Video Game: The Simpsons: Hit & Run

Bart Simpson: Quick! To the Fatmobile! Muh heh heh ha ha!
Comic Book Guy: Yes I suppose, but must we call it that?

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is a 2003 Wide Open Sandbox game in the vein of the Grand Theft Auto series, but with less firepower and more kicking. Five characters from the series are played in the seven chapter long story mode (In order: Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge, Apu, Bart and then Homer), which initially starts off with Homer's antics on his way to work, but shifts into a conspiracy involving the kidnapping of Bart, strange floating wasp cameras, and a strange new brand of cola. And it gets even stranger from there...

A game notably filled to the brim with references to past episodes and the vehicles contained within, the creators of this game sure did their homework on The Simpsons. The sheer amount of Continuity Porn and Easter Eggs could fill a page in of itself, including an entire section devoted to the Halloween "Treehouse of Horror" episodes. If a vehicle appeared on the show when this game was put into production, it was in this game.

Commonly regarded as one of the best Simpsons tie in games, it's still enjoyed by the fandom to this day, making it a licensed game that does not suck!

This video game contains examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: Your character will dive out of a car that is about to explode.
  • Acrofatic: Homer and Apu (to a lesser extent), like the other playable characters, can do double jumps and run indefinitely. They'll complain about the workout, but that's it.
  • Action Mom: Marge
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Vehicles and outfits get more and more expensive each level, but the amount of coins you find in those levels do not. Even if you never get caught by the cops and get all the coin boxes and secrets, your cash will start to run low about halfway through the game, sooner if you stop to buy all the available cars. Fortunately, you can just go back to the first level and rampage for coins, where the wanted meter is very forgiving.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • Comic Book Guy's Kremlin, which is a slovenly piece of junk filled with empty pizza boxes, comics, and other nerd crap.
    • Moe's Sedan.
    • If you destroy your vehicle, you can drive the chassis, rather hilariously. Drive it into a repair icon to avoid having to pay the repair fees.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Krusty essentially says this about Bart's warning about the aliens planning to instigate a mass riot with laser guns via Buzz Cola.
    Bart: Krusty, listen carefully, aliens are handing out free laser guns and cola that makes you go crazy. It'll be a massacre, the streets will be littered with lasered-off limbs and heads.
    Krusty: Yeah, right, and I'm getting into the Country Western Hall of Fame. It just ain't gonna happen, kid.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Fail a mission five times and the game allows you to skip it, except for the final mission.
    • Typically, some of the best music in the game plays during some of the most frustrating missions. 'Never Trust A Snake' is a good example.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Snake was taken prisoner when Wiggum could prove that he committed three crimes. Strike 1: counterfeit designer jeans, the foulest of all crimes. Strike 2: running over an elderly person without a license. And strike 3: littering.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: The rocket car in Level 1 is extremely fast... but is barely controllable and is extremely fragile. You'll total it in one hit.
  • Back Seats are Just for Show: The Player Characters that hop into a car take the passenger's seat - even with the Car Built for Homer, which has a giant seat in the back. Averted in at least on mission where Lisa has to help Skinner run errands, Lisa hops in the passenger seat and his mother is sitting in the back.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Crosses over with The Battle Didn't Count by the end of the sixth level. Even after destroying the dangerous stands and beating the aliens to the Duff Brewery, Kang and Kodos still manage to escape, taunting Homer and Bart over the success of their plans, in which the living dead will ultimately overrun Springfield.
  • Big Bad: Kang and Kodos
  • Big "NO!": Kang finding out he has to share heaven with the credits.
    • One of Bart's quotes when he falls into a Bottomless Pit is one of these that continues for a second after you reappear.
      Bart: Nooooooooooooooo... [takes a breath in] Oooooooo!
    • Also what Homer might say when he fails a mission.
  • Big Word Shout: Comic Book Guy will scream "KHAAAN!" during jumps.
