Game Review: The Simpsons: Road Rage (Game Boy Advance)

Let’s not beat around the bush here. The Simpsons: Road Rage ripped off Sega’s Crazy Taxi game series to such an extent that it even saw Sega suing Radical Entertainment and EA for patent infringement. Released in 2001 for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube and two year later on the Game Boy Advance which is the version we’re reviewing here.

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It’s a Simpsons game that is forgotten about. This is because two years after its original release we got the far superior and fan-favourite, The Simpsons: Hit and Run.

If you’ve played Crazy Taxi then Road Rage will be very familiar. It’s basically the same game but with a Simpsons skin, albeit a bare one. Choose a character then drive around famous locations from the show picking up and dropping off passengers. The quicker you are, the more money you’ll earn but you can earn bonus cash from taking shortcuts and driving in a manner that reflects each passenger’s personality.

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Like the game it rips off it is very simple and very easy to play on every console but the Gameboy Advance. Holy hell, is this a bad version. I understand the limitations of the Advance but what they did here with the visuals makes it nearly unplayable and far from fun.

In an attempt to add some variety, Road Rage comes with a few extra modes. We have Road Rage which is effectively the base game as you ferry passengers around Springfield. The faster you reach the destination, the more money you’ll earn with more time being added on to the time limit.

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Performance focuses on one passenger who requires you to drive in a certain way. It might involve you hitting cars or knocking over post-boxes. Whatever mode of the two you do choose, once the timer expires, the money earned is added to your grand total.

Every time you get a certain amount of cash, you unlock a new drive-able character or one of five new locations. There is incentive to unlock new characters though. Each one has their own vehicle with unique handling.

The other two modes are just added extras. One is practice where you can explore Springfield at your own pace or take part in a series of missions. While the last mode is a multi-player battle between two players to see who can score the most fares.

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There can be few complaints about the modes. No, the complaints about Road Rage come from everything else. Springfield is far too small and there are very few passengers and locations. Meaning you will be driving back and forth between two points constantly. While there is scope to explore, the small size of the locations means you’ll have seen everything in a short amount of time.

Then there are the graphics.

The Simpsons: Road Rage employs two-dimensional courses laid flat to give the impression of a three-dimensional course. It’s not a unique idea for games on the Advance but here it’s done so poorly you’ll have a nightmare driving around the maps. Blocky and distorted buildings. Invisible walls that you bounce off. Turns that just sneak up on you because you’re distracted by everything in the distance. It can often be impossible to see a shortcut or turning when the laid-out map all looks the same! It’s down-right frustrating to play.

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If you really want to go back and play a Simpsons game from the early part of the millennium then pick up Hit and Run or at least Road Rage on a PS2 or GameCube. This version does not do it justice and will just leave a sour taste in the mouth.

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The Simpsons: Road Rage
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