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Electronics Arts creates hidden gem 

PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX

 
Along with Soulcalibur and Mortal Kombat, Crazy Taxi is often considered to be among the most successful arcade games of the 1990s.

Aside from the game’s original atmosphere, Crazy Taxi was one of the first arcade titles to offer its audience a steering wheel to simulate the driving experience and a soundtrack of popular rock ‘n’ roll artists.

The legacy of Crazy Taxi spawned several titles on home consoles that emulated the game’s concept, such as The Simpsons: Road Rage, released by Electronics Arts in 2001.

While the primary objective of Road Rage is identical to Crazy Taxi, there are minor differences between the two games.

Unlike Crazy Taxi, where the general concept solely involves driving passengers to their destinations as fast as possible, Road Rage offers a plot.

Mr. Burns (of The Simpsons) decides to replace the Springfield Transit System with nuclear-powered buses at an exorbitant cost. In an attempt to revoke this decision, the citizens of Springfield raise $1 million by serving as taxi drivers.

Thus, the cash collected by the player will go toward the fundraiser, as opposed to Crazy Taxi, in which money is solely for high score purposes.

The player must also evade Mr. Burns and the nuclear bus drivers during the fundraising or road rage sessions, who attempt to impede one’s route by deliberately colliding into the character’s vehicle.

The game also offers financial bonuses after the dropping off of every three passengers.

The safe driving bonus orders players to refrain from crashing into less than three vehicles along the route, while the road rage bonus instructs gamers to destroy a specific number of objects.

Although failure to complete these bonuses will not drastically decrease one’s score, they keep the game from feeling tedious.

The game also offers six immense worlds, complete with references from popular Simpsons episodes, such as the Escalator to Nowhere, the Springfield Gorge and the World’s Largest Toilet.

Aside from the primary story mode, Road Rage also offers a mission mode. This portion of the game consists of 10 tasks, most of which involve destroying a specific number of objects in less than 90 seconds.

Road Rage also offers a remarkable variety of characters from the Simpsons universe.

The game contains more than 30 characters, 17 of whom are selectable drivers.

Each character is voiced by their respective actor who each deliver several lines of trademark humor from the long-running television series.

While the remarkable character diversity, signature humor and simplistic concept should attract audiences, the game contains minor flaws, none of which should keep audiences from enjoying Road Rage.

Among the most common criticisms of the game is that the steering controls feel erratic and oversensitive, although gamers should adapt to this flaw with sufficient practice.

The nuclear-powered buses that frantically drive around Springfield during the road rage sessions may also irritate gamers.

Although audiences may find the controls and buses moderately aggravating, the game’s most prominent weakness is the duration of the loading times.

Prior to each driving session, gamers are forced to endure a loading screen that lasts 19 seconds.

While the loading screens are not the longest in video game history, players will encounter them quite often if they choose to complete the game in its entirety.

If audiences can adapt to these flaws, however, players will find that Road Rage is one of the greatest Simpsons installments in the television series’ history of video game adaptations.

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