  • Book Ends:
    • Every "map" gets at least 2 levels. Level 7 is the same map as Levels 1 and 4 except with a Halloween makeover and a Broken Bridge, that prevents access to Mr. Burns' Mansion and the Stonecutters' tunnel.note 
    • Both the first and last levels are played as Homer.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The Spinning Paper for Level 1 headlines Homer ruining a hot dog-eating contest. In the ending, Homer initially thinks his actions in saving Springfield from Kang and Kodos were all part of a bad dream from eating too many raw hot dogs.
    • In Level 1, Homer helps Marge gather up copies of "Bonestorm 2" to protect people from the game's violence. Level 2 includes Bart trying to find a copy of the game and Jimbo saying "some crazy lady destroyed all the rest."
    • In the fifth mission of Level 2, Bart helps Cletus gather roadkill to deliver to Krusty Burger, then you have to avoid Apu who doesn't appreciate in the competition. Then in the third mission of Level 3, Lisa helps Apu ram Cletus's truck and gather up the roadkill he drops.
  • Camera Screw: Some locations force the camera in a specific direction, even if it will mess up a jump. First example is the Duff truck near the Kwik-E-Mart — jump with the camera pointing towards the front of the truck and it turns to the side as soon as you hit the steam vent.
  • Cassandra Truth: Trying to find Bart, Lisa asks everyone about him. Prof. Frink tells her that Bart helped him to build the Truck-saurus, and then vanished in a bright light. Lisa dismisses it as pure nonsense.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Apu: We have got to prevent the aliens from distributing laser guns into the hands of cola drunk townspeople.
    Bart: Why? That sounds hilarious! I'd watch that show!
    Apu: (Face Palm) Tell you what, you're a bad little boy.
  • Competitive Balance: Naturally, no one car is the answer to everything; balanced between Speed, Acceleration, Toughness, and Handling means that some cars are very fast but can't take a hit, are very fast but handle poorly, are fast and tough but slow to accelerate, etc. Mr. Burns' limo (driven by Waylon Smithers in Levels 2 and 4-7) comes the closest to being universally viable, but it isn't available until near the end of the game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Simply put, the computer can drive any car faster than you can, better than you can, and is magically much heavier than the same car is under your control.
  • Continuity Porn: That is putting it gently. The game could be called "The Simpsons; We Cram As Many Jokes From The Show In As Possible."
    • Never mind cars featured prominently in the show like Moe's Sedan or Snake's Lil Bandit, one-off cars like the Book-Burning Mobile and the car Bart drives in "Burns' Heir" appear for your driving pleasure.
    • Virtually any location featured in the show appears. You want to visit Kamp Krusty, Burns' Casino, Channel Six, Krusty Burger, the Screaming Monkey Research Lab. You can even visit the wreck of the Monorail, and the engine is drive-able as a vehicle to boot.
    • Naturally, characters constantly quote the show, both the iconic lines and the ones you'd have to be an obsessive fan to recognize.
    • Characters wear costumes and outfits from across the series, such as Homer dressing as The One of the Stonecutters, Bart donning his "tall" outfit from when he auditioned to be Fallout Boy, and Lisa getting her "Floreda" costume Homer made for her.
    • The gags found in each level include "El Barto" graffito, dropping a crate of hot pants into the ocean, watching Maggie be drowned in balls in a ball crawl, finding Rodd and Todd in Flanders' bomb shelter, and setting off the fire-breathing tiki statue in the Simpsons' backyard.
    • The side cast is sprinkled throughout the game; Patty and Selma Bouvier, Carl Carlson, Professor Frink, Comic Book Guy, Barney Gumble, Gil Gunderson, Dr. Julius Hibbert, Krusty the Clown, Lenny Leonard, Otto Mann, Dr. Nick Riviera, the Squeaky-Voiced Teen, Moe Szyslak, the Sea Captain, Principal Skinner, Cletus Spuckler, Snake, Chief Wiggum, and Groundskeeper Willie are all there and fully voiced with the show's cast.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Kang and Kodos' heavenly punishment for being behind the evil plot? Sit through the credits.
