The Simpsons: Hit and Run
Strategy Guide: LB Strategy Guide
Lunabean Rating: 8.9
Platforms: PS2, GCN, Xbox*, PC
Release Date: 09.17.03
ESRB Rating: T - Teen
Official Site: The Simpsons: Hit and Run
Purchase Game from Amazon.com: PS2, GCN, XBox, PC
LB's Ad-Free and Printer-Friendly "The Simpsons: Hit and Run" Walkthrough: Only $4.95
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Online Play: No
*Designates which platform we played in creating the guide
The Simpsons: Hit and Run is a fan's ultimate game. Not only do you get to drive classic Simpsons vehicles like the Canyonero, The Honor Roller, and the Plow King, but you can actually exit your car (ala Grand Theft Auto) and explore a "ginormous" digitally rendered Springfield. You get to play as one of five Simpsons characters (Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Apu) on a wildly wacky and entertaining adventure to figure out what the heck is going on in Springfield. Along the way you'll be able to explore famous Springfield landmarks such as the Simpsons' House, Monty Burns' Mansion, the Power Plant, Moe's, Springfield Elementary, the Kwik-E-Mart, the Tomacco Fields, and list goes on. You'll also run into many familiar faces as almost every Simpsons character that you could think of is in the game, all voiced by the usual Simpson's TV actors.
As you begin the game you are told that there have been some strange happenings and goings on in Springfield. These include cyber-bees with cameras, strange black vans, and Bart talking in gibberish. As you progress through each of the seven levels (each with 7 main missions, 1 bonus mission, and a few bonus races) you unravel a diabolical plot against mankind...I won't ruin anything by saying more.
Game play is very similar to The Getaway with a large spoonful of Grand Theft Auto . Most of the missions are driving based. You'll be asked to drive to "x" location and talk to "x" character and then you'll be given a task. Sometimes the task is to outrun an opponent. Sometimes it's to collect certain items in a set amount of time. Sometimes it's just a good old race. The missions were relatively easy at first allowing you to get a good feel for the game. As it progresses, however, the missions definitely become more challenging. And, I don't even want to talk about that last mission.
Because the majority of Hit and Run is driving based you'd expect there to be lots of car choices...and there are! Yep, from Homer's pink Family Sedan to Apu's Roadster to Otto's School Bus to Milhouse's Honor Roller there are plenty of great Simpsons cars from which to choose. Although some missions require you to use a specific car, more often than not you are free to jump into any car that is around or use the handy Phone Booths which allow you to choose any car that you own. For example, when doing ramming missions I really like to use Mr. Plow so I just go to a Phone Booth and, presto, Mr. Plow is sitting right next to me.
With all of this driving and car switching you'd want a really big world to explore. Well, my friend, I'll tell you, Springfield is huge. Everything is there in all of it's sarcastic edificial glory: The Springfield Damn, the docks, Springfield Stadium (with the Duff Blimp above), Monty Burns' mansion, the Kwik-E-Mart, the Stone Cutters' tunnel, Moe's, the Observatory, the Try-n-Save, and that's just places. Lining every road are detailed billboards and signs. Things such as, "The Matlock Expressway," "Don't Eat Beef. Eat Deer," and, "Ham Ahoy." 3D Springfield is really quite amazing and you could spend hours just driving around town without doing a single mission and never be at a loss for something to look at or somewhere to go.
Despite the fact that most of this game is played while in your car there is a healthy minority that is not. For example if you need to collect money to buy a new car or outfit you can exit your car and run around on foot looking for Buzz Cola machines to kick. There are also many buildings that you can jump up onto like the top of the Kwik-E-Mart which you may remember Apu turned into a rooftop garden. Well, it's there and is a good place to collect a few coins. There are also a few missions which require you to be out of the car such as destroying power couplings in the power plant or collecting certain items. This entails classic platform jumping puzzles and activating switches. But, most importantly, you are free to run around Springfield exploring every nook and cranny. For a Simpsons fan this is paradise.
So, what if you're not a Simpsons fan? Well, even if this game starred roaches and ants in dung-mobiles you still have a great game here. It's entertaining and challenging and will keep you occupied for hours. Add in the voices and familiar settings and you have yourself a classic. Buy two of this game. One to play and one to keep sealed so that you can pass it down to future generations so that they know how good we had it.
PS - Halloween Springfield is awesome!