Review by ryan nyquist
"Hey Crazy Taxi, move your keister, meister!"
The Simpsons Road Rage
The good: Awesome sound with addictive gameplay; at least a must-rent.
The bad: So they didn't come up with the idea first? Big deal
The ugly: The 3-D Mr. Burns. Jeez. *Shudders*
As the Simpsons maniac that I am, I usually jump at the chance to get my hands on anything bearing the family's moniker, and The Simpsons Road Rage was no exception. Just weeks after getting my Gamecube, this title was on the top of my "must-have" list. Days after my birthday, as I made my purchase, hard earned cash in hand, the cashier remarked to me, "Great game". Judging from his thick black glasses and his Homer-like physique, I was sure that he, himself was an expert on all things Springfield. No, this man would not steer me wrong.
As I popped the game into my 'cube, the first thing that caught my eye was the sight of the original 2-D dysfunctional family in full GCN-quality 3D. It wasn't the prettiest of sights, but it wasn't awful and after all it was way too early to judge the game. As I entered the first level, Evergreen Terrace, I was immediately impressed with the bright, lively colors of Springfield that I had grown accustomed to seeing every Sunday night on TV. As I explored the different areas of town, I realized that the artists really nailed the look and feel of Springfield. The details on the cars, and town quickly made up for my initial disappointment.
As I sat there in my room, I couldn't help but feel like I had played this game before. Pick someone up, drop someone off; collect cash...seemed vaguely familiar. Pac-man? No, that's not it...'Taxi' something....Yeah, that's it! Crazy Taxi! Look, there's no denying that this is a Crazy Taxi clone, but once you get passed that fact, it really turns out to be an enjoyable game. The single player, character-themed missions mix addictive gameplay with challenging goals in such a way that makes you want to hang on to that controller until you've beaten every mission (or at least until supper time). The Destroy stuff for bonus and Avoid traffic for bonus incentives add an extra zest to the gameplay.
The two-player split screen mode lets a player race to get one character at a time to there desired destination before the other player can sneak up and grab their would-be satisfied customer with a simple tap of the bumper. If you're driving the car with the goods at the drop off point, you chalk a grand up for yourself (And you thought gas prices were high!). First player to either $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 wins bragging rights for the evening.
If you've ever played a racing game, you know what you're in for. A for gas, B for brake. The same applies here. My biggest problem with the game came with the lack of any type of set collision detection. If I crashed into a car, I would either fly backwards (many times in mid-air) or just plow right through like I hadn't hit anything at all. Another problem I had was with the magic hand that steers you through the level. It seemed to have a mind of its own, sometimes changing position in the middle of a straight, one-way street. Other than the two major flaws listed here, I found nothing else wrong with the controls.
After unlocking all the characters and courses, there's really not much left to do. An occasional head-to-head against some pals is always fun, but after one or two rounds, everyone's had enough. There are a few Easter eggs thrown into the game (Get special cars on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween) for those who really want to squeeze every last drop out. Other than that, go to Blockbuster and rent Crazy Taxi.
What Simpsons game would be complete without Ralph Wiggum screaming Yay, boxes! or hearing Homer proclaim his intelligence (I am so smart! S-M-R-T)? Well, you'll find those and almost 90 other classic Simpson quotes from the real voice actors we've grown to know and love on the show. Combine that with delightful music, screeching tires, and honking novelty horns and you've got yourself killer audio throughout the game. Sound is one of the games biggest high points.
Final Word: 8/10
Some people say, Why eat a burger when I can have a steak? Now who knows what delicious part of the cow people ate first but in a few years the same will be for the drive people around genre. People will forget which came first, but they will remember which game was more enjoyable (the steak, if you will) and that game is Simpsons Road Rage. For fans new to the series, or long time fans, this game is at least a must-rent.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/23/04
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