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     " If this is the best the Xbox can do I want my 300 bucks back! "

      Title: Simpsons Road Rage by Electronic Arts

      Format: Xbox Driver

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: Regardless of however many are made, there are never quite enough Simpson's video games out there. And, with the horrible track record of the last couple, EA has put its hopes into the "next generation" platforms to breath life back into a dying game property. In Road Rage, players try to make money and beat the clock driving around as various Simpsons characters in a blatant Crazy Taxi knock off.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: I don't know what it is, but any time you lend a 3D environment to something we're used to seeing 2D (i.e. cartoons) it never looks quite right. Still, that not withstanding, the overall look of Road Rage is pretty darned cool. Bright, vibrant, and generally sharp, it has the happy pastel look that you would expect in a game set in our favorite Springfield. That being said, though, there's absolutely no saving the glaring errors in the games graphical coding. Horrendous clipping, dislocated modeling, and piss poor camera locations will guarantee that for every second you spend smiling at a 3D Homer you'll also spend crying about your car sharing the same physical space as a tree, a rock, and Mayor Quimby simultaneously. 3 out of 5

      Sound: I mentioned before that there's a trend with Simpsons games to suck…and here would be a big reason why. No, it's not the failure to include character voices: the vast majority of the Simpsons cast is performed by the actual actors. No, it's not the humor value- as; in general, what's said is pretty damned funny in a classic Simpson's style. No, the real problem is the lack of diversity. You see, evidently the developers didn't have more than 6 minutes in the studio with any of the actors…So you can look forward to the same 10 phrases being uttered and re-uttered until you are so sick of hearing them that you want to get up out of your chair, rip your Xbox off the shelf, and hurl it through the nearest window. And, when you factor in that part of the game is supposed to be playing the same player over and over, having only 4 things in that person's vocabulary is just plain dumb. It's nothing but repetition, repetition, and more repetition. Infuriating. 2 out of 5

      Game Play: Have you played Crazy Taxi? If you have, you've played this game. If you haven't, the premise is simple: You're in a car, driving through the city, looking for passengers. Each passenger you pick up gives you a few more seconds to your clock and money while you drive them to their destination. The goal is to accrue as much money as possible until you run out of time. Repeat ad nauseum. So there are absolutely no points for originality or excitement. Still, what's left as far as controllability and smoothness isn't half bad. Not great, not awful, just not half bad. 3 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: You know, I've never looked at one of those "Virtual Springfield Tours," so I don't know how accurate the maps are to the "real" city, but the lay out for Road Rage's Springfield is pretty damned cool. With maps divided into districts and all the sections inter-connecting, driving around the ole' nuclear farm can be quite a bit of fun. Additionally, lots of bonus points go to them for including lots of trivial locations like the Maison Darier and Willy's shack. Still, all that being said, it does have one huge problem with restrictive street layouts. Meaning that, with a console as powerful as the Xbox, why there are so few side streets and back yards to run through I'll never understand. 3.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: Well, Road Rage has it…and that's good, I guess. Race head to head with your buddy to see who can make the most money. Though, if after you've played this game for a while the prospect of just racing against someone else is really that exciting I'll be incredibly surprised. 3 out of 5

      Replayability: Well, there are two things to really consider about replayability on Road Rage. The first is what compels you to keep playing and the second is what do you get out of it? The answer to the first question is not a whole hellova lot. It's the same half dozen voice-overs, the same stretches of road, the same passengers, and the same mediocre playing scheme. The answer to the second is nothing you didn't get in your first 15 minutes of play. Add those two answers up and you get our rating of: 2 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: The one and only story to the game is the intro CGI in which you learn that Monty Burns has taken over the bus system leaving you as the only alternative way for people to get around. That being said, it's basically never mentioned again. Definitely a poor showing for a game based on a TV show! 1.5 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: Probably the only strong point of this game, it is definitely easy to learn and the instructions are clear. 4 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: Heh. If this is the best the Xbox can do I want my 300 bucks back! 2.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       : In the end, Simpsons Road Rage is a novelty for all of ten minutes. Not funny enough, not witty enough, and no where near original enough, it will, without question, go down in the annals of games you're just fine with forgetting.

      The Good: It has the voices from the show.

      The Bad: It has the voices from the show saying 4 lines apiece, no originality, and no real incentive to keep you in front of your TV.

      The Overall Ugly: Road Rage can best be described in one word: Boring. I'd keep looking for something worth playing if I were you.

      What it's Worth: Rental if you're a Simpson's fan.

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