Gamer’s Review: The Simpsons: Hit and Run

“The Simpsons: Hit and Run” was officially released in 2003 (same year Jak II came out) on PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube & Xbox. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and gamers alike. Plus, the game sold enough copies worldwide. There are two reasons why I wanna share my thoughts on this game. First, James L. Brooks the co-producer of “The Simpsons,” has produced a film adaptation of the book, “Are you There God?” “It’s Me Margaret.” Starring Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Benny Safdie and newcomer, Abby Ryder Fortson. Second, a rumor speculates online that a remake of The Simpsons: Hit and Run might happen. When I was a kid, I used to watch The Simpsons and played Hit and Run all the time. I also played other games “Road Rage” and the critically panned “Skateboard.”

This review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler article.

Smart & Dumb Qualities

Smart: Voice Actors from the show such as Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer & Tress MacNeille reprises their roles. They all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.

Gameplay/Mechanics are heavily influenced by the “Grand Theft Auto” series. Presented as an open-world third-person shooter, you play as Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa & Apu. Each one factors a certain level tied to a conspiracy involving surveillance, a mind control drink, aliens (guess who) and robots resembling wasps.

  • You traverse on foot and vehicle exploring three sections of Springfield. Evergreen Terrace, Downtown and the Dock.
  • Even though you can’t buy a gun like Homer did in “The Cartridge Family,” you can deliver melee attacks. A normal kick, a jump kick and a ground smash.
  • Earn coins by smashing boxes, vending machines and destroying robot wasps. Spend your coins on outfits and vehicles.
  • If you wish to select a car, you can find the nearest phone booth.
  • Collecting a card contains an Easter Egg based on a particular episode. For instance, Bart cuts off the statue of Jebediah Springfield in “The Telltale Head.”
  • Missions never felt repetitive. Race to your destination to beat the clock or driver, grab items before time runs out an a destroy a car. Which is the closest thing to a boss fight.
  • If you find all card from an entire level, you unlock a mini-racing game. If you find a hidden Itchy and Scratchy Card in all levels, you unlock a cartoon featuring the duo. At least Maggie didn’t reenact them like she knocked out Homer with a mallet in “Itchy, Scratchy and Marge.”
  • A wanted system included. If you hit pedestrians, blow up cars, or cause property damage, the cops will chase you. If they catch you, you’ll be forced to pay a fine.
  • Unlike GTA, you can’t die, but you’ll lose coins. To quote “George of the Jungle.” “Don’t worry nobody dies in this story, they just get really big boo boos.”

The game retains the show’s sense of humor containing visual gags, surrealism and pop culture references.

Graphics at the time brought the show to life. They still hold up for a game released in 2003. Even the Cutscenes look impressive.

2003 was a trend for characters prone to getting angry. Besides Homer, many hotheads were featured in movies/shows/video games like David Buznik from “Anger Management,” Eric Bana’s “Hulk,” Stitch in “Stitch The Movie,” Raven from the original “Teen Titans,” Yusuke from “Yu Yu Hakusho,” Wolverine in “X2: X-Men United,” “Jak in “Jak II,” Willie from “Bad Santa,” Raphael in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003,” Tasmanian Devil, Marvin The Martian and Yosemite Sam in “Looney Tunes: Back In Action,” Goku and Vegeta in “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2” & Gimil in “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.” That’s enough to fill in a group therapy.

Series Creator, Matt Groening and his writing staff consulted with the game developers in order to reflect the show’s atmosphere like the jokes and soundtrack.

If you adjust the settings to a holiday like changing it to Halloween or Christmas, the main menu matches the exact same date. Gotta love small details. You can tell that the writers and game developers are passionate.

To put the icing on the cake, you can enable or disable cheat codes. Look ’em up and experiment on each one.

Dumb: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving the game developers an Extra Point for making a flawless game as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

The Simpsons: Hit and Run is arguably the best game based on the show. It still holds up. If you wanna relive the fun memories, it’s definitely a must-play for gamers and Simpsons fans. I hope a remake of Hit and Run comes true.

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