  • Cool Car: The Car Built for Homer, Homer's 70's sports car, a Rocket Car, an Indy 500 car, Bart's Honor Roller, Apu's GODDAMNED MONSTER TRUCK, Lisa's sports boat... WITH WHEELS!, Frink's semi-invisible hover car, a driveable RC Car, the Globex Super Villain Car owned by Hank Scorpio, The Plow King... really, it'd be hard not to list every car in the game for their own reasons.
  • Credits Gag: See MST.
  • Crop Circles: Which match the design on *GASP* Buzz Cola. Or Bart. Depends on the level.
  • Critical Existence Failure: See Every Car Is a Pinto.
  • Cut Song: There is quite a bit of unused music and audio cues in the game files. Of note is that some of it implies that the Burn's Mansion area was to be accessible in Level 7. A 'failure' version of the There's Something About Monty music also exists, even though you cannot fail the part where it plays as it lacks a time limit.
  • Day In The Life: Most of Level 1 and all of Level 2 have little to no bearing on the alien plot, but instead focus on the misadventures of Homer and Bart, respectively.
  • Dead Character Walking: You can drive a wrecked chassis if your car explodes. Not surprisingly, It's VERY slow, but if you drive it into a repair item, it'll be as good as new.
  • Destructive Saviour: Thanks to the poor handling of some cars and the loads of destructible scenery, the Simpsons will be this at one point or another. This trope is so prevalent it was actually advertised as a selling point of the game.
    Save Springfield. By car. By foot. By the seat of your pants.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you hack the game or use an action replay or some such device to play as characters on levels where you're not supposed to, you'll find that some playable characters have lines that can't be heard in normal gameplay. For example, all five playable characters have lines for destroying power conduits, even though you can only destroy power conduits in one mission in the entire game (Blind Big Brother), and said mission can only be played as Homer.
    Lisa: Anti-social behavior is fun!
  • Double Jump: Some walking sections require using this, while other sections didn't expect a double-jump (or other tactic) could be used to bypass the platform puzzle.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the sixth mission of Level 1, you have to destroy all the copies of "Bonestorm 2". Early in Level 2, Bart tries to get the game.
    Jimbo: Too late losers, I got the last game; 4-finger discount! [laughs] Some crazy lady [Marge] destroyed all the rest.
  • Dummied Out: An Ice Cream Truck exists in the game. The only way to drive it without hacking the game, however, is to achieve 100% completion and then use a special cheat code to call up otherwise-unobtainable vehicles from phone booths. It's uncertain whether the Ice Cream Truck was going to serve a purpose in the game, or if it's just an Easter Egg. It's worth noting that the truck has a Marge-shaped Ice Cream Cone atop it.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The date on the Spinning Papers that accompany the loading screens are always one day later than the last, suggesting the game takes place over a single week (with the final level, appropriately enough, on October 31st). Not as short as some examples, but still fairly short. Though if it weren't for these, then the entire game would appear to take place across a single day, as the first level starts around midday with the following levels gradually transitioning to night. A few more hints at the short timespan exist, such as the burning building in level 2 being reduced to rubble in level 5, with the same fire trucks still attending it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even hardened criminals like Snake can genuinely take offense to threatened profanity and "bird-flipping".
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Every vehicle in the game explodes when it's taken too much damage. Even the RC car. Then again, this is not exactly out of place in the Simpsons world.
  • Evil Laugh: Lisa of all people breaks out a nice one sometimes after she's driven through and/or destroyed something.
  • Face Palm: Apu does this when Bart doesn't see the need to stop Kang and Kodos giving cola-maddened citizens laser guns.
  • Filler: Aside from explaining how Bart is kidnapped, level 2 is an entire waste of time in terms of plot. Bart spends the first three missions trying to get his hands on a copy of the "Bonestorm 2" video game, then suddenly shifts gears to helping Professor Frink build a Truckasaurus.
  • Fragile Speedster: Many cars are very fast, but don't take hits well.
