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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action / Driving

 

Publisher

Vivendi

 

Developer

Radical Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 2003

 

 

- Grand Theft Auto: Simpsons style

- An absolute treat for us Simpsons fans

- All-star audio and great graphics

- Funniest game of 2003

 

 

- Missions get repetitive

- Controls are frustrating

- Difficulty becomes insane

 

 

Review: The Simpsons: Hit & Run (XB)

Review: The Simpsons: Hit & Run (GC)

Review: GTA Vice City (PC)

Review: GTA III (PC)

Action Figures: The Simpsons

 

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The Simpsons: Hit and Run

Score: 7.0 / 10

Welcome to GTA Springfield!

 

I'm going to ignore the "finally, a good Simpsons game!" intro that every review for The Simpsons: Hit and Run has begun with so far, and get right into it. It's an typical Wednesday in Springfield, and some crazy stuff is going on - robotic bees with spy cameras, strange black vans and a new flavor of cola is all connected to some strange possibly-wont-make-sense conspiracy, and it's up to the Simpsons to figure out what's going on. Taking the wheel as Homer, it's time to drive - whoops, was that Flanders or a speed bump? Do'h!  

 

simpsons hit and run pc review          simpsons hit and run pc review

 

For Simpsons fans, this game is a god-send; it actually gives you the ability to explore the Simpson's hometown of Springfield in all its hilarious glory. The game is full of gags and references, surprisingly accurate to the show considering the town changes each episode. You'll see it all here, from regulars like Moe's Tavern and the Kwik E Mart, to jokes seen only in one episode, like Frostilicus, or the giant police billboard the kid's used to broadcast the town's secrets, and my personal favorite, the world's largest magnifying glass (forever burning down the skyscraper madeof popsicle sticks, of course).

 

The game itself plays very much like the GTA games - you have freedom to wander and explore the town, driving or borrowing cars (there's no car jacking in this friendly family game, nor any real violence) and following a set series of missions to advance the game. Following the storyline, Hit and Run is split into 7 levels, each playing a different character of the game. You'll play as Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Apu to try to track down the culprits behind the strange goings-on in the town.

 

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The missions start off very fun, exploring the town driving around to collect items, smash up cars or follow others. Unfortunately, they soon get repetitive, yet the exploration aspect of the game gives it lots of life. There are items to collect, gags to see, and places to go, and the town changes slightly with each level to give you an all new Springfield experience.

 

The graphics are excellent, bringing the 2D cartoon world of the Simpsons to glorious 3D 

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life. Simple but effective, all of the characters, buildings and sights of Springfield are made 3D, similar to the popular World of Springfield action figure series. It's like you're really in Springfield! Also impressive is the audio, in which every, and I mean EVERY character from the show speaks. The authentic cast of the show was hired to do lines and it shows - Hit and Run is often hilarious, and totally immersive.

 

The big downfall in the game comes in the form of the suddenly insane

difficulty. Most of the missions become time-based, an aggravating aspect in itself, but the timer is set so low that missions become cut-throat; there is no room for error. The enjoyableness of the exploration and humor of the Simpsons universe is lost as you attempt and fail the frustrating missions - without which, you can't move on in the game.

   

simpsons hit and run pc review          simpsons hit and run pc review

Repeating the same mission a dozen times was never a problem in GTA - there was usually more than one way to do a mission, and if you were stuck you could always attempt something else - this open endedness is missing from Hit and Run, and it's very nearly a fatal flaw.

 

Also mindlessly irritating are the police chases, which aren't nearly as polished or interesting as in GTA - police will appear out of nowhere, run into you and you'll be fined 50 coins. There's coins everywhere, so the fine is no problem, but having to repeat the mission you just failed again because of the police adds to the frustration.

 

There are some differences specific to the PC version that shouldn't be overlooked. Like GTA3 and Vice City, the controls for Hit and Run aren't very fitting for the PC. Although it offers options to change them, they still aren't great - you'll have to tinkering with the mouse and keyboard controls for a while to make the game the most playable.

 

Surprisingly, the graphics are excellent even on machines at the low end of the running specs. Immersion in the Simpsons universe is sweet thanks to the simple but polished 3D world, just as effective on the PC as with any of the console versions, although this version is still plagued with the same minor graphics/clipping issues. Finally, a multiplayer game set in Hit and Run is missing - which would have given the game the edge on the GTA series - but there is a Bonus Game in which several players can race which is a nifty little addition to the package.

 

Overall, I really like this game, but the difficulty really puts me in a tight spot - no matter how fun the game is to begin with, it loses appeal quickly as the game becomes insane. Some missions seem impossible no matter how many times you try to beat them, and with no room for error, you better hope those sticky controls pull through. For those who love the Simpsons and missed this on the consoles, the PC version is a must-own.

 

- Shocka

(January 2, 2003)

 

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