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TheDustinThomas avatar 2:21 PM on 07.02.2013  (server time)
Best. Licensed Game. Ever. - Part 2: Gameplay

Yesterday, I began a week-long series of blogs pertaining to The Simpsons: Hit & Run, which is, in my opinion, the best licensed game ever. The previous post was just an introduction, but now I want to get into what I guess would be considered the "review" section of the game.

To put it simply, this game really is just a straight rip-off of Grand Theft Auto, minus the hooker-killing (unless that's a secret that I've never discovered). There's a basic mission structure, but unlike GTA, you aren't given two or three different missions to choose from at any given time, it's a pretty linear game in that respect. If the current mission proves to be too difficult, you can skip it after a few failures. You also don't have to wait until a mission is over before restarting it, which was a great feature and was something that even Rockstar hadn't started implementing yet. There aren't side-missions necessarily, but there's still plenty of other things to do in each level. There are street races that you can pick up from other characters, you can buy cars from failed salesman Gil, and finding all the gags hidden throughout the the levels gives you an added incentive to explore, as many of them are only found off the beaten path.

The music isn't an orchestrated masterpiece, the only word I can really use to describe it is "fun."  It sets the tone of the town perfectly, and for some reason the music in the Business district always reminds me of the main menu music from the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It's not anything that'll knock your socks off, you're probably not going see a bunch of people doing Simpsons: Hit & Run music covers on YouTube, but it's good enough and it adds to the overall charm of the game.

The controls, while far from perfect, still get the job done. There aren't a whole lot of different actions, so it was kept pretty simple. While on foot you basically only have attack and jump buttons. I'm not sure if "attack" is really the right word, as there isn't any combat in the game outside of destroying wasp cameras (which are technically the only enemies in the game). The attack button is mainly just there to destroy the Buzz Cola crates and vending machines that'll net you some coins once destroyed.  

While driving you have gas, brake, horn, and then the shoulder buttons to act as your side and rear-view mirrors. Driving is smooth and responsive for the most part, although it sometimes depends on the car. If you're trying to navigate tight alleys or areas with lots of sharp turns, using the Honor Roller isn't the best of choices. Most driving missions are timed, so it's good to know where the shortcuts are, and this game has no shortage of them. They're practically everywhere, and if you find yourself losing a mission because of time or your vehicle getting destroyed (which can be easily avoided if you drive over a golden wrench, fixing your ride instantly), using the back alleys can be crucial to success.

The camera can be a bit wonky at times, but only seems to be a problem when you're in tight spaces where the camera can't pan all the away around your character. It does cause platforming to be difficult in certain areas, but they're few and far between, and if you just take it slow, you'll be fine.

The game isn't hard. You can't die. There aren't any bosses. The only real enemies in the game (aside from the aforementioned wasp cameras) are the clock and the environment. You're usually given more than enough time to complete any given task, so failure never feels like it's because the game is unfair. The only really difficult mission in the game is the final one, which is understandable. You have to drive all the way across town while racing against the clock, while also having cars that are faster than yours trying to prevent you from reaching your goal. 

This is likely the longest entry in this little retrospective of mine, so thank you for reading if you made it all the way through. Tomorrow's topic: fan service.


Continue to Part 3: Fan Service.

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