    • In Level 1, you can find a rocket car which goes so fast you can hit the invisible border around the stage making a ramp jump, but it handles poorly and is quickly destroyed.
    • In Level 7, you can get the Open-Wheel Race Car, which has 5 in Speed, Acceleration, and Handling, but only a 1 in Toughness. It has the handling to avoid hitting things that often, and it needs it.
  • Freudian Excuse: One of Homer's excuses for kicking people. "An older boy told me to do it."
  • Flying Saucer: The three final missions have you loading barrels of toxic waste into one.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There's a lot of stuff to collect in this game - collector cards, wasp cameras, gags, vehicles and clothing, in addition to completing all the story missions, bonus missions and races.
  • Ground Pound: Attack while doing a Double Jump.
  • Halloween Episode: In true "Treehouse of Horror" style, an entire section of the game revolves around a now Halloween themed Springfield, complete with Beetlejuice-esque music, haunted vehicles, horror themed buildings (Springfield Elementary becomes a castle-like "School For Magic") and of course Halloween costumes.
  • Hero Insurance: When Homer runs into something or someone, he may randomly blurt out "I have no insurance!"
  • Holiday Mode: For Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween (only the menu is changed, though).
  • Hummer Dinger: Marge can drive the Canyonero.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • Comic Book Guy is guilty of this after Lisa helps him in the first mission of Level 3.
    CBG: Videogames, what a waste of money. Now to go online and bid $1,000 on Itchy & Scratchy corn-cob holders! A terrific, terrific expense.
    • Homer does the same thing when wrecking something with the vehicle he is in.
    Homer: Tck tck tck. Reckless driving is my pet peeve.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Said by Milhouse at the beginning of the first mission in Level 2.
    Bart: I've gotta get the new Bonestorm game or I'll be as uncool as Milhouse!
    Milhouse: I'm standing right here, Bart.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: You run them over, but they don't die.
  • J'accuse!!... sir.
  • Joke Item: the monorail in level 2 is hilariously slow, almost as slow as a wrecked car but with significantly worse steering.
  • Killed Off for Real: Kang and Kodos. Professor Frink, Snake, and Grandpa Abe may have died as well, as it's not explicitly stated whether they got out of the car before their car was destroyed by the tractor beam. Kent Brockman is also devoured by zombies on TV at the start of the first mission in Level 7.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Buzz Cola. Kang And Kodos tailored it to send humans crazy upon consuming it, and thus get good material for Foolish Earthlings.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Referenced in one of Homer's quotes, usually when his vehicle is destroyed or he's busted by the cops, "Lousy karmic retribution!"
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: The Trope Namer itself has Louie running wager races. It's actual location is around the same area as Moe's Tavern in Levels 2 and 5.
  • Leitmotif: Several characters have their own themes. For example, Chief Wiggum has one reminiscent of '70s cop shows, Apu has several Indian-sounding themes, and Professor Frink has a theme reminiscent of Danny Elfman's compositions. The music for Homer mostly consists of low brass instruments and bass heavy riffs. Most of Bart's music is guitar rock, and most of Lisa's is jazzy saxophone numbers.
  • Lemming Cops: The cop cars that show up when you fill out the Wanted Meter explode at the slightest provocation, often simply for failing to hit you on the first past. More show up to replace them.
  • Lighter and Softer: It's Grand Theft Auto if it were a cartoon. You can run over people, but they can't die. You can take any car you want, but you're just hitchhiking, not stealing them. You can piss off the police, but all you get is a small fine (you have no weapons for the cops to confiscate).
  • Lightning Bruiser: Mr. Burns' limo, which is second to none in all-around stats at 4 / 4.5 / 3 / 4.5. Its only shortcoming is its mediocre toughness, but it can still take hits better than some of the faster cars. Not far behind is Snake's Lil Bandit, at 4.5 / 4 / 2 / 4.5, which is much easier to total.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Most songs are longer than their missions normally take, but the music at the start of the seventh mission in Level 1 called "The Fat and the Furious" changes to another track when you get in your car, which means most only hear the first few seconds of it. If you restart the mission, it will start you in your car, meaning the music doesn't change until it's played through once.
