The Simpsons: Hit & Run Review
The Simpsons: Hit & Run borrows heavily from the Grand Theft Auto series and, in so doing, it brings the world of the Simpsons to life with proper justice.
Outside of the game's storyline and missions, there's plenty of stuff to discover and explore in Hit & Run. Items, money, and hidden gags can be found throughout the city of Springfield. Money comes in the form of coins, which can be obtained by destroying various pieces of the scenery, like soda machines, street signs, and lampposts, as well as the evil mechanical bees that pop up all over the place. Wanton destruction, however, is simply not permitted. Not for long. Cause too much chaos, and eventually you'll end up with the cops on your tail. Your level of rampage is monitored by a meter that appears in the lower corner of the screen. Once it fills up, the police will chase you down. If you're caught, it's a 50-coin fine, which isn't too bad. But if you're careful enough, you should be able to collect coins easily enough without having to constantly deal with the police.
Once you've got the cash, you can obviously buy cars from different characters; but that's not all. Each character also has a different set of outfits that can be purchased at different locations around town. Some of these outfits come directly into play with the game's storyline and are necessary to complete missions. Others are simply there for the fun of it. All the different outfits are throwbacks to episodes of the show, including Homer's muumuu from his brief flirtation with morbid obesity, Marge's cop uniform from her days as a member of Springfield's finest, and Apu's American outfit, complete with baseball jersey and oversized cowboy hat.
There are also a number of gags and collectible items strewn about the town. Gags vary from location to location and can be interactive or simply in the background. For instance, walking into the Kwik-E-Mart contains a couple of different gags. Walk to the back, and you find Jasper, or Frostillicus, encased within a freezer. Interacting with him will cause him to start shivering, and he'll throw you one of a few different one-liners. On the other hand, if you simply stand near one section of shelves, one of a few different gags will unfold in front of you--including Hans Moleman's mugging by Snake the convict or Krusty the Clown's ogling of an adult magazine. You can also find a number of collectible items around town, like wrenches that fix damage to your car and trading cards that reference different items from various episodes of the show. These cards cover a pretty wide spectrum of references. They range from the Mr. Sparkle box (which coincidentally bears Homer's likeness) to the evil Krusty doll that tried to kill Homer in one of the infamous Treehouse of Horror episodes. Each card also contains info about the episode in which the item appears and a quotation related to it.
All told, Simpsons: Hit & Run does a really great job of making the world of Springfield an incredible backdrop for an entertaining gameplay experience. If there's one knock against it that keeps it from being a truly superb experience, though, it's that the game just isn't quite as polished as it could have been. One of the less-frequent, but still quite notable, issues in the game is that occasionally bugs pop up that break missions. Occasionally, AI-controlled cars find themselves in stuck situations where they are absolutely unable to get to the required destinations in the allotted time. For example, in one instance, a CPU car actually drove off a cliff, and the game respawned the car in a spot where it could not feasibly get back on the highway. Thankfully, the game lets you restart missions at any time by simply selecting the restart option from the pause menu (another feature that, actually, would have been really nice to have in the GTA series). You always start right back at the beginning point of the mission, without having to drive all the way back to the starting point, so this issue is relegated to a periodic nuisance rather than a serious problem.
The bulk of the game's polish issues lie in its graphics--primarily in the game's somewhat sloppy camera system. When you're driving around, Hit & Run's camera actually works just fine in all three available camera views. However, when you're walking around town, the camera has a pretty heavy tendency to bug out at random. This is especially prevalent in any situation where you get too close to a building or find yourself near any piece of scenery that could possibly get in the way of the camera's set path. You can move the camera with the right analog stick, but in some situations it simply can't be moved to a better angle. Hit & Run is also not immune to some basic frame rate problems, especially when you're driving a heavily damaged car, as the smoke effects used to denote car damage pretty much wreck the frame rate to a fairly significant degree. Clipping is also a problem in many areas--especially any time you get too close to a destructible object.
- Player Reviews: 62
- Game Universe:
- The Simpsons: Hit & Run (PC, PS2, XBOX, GC),
- The Simpsons: Road Rage (XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA),
- The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (PC, GEN, GG, NES, SMS, ZX, ST),
- Virtual Bart (GEN, SNES),
- The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare (GEN, SNES),
- The Simpsons Game (X360, PS3, PS2, WII, DS, PSP),
- The Simpsons Skateboarding (PS2),
- The Simpsons Wrestling (PS),
- The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror (GBC),
- The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield (PC, MAC)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: