The Simpsons: Road Rage attempts to transplant the long-running television showís characters into a frenetic driving game. While it may seem like a dull idea, the game features the voices of the actual cast, decent graphics and several different modes of play. We take a spin with Homer and friends to find out if this Gamecube release is a solid title or another cheap licensed game you should avoid.
On paper, this looks like a no-brainer. Itís such a simple idea: mix the frenetic gameplay Crazy Taxi with characters from the Simpsons. It should turn out to be a classic title, but things havenít gone according to plan. Unfortunately, The Simpsons Road Rage doesnít quite work as well as the concept and doesnít live up to the source material for several reasons. At the start of each level, you select one of the Simpsons characters such as Homer Bart or Marge. In Road Rage, Mr. Burns has co-opted the cityís bus system and turned it radioactive and jacked up the prices as well. To combat the evil CEO, the citizens have decided to use their own vehicles as taxis much to the chagrin of Smithersí best-friend.
object of Road Rage is to drive around the streets of
addition to the arcade mode, Road Rage offers several modes of play to make
things more interesting. These play closely to the arcade mode, though each has
their own objectives. In the mission mode for example, players have to complete
ten different tasks and goals Ė unlocking new missions only after completing
the previous levels. Some of the early missions are surprisingly simple, but the
later missions are quite difficult. There
is also a head to head mode where two players have to compete for fares Ė the
presentation here is decent but nothing to write home about. This is fun and the
split-screen approach works well to allow for some peripheral vision. Thereís
also a Sunday Drive practice mode where you can drive around the levels freely,
though you canít earn any money doing this.
Aside from these extra modes, the game is surprisingly free of frills.
there really isnít that much else to the game, you basically drive around and
collect fares. While the levels become increasingly difficult and complex, It
gets old in a hurry. Youíll need a lot of patience (or a good cheat code) to
unlock all the cars in the game. This isnít much of a counterpoint to the
monotony since thereís very little in the way of variety to the game which
leads to low motivation earlier than youíd expect. Road Rageís substandard
controls donít help much either, as theyíre more troublesome than their
worth. The carsí controls feel very loose and their difficult to maneuver with
much precision, with turns and reversals extremely difficult to finesse easily.
The interfaceís simplistic nature doesnít allow for much in the way of cool
driving techniques which also leads to a flat experience. This omission is fine
from one perspective, since Road Rage doesnít offer any impetus or reward for
flashy driving and stunts anyhow. So while itís a lot of fun for any Simpsons
fan for the first few rounds, after the novelty wears off, thereís very little
left to do.
3D graphics and renderings of
of the best things about Road Rage is trying to see how many Simpsonsí
in-jokes you can spot since you can visit many of the more infamous locations
like the Kwick E Mart, Bowlarama and
of course Mr. Burnsí Nuclear Power Plant. Unfortunately, like the show, itís
fun at first, but after half an hour, youíre really bored. To be honest,
itís fun while it lasts, but itís better as a rental because the extra modes
donít really add much replay value to the experience. Itís a great idea but
the implementation is average at best. The game itself plays like a
watered-down, simplified Crazy Taxi, and doesnít take much skill to drive. The
levels become increasingly difficult and oblique, which really hurts its appeal.
Unfortunately, Road Rage isnít implemented well enough to make the cool ideas
in it really work. So in the end, while itís a nice idea, this substandard
game is disappointing. Itís a nice try, but Road Rage really doesnít live up
to the Simpsons name.