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The Simpsons Hit & Run - XB - Preview 2

One thing leads to another, and not always logically. But then, that is the charm of The Simpsons.

"I’m a lean, mean, speed thingie!" - Homer Simpson

The Simpsons Hit and Run, from Vivendi Universal, Fox Interactive and Radical Entertainment is a three-dimensional romp through Springfield. This is a game that if rife with one-liners, arcade action and smash’em up driving game play.

GameZone.com was invited to strap into the pink Simpson’s vehicle and journey through the home town of arguably the most famous cartoon family in television history on a wild adventure with the Xbox preview. And in case you are wondering, there is a story here.

The game begins simply enough. A nice cutscene talks about a new cola, Buzz Cola, endorsed by Krusty. And Krusty puts it: "New buzz cola will give you the get up and go to do all the pathetic stuff you have to do." Of course, that is enough for Homer, who just has to have some.

Welcome to the tutorial. As one can imagine, this is a game that is part negotiating the ground elements by running or driving recklessly through Springfield. Bart guides players through the tutorial. His unique way of explaining the controls is wonderful.

When it comes to the driving aspects, Bart explains that the A button is to accelerate, the thumbstick controls the direction, the B button is to break or reverse, and the X button is for the handbrake ... "You know, just like every driving game ever."

The game is a rapid series of events in which players must race the clock, or collect items in order to succeed and advance. Some of the timers are lengthy, but some are short and require some precision driving - or taking advantage of the shortcuts available.

At the core of the game is a plot with mysterious wasps, buzz cola coins and enough one-liners to keep you laughing and/or chuckling for a long time.

The game’s graphics are completely three dimensional and have the color combinations that Simpsons’ fans have come to know and enjoy. The characters all move just like the cartoon come to life, and Springfield is a great driving venue, full of twisting corners, two-way traffic, hills and trees and plenty of other obstacles for Homer ("I have road rage and I know how to use it") to drive over.

This is a driving-based game with some out of car gameplay thrown in for variety.

The Simpsons Hit and Run plays out like a cartoon. Lenny, Barney, Mr. Smithers and the rest of the television characters play nice roles in the game, either to advance the story or to toss in a few more one-liners.

The sound of this game is wonderful, with the voices and musical stylings of the animated television series all in place. The control elements have been kept relatively simple. This is the type of game that players can leap right into and play with little time spent trying to work through a tutorial. And you really won’t have time to get into a tutorial. This game is fast-paced. The true difficulty in playing the game lays in trying to navigate the courses without laughing too hard at the jokes flying past faster that pedestrians over or under the car.

Whenever a game comes along that is based on a television series, certain expectations are inherent. The Simpsons Hit and Run fulfills all those expectations. This is truly a fun-filled game that mirrors the television show.

The game has yet to be rated, but the language and some inferences are not appropriate for younger children.

Gw
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