Review by Touchdown Boy

"When will there be a game deserving of the Simpsons license?"

Background

Mr. Burns has bought the bus company, and turned all Springfield's buses into nuclear-powered deathtraps. Homer sets up a taxi service to keep Burns from getting the townspeoples' money, and earn enough to buy back the buses.

Breakdown

This is Crazy Taxi. Collect passengers, chuckle at their comments (all voiced by the real voice actors, y'know), then take them to their destination as fast as possible, avoiding numerous obstacles along the way. The direction is indicated by a giant yellow hand. That's direction, not route, so don't follow it directly or you'll plow straight into a wall.

The game essentially is a race against the clock, and extra time can be earned by delivering passengers as fast as possible. Certain passengers also offer extra time and money for being delivered with as little collision with other vehicles as possible, or the destruction of a set number of roadside features. The latter offers a massive $1000 dollar bonus.

Environment Watch

Six levels, of which only the first two are really great. The others are adequate, but nothing too interesting. Of course, eventually you'll realise that each pick-up point always leads to the same drop-off point, so routes can get rather repetitive. The levels are designed well enough though - most are big enough to be entertaining for a while.

Challenge

Nah. The only real challenge is having the patience to play through over and over again, long after you've heard every line and memorised every route, to earn the money required to see the (hideously anti-climactic) end screen. It won't be long before you discover one of the 'infinite routes', which, with enough practice, you can drive around earning money until you pass out.

Presentation

Graphically, it's nice enough. It looks like Springfield, and the characters are all done well. There's a couple of visual glitches, and it's not quite as polished as it could have been, but it's functional.

The sounds are very nice. The voices are all excellent, and will have you in stitches the first time you hear them. They begin to repeat after a while, though. The music is functional, but, as with any game which forces you to replay the same levels so many times, quickly begins to grate.

Features

Besides the one-player main mode, there's also 15 missions, which are a nice distraction, if a little simple. Also, failing 5 times allows you the option of skipping it completely, yet still having it count as a completed task when it comes to earning your prize, which is kind of an odd feature (but very nice to have when it comes to the teeth-grindingly aggravating challenge with Lisa and the logs).

There's also a Sunday Drive mode, which allows you to explore the levels without a timer, and a nice two-player head-to-head mode, in which you compete to deliver one passenger at a time, ramming each other to steal the cargo. A lot of fun.

The Competition

There's Crazy Taxi, which is the same old game it's always been. It's a longer-lasting game than Road Rage, but not necessarily as much fun. It's a case of either/or, but there's no need to get both. And certainly no need to buy either.

Final Verdict

It has to be a rental. You can squeeze all the fun out of the game in that time, and all you're missing out on is the extra characters, which really don't make an awful lot of difference, to be fair. It's fun while it lasts, but not worth the £40 you could be spending on Zelda, Smash Brothers, or TimeSplitters 2.

The Simpsons license needs a good game. It deserves it. As it is, the only thing making this game enjoyable at all is the fact that it's got all your favourite characters in it. And that's just not right.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 10/28/03


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