The Simpsons, like other cartoon franchises, is difficult to adapt to a game format. In action, Matt Groening's series has no gaming action at all. It doesn't involve beating people up. It doesn't involve any repeatable action. We get our laughs when it parodies and puns on things in motion in our own lives. Developers can only try to leverage by confining themselves to a specific genre. But even then, it doesn't always work. The only half-fun Simpsons game I recall myself were the arcade ones, but they only used the Simpsons as images for a side-scrolling fighting game.
The Simpsons Road Rage is like it’s other console counterparts, a game that is inspired completely by Crazy Taxi or, if you will, the taxi part of the Grand Theft Auto series. The game allows you to assume drivers based on characters from the show, like Bart or Homer. You'll pick up a variety of passengers based on the lesser characters of the show. This variety translates poorly to the Road Rage mode, where you are tasked to deliver passengers to specific areas in Springfield. The less time you spend delivering your passenger to his or her destination, the more time you get tacked on to the time remaining in total. Once that time elapses, your accrued cash is calculated and if you qualify, new drivers and maps will be revealed. So in the end, it doesn't really matter who you're driving. It could be characters from King of the Hill or Futurama for that matter.
The characters will only come into play when you deal with the Performance driving mode. This is where you will have to do stunts and tricks depending on your passenger's appetite. Some will want you to perform hops, while others might ask you to kiss a few bumpers. Perhaps some mini-games could have been thrown in to cater to each driver or passenger.
The Simpsons Road Rage suffers in its translation to the Game Boy
Advance. While the Xbox version might have made it to the Platinum series, it doesn't mean the game was very well received. Neither was it very sophisticated. I'm not sure why the Game Boy Advance is so rudimentary compared to the other consoles. My primary complaint revolves around the buildings. There are too many flat sprites and destinations are nothing more than flashing patches of pavement. The game at least maintains the overall color-happy look of The Simpsons cartoons.
My biggest complaint about the game is not the outdated looks, not the reliance on Mode 7 racing, not even the fact that some of the action can be repetitive and the whole game is a knockoff of Crazy Taxi. It's the password save. It's tedious, it's unnecessary, and with so little in terms of sound cues and graphical complexity, it's beyond me why a battery save couldn't be fit into the cartridge.
I really like The Simpsons. I like the characters that Matt Groening creates. I like the irony and the parodies on the real world. Heck, I even bought Sierra's release of Futurama just to delude myself that
Futurama lives on after Fox's cancellation of it. I'm a fan of this stuff because it is sophisticated and smart in its humor. This game isn't sophisticated, nor is it smart. The whole genre of Crazy Taxi was worked in successfully as a sub-game of Grand Theft Auto. In my mind, that sub-game was more fun than this one because of the whole living city backdrop, and for those developers, it probably wasn't a focal point of all their creative energies. The Simpsons can only get this game's engine started. To get it moving along, it'll need something else that just can't be found in the Game Boy Advance version.