Posted on October 29, 2012
My Top 100: #59 – The Simpsons: Hit and Run
When looking at video games based on The Simpsons, one can’t help but look at the ones that started it all; Bart vs. the Space Mutants and Bart vs. the World.
I loved renting those games, but I think I only ever beat the first level of both games once. I don’t know if it was the colourful graphics, the music, or what… but from time to time, I had hankerin’ for some Simpsons gaming. I’m not sure why I was willing to put myself through such punishment, but I digress.
Looking back on both of them now, I realize that they were just poorly designed games. I never played Bartman Meets Radioactive Man on the NES, maybe because I was a little bit older when it came out, and less willing to put myself through that kind of torture again. Many Simpsons games came and went on various platforms, with Bart’s Nightmare on Super NES actually being the closest they came to a genuinely good game. I rented it a few times, enjoyed a few of the levels quite a bit, but quickly realized that the bad parts of the game outweighed the good ones.
The Simpsons Wrestling was a critical bomb that I thought for sure would temporarily halt the production of games based on the cartoon juggernaut, but I was wrong; Road Rage came out at around the same time the Xbox and GameCube were released, and its Crazy Taxi-inspired gameplay won over a bunch of gamers and critics alike.
Imitation is indeed the most sincere form of flattery!
GTAIII and Vice City were massive hits, so it was just a matter of time before everyone got in on the free-roaming, open world bandwagon. Hit and Run did just that, and brought a fully explorable (and secret-filled) Springfield to the masses.
The plot involves the Simpson family (and Apu) investigating a series of strange events caused by a doctored version of Buzz Cola being introduced to the story’s water supply. Get in a car, travel, get out, do some exploring for bonus items, do missions at your own pace, or just take a minute to see the sights in a fully realized 3D version of Springfield. As the game progresses, various landmarks from the show will make appearances; from the obvious locales like the giant pile of burning tires and Springfield Elementary, to the more obscure references like the staircase to nowhere and the world’s largest toilet (from the episode with Abe’s exploded kidneys), there are tons of easter eggs for the longtime fan to discover.
I enjoyed the heck out of this, enough to crack my top 60.