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The Simpsons Road Rage

Review By:  Tikerman

Developer:  EA
Publisher:  EA
# of Players:  1-2
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Teen
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  4-1-03

Everybody loves the Simpsons, right? Great show, very funny and satirical. But what would it be like to take control of your favorite Simpsons' character and their vehicle of choice, and drive all around Springfield, causing mayhem? Well, if you'd like to know, read on.

The Simpsons Road Rage is a game based around a likely scenario in the Simpsons universe: Monty Burns, evil tycoon and nuclear power plant owner has bought out Springfield's transit company, and armed all the buses with nuclear power. Now, all of Springfield's commuters are forced to pay ridiculous prices to get from here to there. Or do they? Not if Homer J. Simpson has something to say about it! That's right, Homer has banded together the stars of the show, each in his or her own unique vehicle, to provide a taxi service to the commuters of Springfield, and to bring down Burns' tyranny!

The game operates much like the acclaimed series Crazy Taxi. Your objective is to drive about town, pick up a passenger, and get that passenger to his or her desired location within the time limit. You get a fare, a few bucks every second, as well as bonus money and time if you get your passenger there with "Average" or "Fast" rankings. There is also, besides your passenger's clock, an overall clock, which must be kept running to keep you alive. Your overall clock is always at least equal to your passenger clock, so you never have to worry about how far away your destination is. However, you lose time between passengers, as well as if you do not get a passenger to his or her destination on time they will leap from the car in quite a dramatic fashion.

There are other ways to pick up big cash, as well. Occasionally, your passenger will make a minor request: that you destroy as much of the environment as possible. Trees, light posts, cars, pedestrians, anything that you can think of can be driven in to, and knocked half a mile away. If you destroy enough objects (you will be given a number), then the passenger will fork over an additional $1000 and extra time, regardless of your time. Another bonus, though not quite as fun, is the avoid traffic mode. Some of your more conservative patrons may, from time to time, ask that you not plow into any other vehicles. This can be quite difficult at times, and you will often be quite unfairly rammed by Monty Burns or one of his legion of nuclear buses, but if you succeed you'll collect a cool $250.

In the main 1 Player Mode, the cash from every sortie into Springfield is added to a total, which can help unlock new characters and maps. You have certain intervals to meet (i.e., $1000, $2000, $5000, etc.), and when you meet them, you can have your pick of unlocking a character or a map. There are 18 characters to unlock in all and 6 maps.

The graphics utilize both cel-shading and standard 3D animation strangely. While environments, objects, and even characters are animated normally, only the car you are driving is cel-shaded. This seems like an odd choice, one would assume that at least all the characters would be animated using cel-shading. They just look weird and creepy in 3D animation.

The sound is a drawback. There isn't any music to accompany your adventures, only comments from the loveable Simpsons characters. There are plenty comments from both the driver and the passenger, which is to be expected with the Simpsons license, some of which are funny, some not, but all of which have a potential to get a fair deal annoying after a while.

All in all, gameplay is quite fun. The action is fast, and destroying the tons of interactive objects can be quite amusing (as can, I'll admit, driving into the occasional pedestrian). Two-player mode is a competitive multiplayer mode, in which you and your enemy try to pick up the same passenger and get them to their destination. Ramming your enemy's car will automatically steal the passenger, which leads to raging verbal combat as well as that displayed on the television. Also, a difficult mission mode offers unique challenges. These usually entail a trial and error experience of failing your mission over and over again until you select the right path along which to travel, to destroy all of your targets.

Highs:

  • A lot of fun to pick up and play for a few minutes
  • The Simpsons label
  • Graphics are up to par for Gamecube
  • The glory and wonder of reckless destruction

Lows:

  • Sayings can get annoying
  • Simpsons characters should have been cel-shaded
  • Not good for the long-term gamer
  • Lengthy load times

Final Verdict:

This is a good game to own, although perhaps not at full price. It has very high replay value, for anytime you have a few minutes to pick it up and play a few Road Rage runs. Multiplayer is decent, and the sayings are good while they last. Don't pick this one up for extended sessions, though, because it can get repetitive, in terms of gameplay and the characters' sayings. The destruction of property and lives is intensely fun, especially to see the poor mascots go flying through the air. Overall, this one gets a:

Overall Score: 7.5

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