Review: The Simpsons: Hit and Run

The Simpsons is one of the most popular, longest running and funniest cartoon series there is. Somehow the writers keep coming up with new themes and original jokes every episode, quite impressive as there are over 300 now. The Simpsons is also one of the most used licences around (not as big as all the EA sports licences but you get the idea), so given the quality of the series you'd expect at least a handful of good games to come from it. Wrong. Until now there was only that old Konami arcade game, a Final Fight clone that was fun for a few quarters. Until now that is, because now we have The Simpsons Hit & Run, the first game that really captures the feeling and humor of the series.

Hit & Run is not an original game. Like almost every Simpsons game, it clones an already succesful game. Previous games took ideas from Final Fight, Crazy Taxi, Tony Hawk Pro Skater and even Wrestling games, but never came anywhere near the games they ripped off. The source of inspiration in Hit & Run is Grand Theft Auto, so you get to walk, steal and drive around Springfield as a host of Simpsons characters. This time around it's done pretty good though.


In a time when just about every cartoony game is cel-shaded, The Simpsons Hit & Run isn't. It's a bit awkward to see all the Simpsons characters in 3D, and it probably would've looked a lot more natural if they were cel-shaded. Not only is the game not cel-shaded, it's not very detailed too. The characters don't have much detail, you'll notice this the most in the indoor locations where the camera is pretty close to them. On top of that, the framerate is not as steady as it should be. While driving the framerate is fine, but when you're on foot it stutters a lot. All this said though, you probably won't notice any of these problems after playing Hit & Run a while. After you having recognized your first couple of Springfielders and wrecked a few cars, the gameplay will absorb you completely.


One of the highlights of Hit & Run is the sound of the game. Partly because the music is really nice. There are a lot of remixed versions of the Simpsons theme on the soundtrack, as well as a few situation specific tracks. If you come near one of the mob guys for instance, you hear a song that sounds a lot like the Sopranos theme. Even better than the songs are the voices. Hit & Run features more than 50(!!) characters from the series, all voiced by the original voice cast. This means you don't get cheap hired voice actors that pretend to be Homer, you get the real Homer. And with that real Homer you can walk up to anybody in the streets and kick them to hear what they'll scream at you. Every game should have that!


As you'd expect from a GTA clone, Hit & Run plays a lot like GTA. That means you'll do a lot of racing against others, against time, smashing up other cars, collecting items while driving and geting away from other cars. This game is structured in a different way though. In GTA you had a big city, you could go and do as you please or take on a mission for money. Hit & Run is set up a bit more like a traditional game, with levels and a lineair storyline. You play as Homer, Lisa, Bart, Marge or Apu, and you get missions that advance the story and get you to new levels. You can choose to play through the game by just doing all the storyline missions. The game is not too long that way, but the story is written by the same writers that make the series and is as hilarious as you would expect it to be. You can have much more fun though just driving around the levels, looking for side-challenges and all sorts of hidden collectables. The levels are pretty big and there is something to do on every streetcorner, and whether it's taking a racing challenge from Milhouse, visiting Moe's or just driving over the comic book guy, it's always fun.


You start the game on foot. You walk around with the control stick, jump with A (twice for a double-jump), run with X and kick with B. The most important button while walking is the Y button, it lets you steal cars and talk to people. Since the walking controls are not very good you're better of driving most of the time. A lot of item collecting and talking requires you to walk though, and thanks to the wobbly controls and the shaky camera this can get on your nerves pretty quickly. Just get in a car though, and your worries will soon be gone. It takes some effort getting used to the steering, at first your car will probably drift all over the place, but after a while it'll be second nature. All the cars have a different feel to them, and there are a lot of them. From ultra-light rocket cars to massive trucks and school busses, they all drive like they should (if you were a cartoon character in Springfield that is).


If you just play Hit & Run's main storyline, the game won't last very long. Luckily though, the game is filled to the brim with hidden collector's cards, cars, clothes, challenges and gags. Collecting all those will keep you up many nights. If you're a Simpsons fan, you'll love the collectables, since they all come from famous Simpsons episodes. The cards come with a picture from an episode for instance, you can read about that episode's story in the pause menu. It's details like these that make Hit & Run last longer than you'd expect.

Final Say:

Hit & Run has it's share of flaws, but the driving, the storyline and the excellent voicework will make you ignore them most of the time. Don't buy Hit & Run thinking it will be the Cube's GTA, you'll no doubt be disapointed. Buy it if you're a Simpsons fan or if you're looking for a fun game with lots of driving and exploring. If you don't buy it, just remember you're missing out on a game that will become a legend: The First Good Simpsons Game!

N-Europe Final Verdict

A very special Simpsons game, it's a good one!

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Story and voices
Good driving controls


Doesn't look good
Sloppy walking controls

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