  • Loophole Abuse: Certain missions in the game require you to either obtain a certain vehicle or change the character's clothes in order to continue. However, once you do just that, there is nothing that can stop you from picking the vehicle or character's clothing of your choice before starting.
    • In some missions the timer doesn't start until you get into your vehicle... which means there's nothing stopping you from driving to the next checkpoint, walking back to talk to the NPC at the previous checkpoint, and then walking to your destination without having to worry about the timer.
  • Luck-Based Mission: A fairly minor example, but still many missions have significant luck to them. For example, race missions are made much easier if your opponent crashes. The most significant example is probably the bonus mission in level 5, where you have to destroy a robotic car that is out of control. It's really hard to even catch up to it, let alone damage it, but sometimes it will just crash and destroy itself.
  • May Contain Evil: The new Buzz Cola. However, Krusty mentions that this one doesn't contain any poisons.note 
  • Medium Awareness:
    • While narrating a flashback, Grandpa Abe mentions that it happened so long ago he'll have to describe it in sepia tone.
    • Homer will occasionally shout, "He used a cheat code!" when losing a race, mission, or if rammed by a pursuing cop car.
  • Mighty Glacier: Some of the larger vehicles, like Barney's Plow King truck, are terribly slow but have high health to compensate.
  • Mistaken Confession: When Homer accuses Mr. Burns of being connected to the black vans, Mr. Burns confesses to having Amelia Earhart's plane shot down.
    Mr. Burns: That hussie was getting too big for her jodhpurs.
  • Money Spider: The Wasp Cameras all drop a nice sum of coins when destroyed. In later levels, however, they shoot back and make you lose coins.
  • MST: Kang and Kodos snark at the credits and the staff, right down to the job titles.
  • My Hover Craft Is Full Of Eels: Invoked by Apu as an excuse not to help Bart at the start of Level 6.
    Apu: Up down up down! Go hotdog! Butter my under-shirt! Blablabla!
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Apu's monster truck is called the Obliteratatron.
  • Nintendo Hard: There's a reason for the Mercy Mode listed under Anti-Frustration Features to appear...
  • Not Quite Dead: After a car blows up, you can still drive it. Even though all that's left is the charred, twisted framework and the bent up rims. If you find a Golden Wrench nearby, though, you can restore it to new for free. Otherwise you have to fork over 10 coins to restore any of the vehicles available from the phone booth.
  • 100% Completion: It lets you drive backwards on the bonus courses, and on some consoles, lets you use a special cheat code that enables you to call otherwise-unobtainable cars from phone booths, such as the Milk Truck, and the Black Alien Sports Car. You also get a Krusty-Brand Seal of Approval on the (progress) Scrap Book.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: The police will chase you if you cause too much damage, but even if they manage to catch you all they do is fine you 50 coins.
  • Orphaned Punchline: One is said by Kent Brockman during his newscast as Homer watches TV in level 1.
    Kent: ...leaving the famous bearded cartoon creator incarcerated in a Peruvian jail.
  • Ow, My Body Part!: Many characters have variants of this.
    • Homer will occasionally say "Ow! My neck!", "Ow! My ass!", and "Ow! My head!".
    • Bart goes "Ow, my ovaries!", referencing a line from the show when he was faking being sick. He also says "Ow, my skull. My beautiful skull!" and "OWWW! My coccyx!"
    • Lisa says "Ow, my hair!"
    • Grandpa Abe says "Ow, my metal skull!"
    • Moe sometimes says "Ow, my coccyx!" when being hit by a vehicle in Level 1.
    • Chief Wiggum says "Ow, my tushie!"
  • Potty Emergency: The third mission of Level 5 involves Apu rounding up diapers for the octuplets.
    Apu: Quickly, cover my incontinent children's tushies!
