E3 2003: Simpsons Hit and Run Hands-On

News ID: 354
Date: 2003-05-13
Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/05/14/e3-2003-simpsons-hit-and-run-hands-on

BY JUSTIN THOMPSON On the basis of a few screenshots and the game's title, gamers have been batting around wild theories about how The Simpsons: Hit and Run, might turn out be something along the lines of Grand Theft Auto Springfield.

It turns out that this is one of those occasions where rumors are true. The latest Simpsons game does in fact borrow much of GTA's gameplay mechanics. Weird, huh?

Homer is the star of the part of the game that we've played. While it hasn't been confirmed, it's likely that other characters from the series will be playable as well. Starting the game, you find yourself in the familiar Simpson house. Upon walking out the front door, the entire city of Springfield is at your fingertips.

The small portion of the game that we played appeared to take place on Halloween, since children in witch costumes roamed the street and skeletons were driving around in convertibles.

Parked in the driveway is your first vehicle, a convertible version of the family car. Pressing the Y button causes you go enter the car.

Once you're behind the wheel, the game controls a lot like the earlier Crazy Taxi knock-off, Simpsons Road Rage. Vehicles behave in a decidedly arcade-like fashion, giving plenty of opportunities for power sliding.

If you get sick of the car you're currently driving, you can jack the other vehicles on the street. Simply get out of your car, walk up to the car you want and hop into it. It works in the exact same way as in GTA. The only difference is that the actual carjacking isn't shown. Instead, the screen goes to black and a moment later you're in the car.

If you choose to stay on foot, you can wander around the neighborhood at your leisure. If you're annoyed at the little kid who's hanging out in front of your house, you can walk up and beat the daylights out of him with a series of quick kicks. There's not any blood or anything, the kid just rolls around on the floor and whines.

Of course, sometimes you'll need to talk to your neighbors. For example, Chief Wiggum was just down the street from the house. When we got close enough to him, the letter Y appeared over his head. By pressing, you guessed it, the Y button, the Chief will begin to chat your ear off. Since the audio was so low it was impossible to tell what he was saying, but it seems likely that this will be how you acquire missions.

Hit and Run's graphics are something of a departure from those of Road Rage. Gone are that game's cel-shaded graphics, giving way to a look reminiscent of the show's classic computer-generated Halloween episode. Additionally, not all the cars are convertibles as they were inRoad Rage.

Unfortunately, all the ambient E3 noise made it impossible to make out the game's audio. In a few quiet moments we caught a few snippets of Chief Wiggum talking, and it sounds like they're using the voice talent from the series. That's about all we know.

The direction in which Fox Interactive is taking The Simpsons: Hit and Run is, to say the least, daring. Will the company's attempt to merge the brilliant open-ended gameplay of GTA with the much-beloved world of The Simpsons be as insanely cool as it sounds on paper or will it join the long list of Simpsons games that fail to reproduce the qualities that make the show so great? We'll be keeping an eye on this one.

GAMES: Simpsons: Hit & Run (The)
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