on 21 May 2007
I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but I know pretty much everything about the Simpsons. I've probably seen every episode there is to see. And I tell you what - the producers of this game have done a heck of a lot of research.
Every single episode you can think of, there is some relation to it in the game. Whether it be the solid gold house, the broken down monorail, Herman's Military Antique Shop...it's all there. This makes the game incredible in itself. As a hardcore Simpsons fan, I found most enjoyable about this game exploring each level, admiring the sheer detail of Springfield. The levels are designed so intelligently.
Often when I watched the Simpsons, sad as it may be, I imagined how fantastic it would be to live there. To drive the streets, explore the town and to meet the hundreds of different people. Well, when I got this game, it wasn't a matter of imagination - it was reality. First hand experience of wonderful Springfield.
Onto the missions. These let the game down, unfortunately. They are SO REPETITIVE! There is literally about 5 different types of mission, and there are 50 main missions on the game. And the missions are rarely explained well. For example, most of the time (particularly towards the later levels), there is a time limit for each level. Why? Don't ask me - they don't tell you. They just shove on a time limit for the hell of it. And it always involves chasing some other car, or collecting something falling out of the back of a car. It gets so tedious. Furthermore, the difficulty level is pretty awful. Considering young(ish) kids will be playing this game, it is a disgrace how hard some of the missions are. They require near, if not total, perfection. One mistake, and you may as well end the mission. What makes it worse is that on every mission, cars on the road randomly drive into you, so you run out of time, or lose the vehicle you are chasing. There is no explanation of this either. And it happens ALL THE TIME! Equally as bad is the fact that some missions are really long, and contain many different sub-tasks. If you fail one sub-task, the whole mission is over, so you have to go back to the start. So that wastes 10 minutes of your time, then you fail again and have to start over. So prepare to break a few controllers - because this is the most frustrating game I have ever played.
However, the best thing about missions on this game is the ability to SKIP. I am surprised GTA haven't come up with this option yet. If you are struggling with a mission (i.e. fail it 5 times), you get the option to skip the mission the next time you fail it. So you can move on with the story. So much better than GTA, where if you can't do a mission, you can't progress. What a great feature the SKIP option is.
Another great thing about this game is the character voice acting. All the originals are there, and there are loads of different characters all over Springfield. Think of one? They're in the game, no doubt.
One of the most impressive things with the game is the interactivity. There are loads of objects that you can use the action button with, which provokes some sort of response from that item. It is very detailed in this aspect.
The cars - well they're alright. Very generic, some of them, but there are some really good inclusions too, from a variety of episodes. Like the Homer Car (the one he builds in the episode with his brother). That has got a terrific hooter, which made me laugh a lot the first time I heard it. The way the characters walk is funny too. Homer walking in an unlockable muumuu outfit - priceless comedy. The character likeness to the original show is second to none.
So to summarise, The Simpsons Hit and Run is the perfect video-game for diehard Simpsons fans. It may be insanely frustrating, but the detail, interactivity and hilarity of this game makes the player feel as if they are experiencing Springfield first hand - an experience I for one have pined for for a very long time.