14 years ago the first ever simpsons episode was broadcast on television and it became an instant success. Since then over 350 episodes have been released and the program has got a huge following. From day 1 of simpsons episodes being released there has been accompanying games but they have always been of a very poor standard. They have had little length or interest and the graphics have been consistently poor. However with the launch of the simpsons movie just around the corner this game looked set to become the fist actually good simpsons game.
On the box the game looks like it will do just that, be the first good simpsons game ever and when you first play it would appear that way. However it doesn’t take too long to start noticing the faults in it. The actual gameplay has some similar elements to GTA in the fact that it is based in 7 stages, each with a few missions. These missions form a basic story line although it isn’t too strong. In addition to the missions players can also just drive around the streets in one of the unlocked cities with a GTA style mini map to help guide them around.
Each different stage is played by a different character to give a strong variety of gameplay. Also each character starts out with their own car. On top of these cars it is also possible to purchase new cars with gold coins that you can collect. For certain missions it can be mandatory that you have a set car for example when you have to destroy Smithers car you need to have the snow plough. In addition to these cars that you can buy, which can be swapped at any time by visiting one of the telephone boxes, you can also ‘borrow’ cars from people on the road. These cars, however, are very slow and are pointless as far as completing missions is concerned.
Driving is not the only method of transport in simpsons hit and run as you are also able to walk and jump around. This includes being able to hitch hike by jumping on top of another car. As an extra customization players are also able to purchase new outfits for their characters for gold coins.
The cartoon style graphics are quite good but the camera angle can be very annoying as it never seems to be pointing in the right direction and it can be very hard to find certain objects due too this. Fixing the camera angle would be one of the priority touch-ups as it seriously damages the gameplay. The basis of the graphics is a cartoon style 3D world. The fact that the game is in 3D seriously improves the graphics to a level that almost betters the TV program itself. Sound effects are used very cleverly throughout the game which adds interest. Also the background music is good and suitable.
However simpsons hot and run is not immune to bugs. I found that the most common bug was with the frame rate which particularly occurs when you are driving a heavily damaged car as the smoke effect used to portray the damage affects the frame rate.
Overall the gameplay is good along with the graphics and sound but the real major let down is the camera angles.