Reviews: The Simpsons Hit And Run

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The Simpsons: Hit & Run
So this troper went back to play through one of his favourite childhood games recently (after first removing an insane amount of dust from my PS2). Is it still fun today?

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is based on a simple formula: Grand Theft Auto III gameplay (only with more emphasis on driving), Simpsons humour. The idea of making an open-world Simpsons game is inspired, because there is no comedy series out there with a more fleshed-out world than the Simpsons. As such, levels are littered with little details that will delight show obsessives but equally amuse those who are not such anoraks.

There are seven levels, each taking place in a different world. Sadly, by the time you get to level four the world is copied from level one again, but even this is somewhat useful as later missions often require an excellent knowledge of all the shortcuts the world has to offer, so having driven around each world a lot is very useful. The worlds have a decent amount of secrets, but there is not really much of an incentive for tracking the secrets down. Still, especially in later worlds I was glad of a break from often brutally difficult missions, to do something easy and relaxing.

A central mechanic is the Hit & Run meter, again ripped right from Grand Theft Auto: you get coins for destroying overworld objects (bins, fire hydrants, even other traffic), but doing so fills your meter. If it fills right up, the police start giving chase, and will fine you coins if they catch you. It's not much of a fine, admittedly, but still, escaping the police is so fun that it's quite tempting to go into Hit & Run on purpose.

Driving mechanics are relatively simple, though it's all too easy to send your car spinning out of control, and the driving style is very arcade-like. There's a decent variety of cars available, again referencing every car that has ever been in the Simpsons, and the cars are sufficiently varied that you want to try different vehicles out.

Unfortunately, this game is riddled with technical issues - glitches, strange driver AI from traffic, and worst of all a broken camera system, which isn't great whilst driving but is particularly bad when on foot.

Overall though, the positives outweigh the negatives. The game succeeds in terms of both theming and gameplay, and while it does have issues the whole experience is so fun they are easy to forgive.
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