Hands-onThe Simpsons Road Rage Xbox
Did you like Crazy Taxi? Then EA's got something right up your alley.
The Simpsons Road Rage for the Xbox is perhaps best described as a Simpsons-licensed Crazy Taxi clone. Road Rage manages to mimic just about every aspect of Crazy Taxi, requiring you to pick up fares and get them to circled areas before a timer expires. The game uses the same type of over-the-top physics that Sega used in its game, though moves such as the crazy dash and boost haven't been "borrowed" by the team at Radical Entertainment. Instead, the game has buttons for moving forward and backward and using a hand brake, which you can use to whip yourself around very quickly, making it very easy to pull 180 degree spins and other tricky maneuvers.
The story in Road Rage is that Mr. Burns has purchased the Springfield Transit Corporation and raised all the fares. All the major players in Springfield join forces to brave angry commuters and jam-packed roads in order to make enough money to buy back the Transit Corporation before time runs out. You can choose from the entire Simpson family, as well as a slew of fan favorites, such as Apu, Ralph Wiggum, Barney, Krusty, and many more. Each character has his or her own vehicle and can also appear in the game as a potential fare as well. Playing through the main mode of the game earns you cash. As you earn more and more cash, you get to choose items to unlock, such as extra characters or more of the game's six levels. The game works like Crazy Taxi, with an overall timer, a fare timer that starts up each time you pick up a new fare, and bonuses for fast deliveries. Some fares will have special requirements, such as smashing 16 things on your way to the drop-off zone or avoiding collisions with other vehicles while carrying your passenger. Doing these things gives you extra bonus cash and a few extra seconds.
Graphically, The Simpsons Road Rage is looking pretty sharp. The cel-shaded vehicles and environments really complement the Simpsons world nicely. The build we're playing has more than a few problems with collision detection and overall frame rate, but it's nothing that shouldn't be fixed by the time the game is launched. The audio portion of the game really shines, as the game is full of speech from all the Simpsons characters. Your driver talks quite a bit, and most of the passengers have a thing or two to say as well. Ralph Wiggum, for instance, will occasionally proclaim, "I bent my wookie," when jumping out of your car.
While The Simpsons Road Rage appears to be the very definition of derivative, the attention to detail when rendering Springfield should make the game a hit with fans of the show, as well as fans of Sega's Crazy Taxi. The Simpsons Road Rage is currently scheduled to hit shelves right alongside the Xbox this November.
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