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The Simpsons: Hit and Run
Published by: Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by: Radical Entertainment
ESRB Rating: T for Violence, Mild Language, Comic Mischief
For: Nintendo Gamecube, PS2, Xbox
Version reviewed: Gamecube

Critics slaughtered the previous Simpsons? game, Road Rage. Claiming it had horrible graphics, bad play mechanics, and basically was a shameless Crazy Taxi clone, they made fun of it left and right, not really caring if the audience may actually like it, shock of all shocks. I liked it, personally. My friends liked it. And it was fun to play in groups. Really fun. Despite their hatred for a blatant Crazy Taxi-rip off, most of the critics absolutely love Hit and Run, a more family friendly version of the merciless Grand Theft Auto. But don?t let that make you say, ?No way am I playing this.? No, this game actually has some respectability, and there isn?t the rampant sexuality and profanity found in all the GTA games that have come before Hit and Run. In fact, this game has more in common with Driver 2 than GTA. And, no, grand theft auto is not part of the package.

Graphics

One thing I can never understand about Simpsons? games, especially on next-gen systems is why no cel-shading? The show is a cartoon. Why go with the realistic graphics? Why can?t the developers make it like we are in the show as a cast member? Despite this little problem, the game actually sticks to its? irreverant roots, with mockeries from old persons? senility to the medical system in general, even about Hinduism. Yet there is nothing totally offensive about the game. The graphics shine, with accurate representations of the show?s characters, and gorgeous cut scenes, even if the actual in-game graphics aren?t the best to grace a gaming console. Despite this, the graphics have a consistent and unique look to them, but I can?t figure out why they didn?t choose cel-shading, or toon shading, for this game. It seems to me that it would be more accurate to the show?s roots to have a cel-shaded graphics engine, instead of a completely 3D engine.

Gameplay

As is the case for the majority of games, gameplay is the star of the show here, with such features as driving, jumping, coin collecting, evil bee smashing, and monkey collecting. Yes, I said monkey collecting. While the game has been praised for its excellent cars and driving, in which everything handles differently, it has been criticized for having bad camera angles galore in the third person areas, and this, for the most part, is not even close to the truth. The camera angles, while occasionally sporadic and frankly not good in such cases as climbing stairs, is used to good effect, and with the added bonus of a completely free roaming camera, meaning that you can adjust the camera angle, nothing can go wrong, right? Well?right?for the most part? You see, aside from the camera angle, some aspects of the game are so difficult and/or frustrating that you might, at some point, be screaming ?THIS GAME STINKS!.? yet then have a sudden change of heart because the game is, well, so endearing, I suppose. Perhaps the most frustrating part of the game are the optional races that allow you to unlock cars. Usually, you race such fast cars that it is unreal, but in those rare moments where the cars are not so difficult, it still takes multiple tries to beat the race. And it still means that you have to beat each of the races in each level to unlock that level?s car. Not worth it, I?m afraid.

Sound

The sound is excellent. It has the actual voice actors from the show, plus the show?s composer did the music. Each character has its own theme song, as well. Apu?s music, for instance, is a strange hybrid mix of electric guitars, as well as Indian-style music. So, it is very well done, without providing too much explanation.

Control

Pretty good. Here are the controls, at least for the Gamecube. The Xbox controls will probably be very similar, but I have no idea about the PS2?s controls. A = Acclerate/Jump B = Brake/Attack Y = E- Brake X = Action Button (This entails everything from opening doors to talking, to making the secret pranks appear on a level.) That?s pretty much it. Very simple, very context sensitive, yet still very intuitive.

Appropriateness

Unlike the last Simpsons? game, there is no sexual innuendo or double entrende. There is some bad language, and the Lord?s Name is taken in vain once in a while, but other than that, there is nothing bad. Violence is basically unheard of, because of the game?s combat system, which is very primitive, but still quite functional. It?s kind of refreshing to see a game with no blood and/or gore. Maybe games can stay like this. It works because it?s still fun. Really fun.

Graphics B- Gameplay A- Sound A Control A+ Appropriateness C+

Overall 70%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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