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The Simpsons Hit & Run Review - PS2

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After the obviously Crazy Taxi-inspired The Simpsons Road Rage comes the obviously Grand Theft Auto-inspired The Simpsons Hit & Run. Basically, take Grand Theft Auto 3, replace Liberty City with Springfield, replace the main character with the Simpson family, tone down the violence a whole lot and you have The Simpsons Hit & Run. Surprisingly, this formula works very well - everything from the series ties in perfectly. Who would've imagined the Simpson family in a Grand Theft Auto-style game?

Mysterious black vans and wasp-controlled cameras have appeared all over Springfield, rousing suspicion amongst the citizens. Where did they come from? Who is behind it all? Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Apu set out to unravel the mystery plaguing Springfield.

Gameplay

The Simpsons Hit & Run plays a lot like the Grand Theft Auto series in the sense that you can wander around Springfield as you please, driving any car you like and taking on missions when you feel like it. Don't expect to find that the Simpsons have turned violent, though; the most violent thing you can do is run over pedestrians, and even then they don't die. Rather, they are thrown away from the car, kicking and flailing face-first on the ground, climbing to their feet and strolling around as usual a few seconds later. Instead of stealing cars, you borrow them. The Simpsons figure that they've done enough for Springfield to have anyone drive them around as they please, and, strangely, the citizens comply. You won't find any guns, either; your only offensive moves are a kick, a kick in mid-air and a ground stomp that sends out shockwaves. Yes, you can also beat down pedestrians with your wild kicking, but they will do the same thing that they do when you run over them.

Springfield turns out to be quite big in The Simpsons Hit & Run and you'll come across many places from the TV series, such as the Krusty Burger, Mr. Burns' Mansion, Camp Krusty, Android's Dungeon, the Kwik-E-Mart and the Nuclear Power Plant. Most of these key places can be entered and explored, and all around Springfield you'll find little novelties from the TV series; in the Kwik-E-Mart, for example, you can see Hans Moleman frozen in the fridge, something that happened in one of the episodes. You can even pull a lever to smother Maggie in hundreds of plastic balls at the play centre, yet another goodie from one of the episodes. Just about every character from the TV series can and will be found in the game, either as an interaction through a mission or simply wandering the streets - you'll come across characters such as Milhouse, Doctor Nick and even the Comic Book Guy.

Throughout the course of the game you'll play as Homer, Bart, Lisa and Marge - making up the Simpson family - and also Apu, the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart. Instead of being available for play at any time the characters have their own large level in the game, each of these ... (continued next page)