  • Potty Failure: The spinning newspaper at the beginning of Level 4 reports that Bart soiled himself when he was abducted by the aliens.
  • Pro Bono Barter: One of Homer's lines when calling for a different car. "Can you come and get me? I'll pay you in back rubs!"
  • Racing Minigame: There are four in each level, three standard and one wager race. The first three are run by Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph.note  They often don't do a standard countdown. Ralph has to be the funniest. The fourth one is run by Louie.
  • Reference Overdosed: What did you expect from a Simpsons game?
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Destroying the scenery gives coins... and adds to your heat meter.
  • Room Full of Crazy: When driving around Evergreen Terrace during Level 7, a house at the end of the block is covered head-to-toe with scribblings of "NO TV AND NO BEER MAKE HOMER GO CRAZY", a clear reference to the first act of Treehouse of Horror V, in itself a reference to The Shining.
  • Sarcasm Mode: There are two known examples.
    • Milhouse will say a single sentence in this manner every so often when he is kicked by any of the characters in Levels 1-6.note 
      Milhouse: Oh, good. Another bully.
    • When a random adult man is hit by a vehicle, sometimes he will say "Thanks a lot, Mr. Break-My-Legs!"
  • Side Quest: There's one bonus mission in each chapter, which rewards you with a car, plus the collector cards that unlock a bonus movie of Itchy & Scratchy.
  • Sixth Ranger: Apu, the only playable character who's not part of the family.
  • Society Is to Blame: Another of Homer's excuses.
    Homer: I blame society.
  • SpaceX: Space-ratings and space-viewers who watch their SPACE TV about the SPACE REALITY SHOW about EARTH ZOMBIES EATING EACH OTHER, provided by SPACE ALIENS Kang and Kodos.
  • Special Effects Failure: Invoked by Comic Book Guy, in regards to the UFO and its tractor beam. Homer is quick to protest that it is in fact real, but Comic Book Guy sticks to his guns.
  • Spies in a Van: See Van in Black.
  • Spinning Paper: One at the beginning of each level. The one for Level 1, for example, includes this:
  • Spring Jump: Steam vents are an extra powerful jump, and can be combined with a double jump. The vents are necessary in several foot-on quests and sidequests.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Milhouse. The second mission of Level 3 consists of him offering Lisa "leads" on Bart's whereabouts, only to somehow beat her to each destination.
    Lisa: Stop following me!
  • Stone Wall: The Armored Car has 5 in Toughness, making it the most durable vehicle in the game. However, it has a 1.5 in everything else, so it's very slow to move and slow to turn.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Kang: "Well at least we don't have to sit through the stupid videogame credits."
  • This Loser Is You: The characters' various comments after crashing into someone/something ("You're not a very good driver...", "What were you thinking?!", etc.) can be interpreted as Breaking the Fourth Wall and telling the player that they can't drive.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Homer, but lucky for you, he's just extremely stupid in non-lethal situations.
    • Something closer to the trope: Grandpa Abe, who is too senile to bail out of his Military Jeep, rigged with a rocket and nuclear waste, when he and Homer blow up Kang and Kodos' ship.
      Abe: I smell tooooaaaassst!
  • Truman Show Plot: Those robot wasp cameras are filming everyone so Kang and Kodos can turn Springfield into an intergalactic reality show.
    Bart: I knew there was a simple explanation.
  • Van in Black: Except they're only pizza vans.
    Homer: [moaning] Oh, I'm a class-5 idiot!
  • Vent Physics
  • Wanted Meter: Every time you break stuff and abuse civilians this little meter goes up until police cars show up and dash to catch you. Getting caught means a 50 coin fine but you can hide in car-unreachable locations or go into accessible buildings to cool the meter off.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Only the main missions and bonus races can be replayed. Completing bonus missions, collecting cards and floating coins, destroying certain parts of the scenery in each level, and killing camera wasps are permanent.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Level 7 of the game has zombies wandering around due to Kang and Kodos's evil Buzz Cola soda.

Alternative Title(s):

The Simpsons Hit And Run