Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 12/17/01 | Genre: Driving
The thought of a Simpson's driving game is exciting to both gamer and fan alike. Who wouldn't want to cruise around the streets of Springfield with the Simpsons? Being a long time fan of the show, I'll admit to be one of the first people out there to grab this game. The game is very different than what I pictured but will not disappoint most players. The game follows the story of Mr. Burns seizing all the public transportation for his new breed of Nuclear Bus. The townspeople begin to compete against him by running their own cab businesses.
The actual style of play is a taxi-style of play. I was personally looking for another Mario Kart type system, but instead I found a Crazy Taxi clone. It works to a good degree. You can play in several modes, such as Road Rage, Sunday Drive, 2 player Mode, or Mission Mode. Road Rage is where most of the playing is done. You are given a certain amount of time to drive around passenger and collect a fair. Occasionally, the game throws in a modifier, such as destroying extra stuff for Nelson. After accumulating some money, the player can unlock extra boards or characters.
Sunday Drive is actually just a free for all to enjoy to sights and sounds of the well generated environment. Two player mode in the game is adequate. Basically, two cars go flying around picking up passengers while the other attempts to steal their fare. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun but don't see how the designers didn't even attempt to go to 4 player mode. Mission mode is ok, but feels like a waste of time. You are tasked with quick mission, such as sneaking Homer to work or Barney knocking over 15 Mascots. It gets old quick, but gives the player a chance to try out certain characters ahead of time.
The game's graphics are very well done. Springfield and surrounding areas are constructed with good attention to detail. This was obviously done by people with a great love for the show as many backgrounds from episodes are generously scattered throughout the game. There is certainly nothing like rounding a corner, and seeing a sign for 'Rancho Relaxo' or the 'Itchy and Scratchy' movie. To their credit, they make a very 'believable' Simpson's world.
The game features all the character voices heard throughout the show. The banter between characters makes it all worth while for the avid Simpson's fan. You start with a basic array of Simpson's characters and cars themed to them ('Honor Roller' for Bart, an electric car for Lisa). As the game progresses, you can move beyond Evergreen Terrace for other areas of the town. Some character reactions are unique to that player, giving fair incentive to unlock addition players (such a Professor Frink or Ned Flanders). The controls in the game are also easy to learn.
Overall, the game is pretty good. The sound and graphics are certainly well done. The problem with the game comes down to replay value. There are only so many times you can run errands for people around town before it gets old. It might end up being a game you should rent instead. To that end, the game is not what Simpson's fans have been waiting for but is well worth the trip to Springfield.