A couple of blog entries below, I expressed my love for the Grand Theft Auto series of games by Rockstar Games. It was free-form entertainment and one could choose a non-linear path of the game and do side tasks, explore the city...and basically do whatever the hell you wanted to!
But what if there was a game in the vein of GTA but based on another favourite city of mine, with characters that are already part of pop culture and Americana? What if there was a game that could make you fall in love even MORE with said characters and give you a chance to live and breathe in that city?
Of course I'm going to have to buy it and play it. Cue: The Simpsons Hit and Run!
Now, this game has actually been out for several years now. It was originally released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2003, and then on PC later that year. The PS2 released it in 2004 and even the Xbox (original, not the new Xbox360) had it in 2006, so popular was the game!
I had a choice between the GameCube and PC versions a couple of weeks ago when trawling through the collection of games at the Cash Converters in Forest Hill and I decided to get the GameCube version, since I knew that GameCube games could be played on the Nintendo Wii. On hindsight, I probably should have gotten the PS2 version, but ah well.
The problem with the GameCube version, which I learned firsthand only a few days ago when I tried playing the game on my Wii, is not only did you need an original GameCube controller (the Wiimote and even the Wii classic controller doesn't work with the game), but you needed a GameCube memory card to save the game. What a bummer...additional costs I never factored in!
So I had to get a GameCube controller off eBay because it seemed impossible to find in a Cash Converters! EB Games and Game and other gaming stores did have non-official controllers, but I was a bit wary of those, not knowing whether they could actually be used or recognised by the Wii as a GameCube controller.
It was even harder finding a GameCube memory card! But as luck would have it, the Cash Converters at Knox City had the single memory card and I quickly purchased it...none of the game shops I went to had any at all!
So I could now play The Simpsons Hit and Run and boy, it was well worth the wait! It's not as free-roaming as GTA...you could decide to just drive around Springfield knocking things down and crashing into people and getting the cops to chase you if you had too high a "wanted" rating. And there are side missions where you could do favours and tasks for other Springfield-ians to get rewards and even participate in a race to unlock bonus cars. But those numbers pale in comparison to the non-linear side missions that is available in the GTA universe.
Nevertheless, you get to explore Springfield! Be it the Kwik-E-Mart or the Nuclear Power Plant, Springfield is brought to life in vivid detail. While you can't interact with every single person or every single location in the game, just seeing Springfield in 3D is a Simpsons fanatic's dream.
What's really awesome about the game is that when you CAN interact with other Springfield-ians, you get witty quips and memorable one-liners from the show. Once again, a Simpsons fanatics' wet dream. I spent much time just driving around familiarising myself with Springfield...and running down as many pedestrians as I could. Absolutely loved it when you knock someone down and Homer starts singing: "I am evil Homer! I am evil Homer!"
The Simpsons Hit and Run is simply awesome. If you're a fan of The Simpsons, there really shouldn't be any reason why this game isn't part of your collection.