The Simpsons Hit & Run PlayStation 2
by Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by Radical Entertainment
Released: Out Now
The Simpsons has been a phenomenal cartoon for well over a decade now. There have been many attempts to make a game based on the world's most dysfunctional family but previous attempts have produced games that were as flat as a pancake. Finally though we have a good one and one that most Simpsons fans are going to want to own. The Simpsons Hit & Run has been released on PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube but this review will look at the PlayStation 2 version.
Imagine a cross between The Simpsons, Crazy Taxi and Grand Theft Auto 3 and you'd probably have a good idea of what the The Simpsons Hit & Run is all about. Throughout the game you will control Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Apu. Each character has just over half a dozen missions but there are plenty of of additional objectives to complete too. A lot of the games missions, which include delivering items and collecting various objects, are timed and more often than not you'll be driving around the place too. You car can take damage but fortunately if you find and drive into the spanner icons your vehicle will be repaired. You'll also have to collect coins whenever possible as these allow you to buy new vehicles and some of these are essential to completing the missions. The thing I would say against the game is that in places it can get repetitive and some missions are too easy but this does make it more accessible to those who don't usually play such games.
Graphically this is smack on and looks exactly like what a game based on The Simpsons should look like. Radical Entertainment have really made every effort to make this game feel like the Simpsons and it's brilliant to see all the characters and building such as the Kwik-E-Mart. Even Barney Gumble's Plow King vehicle his here and can be driven. You'll even have poor old Gil trying to sell you any old banger that he can get his hands on. All of the characters are instantly recognisable and look correctly proportioned. Springfield itself look a little different but for the most part it's fairly convincing. The Kwik-E-Mart, the power plant and the Simpsons' home are all present and correct and look great. The framerate can dip a little but it doesn't affect the gameplay in the slightest so there isn't any real problem. What is a little disappointing though is that you cannot explore as fully as you'd like at times. You can't explore the Simpsons home for instance or wonder round the Kwik-E-Mart. This doesn't affect the gameplay but it would have been nice to do such things.
In many ways Hit & Run is the best Simpsons game to date but unfortunately for deaf gamers it's not perfect. Your objectives are given in text but little else is and the comical quips that the characters make and the conversations that they have are not subtitled. The cutscenes are not subtitled either but these are not important to the gameplay. As a result it appears a santised version for deaf gamers and this is a shame. You'll still be able to enjoy the game but you'll miss out on the full Simpsons flavour that this game offers. Important locations and pick-ups are signified by the use of icons etc. so there are no problems in carrying out objectives but it's a shame that so much of the dialogue is not subtitled.
If you're a Simpsons fanatic then you are probably going to really enjoy Hit & Run. Without a shadow of a doubt it's the best Simpsons game to date and whilst it can be a little easy at times it is certainly enjoyable. The game itself is a successful mix of popular games and works well with the Simpsons theme. In fact it could quite easily be turned into a series because it has potential. The lack of subtitles is a problem though and turns a great game into simply a good one.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
The best Simpsons game to date by a long way. However the lack of subtitles does spoil the experience somewhat.
Deaf gamers don't get the full flavour of the game thanks to the lack of subtitles but thankfully all the objectives are shown in text so it is possible to play and get some enjoyment from the game.