|The Simpsons: Hit and Run|
|Release Dates|| September 16, 2003|
October 31, 2003
November 13, 2003
November 21, 2003
|Platforms||PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Windows|
|Publisher(s)||Vivendi Universal Games|
The Simpsons: Hit and Run is an award-winning video game based on the TV hit-show the Simpsons. It was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Microsoft Windows in North America on September 16, 2003, in Europe on October 31, 2003 and in Japan on December 25, 2003. It was developed by Radical Entertainment and was published by Vivendi Universal. It is cited by video game critics and fans as the best Simpsons video game ever made.
The game follows the Simpson family and the citizens of Springfield, who witness many strange incidents that occur in Springfield. Mysterious Black Vans are lurking around, Mysterious Wasp Cameras are spying on peoples privacy and a mysterious new cola has popped up. It is up to Homer and co. to solve this mystery and return Springfield to it's original state.
Hit & Run focuses primarily on driving missions. It employs the "sandbox" format, featuring a third-person view, an explorable environment, and drivable vehicles similar to the Grand Theft Auto series. While most cars can be hijacked or stolen, the non-playable characters' vehicles cannot be compromised in this way. Instead, the player's character can be seen riding in the passenger's seat of another vehicle while the owner drives. The game features a "Hit & Run meter" that brings the police after the player if it gets too high; if the player is captured by the police, (s)he is fined 50 coins. In the first 3 levels, only one police car is deployed to chase the player, but starting from level 4, two police cars are dispatched in pursuit.
Progressing though the various story levels allows the player to control Homer, Lisa, Marge, Bart, and Apu; many other Simpsons characters such as Chief Wiggum and Professor Frink appear in non-playable roles, but will also drive you in some missions.
In addition to the story missions, players can optionally participate in "bonus" missions or races which typically award unlockable cars for successful completion. Coins, the currency in the game, are acquired by hitting objects such as trees or mailboxes, destroying wasp cameras or Buzz Cola machines, or simple collection (many coins are simply scattered throughout each level). Players can use coins to purchase new vehicles or outfits for the current character; many of these can be traced directly to specific episodes of The Simpsons (e.g. Bart's Space Shuttle-shaped Honor Roller soapbox racer or Marge's police uniform). Many of the cars also appear in "The Simpsons Road Rage". However, some cars, such as the Longhorn and Hover Car, appear in "The Simpsons Road Rage" but have a very different design.
A number of "collector cards" depicting objects, characters, or scenes from the series are placed in each level, usually in hard-to-access areas. Collecting all of these cards in a level unlocks a track that can be played in a slot car-like racing game, and collecting all of the cards in the game unlocks an original Itchy & Scratchy short, "500-Yard Gash".
The game received generally favorable reviews, an average of 92/100 score from critics. The game did well in sales as well, selling over 5.5 million copies worldwide as of June 2009. The game received an editor's choice award from GameSpy and it won the award for Fave Video Game at the 2004 Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards.