The Simpsons have been
around for a long time. In
fact, the 15th season just started.
After these many years and hundreds of episodes, every single
Simpsons fan surely has a favorite one-liner, sign gag, character,
episode and season. That
is what makes The Simpsons: Hit & Run so great.
It not only features an original story created just for this
videogame, but within the 3-D Springfield created for the game are
hundreds of jokes and signs and characters ripped straight out of
the series. You can
literally drive around the levels and find a joke every few feet,
and your favorite gags are probably in here.
This is the game that every Simpsons fan has dreamed of, and
it combines excellent gameplay along with tons of fan service to
make this one game no fan should be without.
The story in Hit
& Run was written specifically for this videogame by the actual
writers from the show. At
the start of the game, mechanical bees with cameras built into them,
black vans, and a strange cola that is controlling peoples minds
have all appeared in
. It is up to you,
playing as Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa, and Apu, to explore the city
and figure out who is behind this nefarious plot.
There are a few twists and turns along the way and the story
really gets interesting during the last couple of levels. You will
also meet up with just about every character from the show and
explore locations such as Moes Tavern, Mr. Burns Mansion, and
pretty much every other landmark from the show.
There is even an original Itchy and Scratchy cartoon that you
To get an idea of what
the gameplay in Hit & Run is like, think Grand Theft Auto minus
the violence. You have
the ability to go anywhere you want and do anything you want.
You can hijack any cars you want on the road and drive around
or you can run and jump through town if you prefer.
There arent any weapons in the game, but you can kick
people in the shins if you want to.
The missions in the game are exactly like the missions in the
GTA games, just without the sex, drugs, and violence.
Youll have to drive Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel around in
his pickup to collect road kill, race Principal Skinner to the
school to get Lisas homework to her, and even destroy a few rival
cars with the sturdy blade of Barneys Plow King.
There are seven
levels in the game each broken up into seven story missions.
There is one bonus mission on each level as well as three
race missions per level. Within
each level are numerous items that you have to collect as well.
You have to find specific gags, twenty mechanical bees, and
seven collector cards that reference different episodes from the
show in each of the seven levels.
You also have to unlock all of the special cars and alternate
outfits if you want to get 100%.
The alternate outfits you can unlock are things such as Homer
in a muumuu, Bart in his Bartman costume, Lisas Cool
outfit, or Marge in her police uniform.
The main attraction
in Hit & Run is the cars you use to explore
. You can jack any car
in the game, but the cars youll find roaming the streets are
pretty generic and, well, crappy.
By visiting one of the dozens of phone booths around town,
however, you can have one of the dozens of special cars that you
have unlocked delivered. You
unlock cars buy beating the racing missions, buying them from Gil,
the down on his luck salesman/real estate agent/lawyer/etc., or
earning them through story missions.
Barneys Plow King, Homers Mr. Plow, the family sedan, a
Canyonero, Mr. Burns Limo, and the car Homer designed called the
Homer are just some of the cars you can use.
There are a ton of cars ripped straight out of your favorite
episodes and it is a thrill to go from level to level just to see
what you can open up next.
The seven levels
are split up between three environments.
The first location youll visit covers the Simpsons
neighborhood of Evergreen Terrace, the school, the Kwik-E-Mart, and
the Nuclear Power Plant with a ton of stuff in between, of course.
The second area youll go to is the downtown section of
where youll be able to visit Moes Tavern, the DMV, City Hall
and the statue of Jebadiah Springfield, and you can even see the
defunct Monorail station, the escalator to nowhere, the giant
magnifying glass and the rotating restaurant.
The third section of
you will visit covers the waterfront area with Mr. Burns Casino,
the Aztec Theater, the Androids Dungeon comic book shop, and
stretches all the way up to the observatory and famed
sign up in the hills. You
have to play in the downtown area and waterfront area twice and the
Simpsons neighborhood three times.
Each time you have to return to a level it will be slightly
different. New sections
of the level will open up to you and different cars and people will
be around than when you were there before.
All three sections of town are huge and have a ton of things
to do, and because they change when you make your return visits to
them later in the game, the initial feelings of disappointment
youll likely feel when you find out the city isnt as big as
Liberty or Vice City will quickly fade.
Simply driving around
the city and pointing out references to episodes is a blast.
Some friends and I spent an evening looking for jokes and sign
gags that we recognized and there were jokes everywhere.
In the Kwik-E-Mart alone you can see Frostilicus, set off a
very loud silent alarm, and play a quick game of Larry the
Looter. You will also find
characters all over the city that you can talk to and many of them
have a lot of lines of dialogue. Finding
Moe or Ralph Wiggum around town will have you laughing for quite
awhile. Other jokes such
as Homer saying I hope they dont find my scorpion farm when
he is racing Smithers to work are made even more hilarious when you
reach the plant and go to Homers office and actually find a
scorpion farm. I like to
think of Hit & Run as the best clip show that has ever existed.
All of the best and brightest citizens of
along with all of the funniest parts of the show are reproduced
extremely faithfully here.
The graphics in Hit
& Run are good, but there are a lot of cases of clipping, and the
camera has a tendency to go nuts when you least expect it.
The framerate stutters quite a bit when there is a lot going on
or your car is getting banged up and there is a lot of smoke and
sparks flying. The
characters, cars, and the city itself are exactly what you would
expect from a 3-D version of The Simpsons.
The city is very detailed and the characters look and act the
part. Other than a couple
of technical issues that are noteworthy but still pretty easy to
overlook, the graphics in Hit & Run are great.
The sound in Hit & Run is probably the best part of the
presentation. The theme
song is here in all of its glory and the gameplay music is just what
you would expect to hear on the show.
Each playable character also has special music that plays every
once in a while. Homer has
a version of the Stone Cutters music and when you play as Lisa you
will hear saxophone music. All
of the voice actors from the series lent their talents to the
videogame and it really adds a lot to why Hit & Run is so funny
and enjoyable. The only
bad part about the sound is that some of the one-liners repeat way too
often. You only really
notice it while you are driving, but hearing the same four or five
lines fifty times on your way from the Simpsons house to
Springfield Elementary is extremely annoying.
Overall, though, the sound is spectacular.
The voices, sound effects, and music we expect each week from
the TV show are all here and they are all great, even if some of the
jokes get old after a while.
If you are a die-hard fan of The Simpsons, you need this game. The
graphics and sounds and storyline are extremely faithful to the
series; so what more could you want? There is a lot to do in Hit &
Run between completing the main story and finding all of the
collectible items and it will probably take about 25+ hours to
complete the game 100%. I
have played through it twice now, once on GameCube and once on PS2,
and Im still hooked. If
you arent a huge fan of the show, a lot of the jokes will probably
be lost on you, and youll just see Hit & Run as the above
average GTA clone it really is. To
fans of the show, though, Hit & Run is a must play and will fit
nicely on your shelf alongside the Season 1-3 DVD sets you undoubtedly