The Simpsons: Hit & Run: The Simpsons GTA in a retro special

The Simpsons: Hit & Run: The Simpsons GTA in a retro special

The Simpsons

They are yellow, they are loud, they have simply become an integral part of today's media landscape: the Simpsons. For well over 30 years now, the most famous family in TV history has flickered across the world's television screens, setting trends, fabricating tangible scandals and even taking a terrifyingly precise look into the future at one point or another. Even today, Matt Groening's animated sitcom regularly attracts an audience of millions, even if Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Maggie are noticeably running out of air after 32 seasons and 700 episodes - and the show has recently lost more of its quality and charm.

It looks a bit darker on the gaming front: The cartoon franchise has been waiting for a new video game appearance since 2007, but there is no imminent comeback in sight. So fans usually have no choice but to enjoy the pearls of the past - titles like The Simpsons: Hit & Run.

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Table of contents

1 The Simpsons meets GTA 2 The ultimate fan service 3 Between joke and social criticism 4 Playful mau, Remaster bye?

The Simpsons meets GTA

Released in 2003, it was a bit of a breakthrough on the virtual stage: After Simpsons: Bowling, Simpsons: Wrestling and Simpsons: Skateboarding, a proper Simpsons game should finally be developed will. One that not just smacked the big name on a generic sports title, but also fully exploited the potential of the original. This gave rise to the idea of ​​making Springfield explorable in all its glory - in 3D, with sound and in color. Hit & Run is like a Simpsons episode that you can immerse yourself in instead of just sitting passively on the couch.

Open World à la GTA: In Hit & Run you are on foot or by vehicle in the freely accessible area Springfield game world on the move. Source: PC Games In terms of design, the developers at Radical Entertainment were based on the popular open-world sandbox formula of Grand Theft Auto 3, published two years earlier: So you make the streets of the fictional US small town with Homer, Bart and Co. insecure, steals cars, beats up passers-by and gives you chases with the police. The possibility of car theft was also taken over by Rockstar, only in a weakened form. Instead of forcibly pulling unsuspecting car owners out of their cars, you simply set up a temporary car pool in Hit & Run. This pacifist approach has also been adopted in other areas: The makers completely dispense with weapons, and you will never be confronted with blood, injuries or even screen death. Figures either skilfully jump out of the way or tumble around merrily. The Simpsons: Hit & Run is basically GTA in child-friendly.

This is also reflected in the age rating of the USK. They gave the title the stamp "From six years of age" - which is a little surprising when you play it through again these days, when you realize how explicit the game sometimes comes across. In addition to loud curses and insults, the protagonist Apu even talks about the rowdies in his shop putting pornography in the wedding magazines. If my mother had noticed something like this, the game would have been bagged in no time at all.

The ultimate fan service

A total of 47 trading cards are hidden in the game, with which you can play bonus games and one for your own for Hit & Run-produced Itchy-and-Scratchy-Film. Source: PC Games Like the TV template, The Simpsons: Hit & Run (despite the cartoon presentation) is more aimed at an older target group. This is also noticeable in the many, many details of the play world that children probably shouldn't have even noticed. The digital Springfield was created in close cooperation with the show runners: 20th Century Fox, Gracie Films and even Matt Groening himself did their part to capture the small US town in 3D and as authentically as possible on the computer screen. As a fan you can immediately recognize numerous places and landmarks - from the burning tire pile to the Kwik-E-Mart to Moe's tavern - and you can quickly find your way around. At the same time, Hit & Run offers a completely new perspective on the Simpsons universe by showing sections that were never seen in the series. How exactly does Homer get to work? What's between the family house on Evergreen Terrace and the nuclear power plant? Questions like these are finally answered and offer the chance to dive even deeper into the cosm.

The game world is literally bubbling over with gimmicks and allusions to the TV template that it is a real festival. Here is a tomacco plantation, there an unlockable outfit in the form of Lisa's Florida costume. Some representatives can also be recognized in the vehicle fleet, such as Homer - the car that the head of the Simpsons family once designed for his half-brother Herb, in proper style with La Cucaracha as the horn. In the last of the total of seven levels, the entire map is given a completely new coat of paint, so that you can experience a "Treehouse of Horror" episode for yourself. Halloween soundtrack and creepy opponents included!

