The Simpsons: Hit and Run PlayStation 2
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Released on 31/10/2003
The Simpsons Hit & Run promises a hilarious mission based driving game with exciting out-of-the-car platform game play, the signature satire of The Simpsons, and the interactive world of Springfield.
- Over 56 driving and on-foot missions in 7 huge levels spread out over the familiar Springfield landmarks
- Explore Springfield like never before – ON FOOT - as Homer, Bart, Apu, Marge, and Lisa.
- For the first time, explore the interiors of locations like the Kwik-e-mart, the Power Plant, and even the Simpsons home.
- Brand new story and dialogue written by award-winning The Simpsons writers
- Voiced by The Simpsons cast for full brand authenticity
- Drive as 17 different characters including Cletus, Comic Book Guy, and Principal Skinner with his nagging Mother as a backseat driver.
- Over 40 unique vehicles to unlock including Homer's Mr. Plow and Cletus's pick-up truck.
- Pick-up-and play game controls are inviting for non-gaming Simpsons fan while challenging the serious gamer
- In-game animated gags and hidden jokes throughout the environments give the genuine feel of being in an episode of The Simpsons.
- Hidden pickups containing episode-specific bonus material from the last 14 seasons to reward The Simpsons fan and increase the shelf life of title.
- Multiplayer mode for up-to 4 players in unlockable driving challenges.
Scot Bennett takes a trip into Springfield to see if the latest offering in the Simpsons universe can improve on past disasters.
Simpsons games aren't particularly renowned for their success. In fact, it's probably fair to say that, apart from the brilliant Simpsons Arcade that robbed me of all my pocket money back in 1991, the back catalogue of games to feature the famous yellow-skinned residents of Springfield have all been met with less than critical acclaim. Pleasantly though, Hit and Run seems to have broken this trend with an amusing hybrid of the Grand Theft Auto series and the Simpsons universe.
The key to Hit and Run's success is just how it manages to combine these elements so flawlessly. You can tell straight off the bat that the premise of the game draws heavily from the Grand Theft Auto series. The runaway success of Rockstar North's game has obviously attracted the attention of other developers who have each found their own way of capturing the success.
That's not to say you should be fooled into thinking that this is just Vice City replaced with the Simpsons name though. Radical Entertainment have taken the idea behind the GTA games and remoulded it, effectively placing you into the show and the many crazy adventures that glue you to the television most nights.
This is all helped of course by the game being hilariously written by the team behind the television show. The game starts out with Homer uncovering some strange surveillance devices that have been flying around Springfield. As you progress further through the game, the plot gradually unravels until you're no longer left in the dark as to what these weird contraptions could be.
The violent tones of the GTA series have completely been done away with, allowing for a more cartoon style of humour that fans of the show will be familiar with. Anyone hit by a vehicle will roll for a bit and always get back up, while characters can attack on foot, allowing for them to destroy objects and assault fellow citizens. It's all done in a way that it's never seen as obscene or offensive, and while it's not quite as innocent as something like Tom & Jerry, it's definitely a long way off from Reservoir Dogs.
Missions in the game have you controlling one of the five available characters (Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Apu) and taking them on various missions in different parts of the town, each structured in the same way as the GTA levels are. These missions generally involve you chasing after items or reaching a certain destination before the time runs out, but occasionally you'll be given the chance to perform different tasks that break away from the usual mould.
Within the areas are secret bonuses to collect, extra missions to take on and other locations that can be explored outside of missions. These all serve as ways to increase the life of the game and the extra missions are all well worth taking on, offering bonuses in the way of extra vehicles and money. These can then be used to make life easier for you as new vehicles can be more speedy and durable while extra money can be used to repair your car and purchase new outfits for your character.
No-one is ever going to look back in a few years time and choose Hit and Run as a definitive moment in gaming history but that's not the point. Hit and Run is pure, unadulterated fun - nothing more, nothing less. Any fan of the show will get something out of this, if not from the compelling gameplay then from the entertaining and often amusing dialogue and plot. As Comic Book Guy would so rightly put it: "Best Simpsons game EVER!"
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