that this venture should be a slam dunk, but I feel that “The Simpsons” in video games have been a mixed bag (for every “The Simpsons: The Arcade Game there’s “Bart vs. The Space muntants”, and while “The Simpsons: Hit and Run” is faithful to the “Grand theft Auto” structure & to The Simpsons universe, it has too many timed missions) anyway.

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    • I haven’t played very many Simpsons games, so I can’t really say. I remember playing some Simpsons: H&R, but I was terrible so I didn’t play much. There is a lot here to enjoy if you’re a Lego player who also likes The Simpsons. It’s just not the experience it could have been if they had full participation of the voice acting talents. Obviously, a mute Bart is a problem in and of itself. And while the level they came up with is perfectly serviceable, it would have been much more enjoyable to spend the entire level exploring the familiar environments and characters of the show. You get more of that in the Adventure World but when most of the characters who aren’t voiced by Dan Castellaneta just stare back at you silently, you lose something.

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      • I’d say the lack of more voice work applied to the characters affects immersion, especially when games nowadays is all about feeling included in the environment, and the other “The Simpsons” games were still good for the catchphrases and one-liners. I’d think Bart not talking would make anyone have a cow, or put away their green skateboard.

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