Exploration tours in Hit & Run are always worthwhile, with a little surprise waiting at every corner. Be it in the form of gags or trading cards that bring you closer to items from the series. For the soulless steel bolt, for example, there is not only the appropriate episode information, but also a corresponding quote. If you find all 47 collectibles, you will even get a top-down arcade racer as a bonus game in the main menu. Or you can watch an itchy-and-scratchy episode specially produced for the game in the cinema. The ultimate fan service!

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Between joke and social criticism

The TV producers were also heavily involved in the story, which is clearly reflected in the gaming experience. With Matt Selman, Matt Warburton or Tim Long, authors from the original series were brought on board, who wrote all the dialogues and a completely new story about robots, aliens and mind-controlling cola. A fact that the developers later described as a real blessing. "You don't have to worry about quality," said Tim Ramage, Associate Producer at Vivendi Universal Games, in an interview with Gamer's Hell. “You know you’re getting the best that’s out there.”

Déjà Vu! Fans of the series template will recognize numerous characters and scenes directly, for example the Kwik-E-Mart and its operator Apu. Source: PC Games The Simpsons-typical wit and charm was perfectly preserved. Hit & Run is also snappy and with a socially critical undertone. US culture with its racist cops or backward hillbillies is mercilessly dragged through the cocoa. But other topics such as surveillance or the voyeurism of reality TV shows are also discussed. The whole thing is garnished with a good pinch of self-referential meta-humor: The Springfield Shopper at the beginning headlines something like "According to a study, 90 percent of all games start with a simple tutorial level". Or Marge embarks on a crusade against a new, violence-glorifying game that is corrupting the local youth.

A special plus point for all of this: the original speakers for the television series are on board, in their original cast! In Hit & Run you will also hear the voices of the meanwhile different Norbert Gastell or Elisabeth Volkmann. Together with the extensive cast of supporting characters, they do a really great job. It's really fun to listen to comments from Grandpa, the comic book seller, Professor Frink, or Headmaster Skinner! Especially since these are all backed up with an atmospheric soundtrack, which sets highlights again and again: If you play with Lisa, a jazzy saxophone sounds, at Apu the very finest Bollywood music with sitar and tabla.

Playful mau, Remaster bye?

Conversations with NPCs are worthwhile. The residents of Springfield were all set to music by their regular TV speakers. Source: PC Games You can only grumble about the gameplay itself. Don't get it wrong: To jet through Springfield and to cause chaos, thanks to environmental destruction and the large fleet of five playable characters, is definitely fun. But the missions could have been a little more varied: Most of the time, your tasks consist of some kind of races, pickup or delivery services, which are then repeated quite quickly. Sometimes the level of difficulty increases surprisingly harshly, or you are simply given completely stupid orders - for example crashing an armored money transport with a sports car. Before even a bit of frustration arises, you simply turn on the cheats for the super jump with horn or indestructible car, laugh heartily and forget your worries. You just can't be angry with the game for long. It's not for nothing that Hit & Run is still considered the best Simpsons game to this day, because it simply managed to capture the flair of the original series perfectly.

The love among fans, who keep coming back over and over again, is correspondingly great wish of the title. And so that at least the former makers do not fall on deaf ears. In an interview with LADBible, Vlad Ceraldi, one of the former developers, said: If it were up to him, we would soon get a new edition of the cult classic. "I could imagine it as a remake or a remaster on different platforms," ​​says Ceraldi. "It would just be a lot of fun to re-explore the characters and the Simpsons universe."

That is unlikely to happen. The Simpsons games are currently licensed by Electronic Arts and they seem to have little interest in helping the most famous family in television history return to the computer screen. Instead, they prefer to focus on the mobile market, which is probably much more profitable. With The Simpsons: Tapped Out, a city builder for the smartphone, the publisher has recorded over 80 million downloads and over 200 million dollars in revenue since its release in 2012. A Hit & Run remaster will probably be further down on the to-do list ...

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