Omnivore Update – May 2022

It was during this time last year that I was in a bit of a rut when it came to any of my creative outlets, blogging in particular. I still had plenty of ideas that I would come up with during the day, but I’d usually get little more than a few notes scribbled in front of me as I was working during the day. I would later sit down in front of my computer and…nothing would happen. This continued throughout most of the year with the exception of being able to write something down about Returnal or Metroid Dread. This year has seemed noticeably better, for whatever reason, and I actually have felt pretty good(cautiously so) about everything here on WordPress and have been able to take advantage of the inexplicable outburst of inspiration(energy?). In continuing this momentum I wrote up a quick update post about what games I’ve managed to find in stores, as well as what I’ve been playing lately.


Coming off the 100+ hours I’d spent playing Elden Ring, I wasn’t quite sure what I was gonna play next. However, as I spent hours playing the most recent From Software game, I had really begun wanting to replay the game that got properly got me to appreciate Souls-like games – Bloodborne. I just finished up the game and unlocked the platinum trophy again…yes, again(the first time was on my PSN profile I use for streaming). I also played through the Old Hunters DLC for the first time. After six years and a collective 200 or so hours of playing, I can still wholeheartedly say Bloodborne is among my absolute favorite gaming experiences on of the PS4 era and would likely be right up there will my all-time favorites. I began a series of blog posts detailing my playthrough of the game and am pretty satisfied that I was able to stick with an idea like that for…y’know, an entire three weeks. In the last couple days I’ve begun my first playthrough of a much more concise Alan Wake Remastered, which I’ve been pretty thoroughly enjoying as well…

In addition to binging my way through a few FromSoft games, I also happened to pick up a few backlog additions in the past couple months. I’ve been on the lookout for complete copies of a lot of GameCube and PlayStation 1 games in particular, starting with…


Final Fantasy IX – While stopping at the used game store in town the other morning, I noticed there was a copy of FFIX in seemingly near-mint condition. I assume this was one of the many, many copies of the game(as well as Chrono Cross) that Square Enix produced in such quantities they are still routinely available brand new on their website. Either way, it was a pretty good price for a nice copy of my favorite Final Fantasy game.

Metal Gear Solid – I remember seeing commercials on tv for a new PlayStation game called Metal Gear Solid. I never played the game back in 1998 as my introduction to the series wasn’t until playing a rental copy of MGS 2 a few years later and I didn’t fully become a fan of the series until 2004 when I played the remake – Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the GameCube. Another PS1 game that isn’t very rare, but don’t find in this nice of condition often nowadays. Still love the old double-decker PS1 cases…

Demon’s Souls(Remake) – Demon’s Souls was the very first From Software game I ever played. I remember my brother telling me about a new PS3 game that was getting a lot of word-of-mouth attention and he had ordered a copy of the collector’s edition from PlayAsia. I ended up getting a digital copy of my own as a PS Plus freebie a year or two later and would say I liked what I played, but the game didn’t immediately grab my attention the way that something like…say, Bloodborne did years later. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Blue Point Games’ remake of the very first “Souls” game. The fact I got it for free as part of a weekend sale at my local place is an added bonus.

Shadows of the Empire – I’ve played Shadows of the Empire many times in the past; it was one of my favorite games at one point. I had been looking for a decent copy for a little while after realizing I didn’t have a copy of my own – one of the many aspects of having siblings who played games. I spent a fair amount of time playing the game after I picked this up and….I wish I could say I still feel the same way about the game as I did in the past. I still enjoy the game, but it’s aged pretty poorly and would be very difficult to recommend to anyone who DIDN’T play this as a kid…

Golden Sun – There’s always more RPGs to add to the backlog, right? Camelot’s beloved GBA title Golden Sun is a game I’ve only played for a handful of minutes, but have always been interested in returning to. The demand…and prices of GameBoy Advance games have been steadily rising alongside the GameCube(though still not quite as sharply), so I decided to finally pull the trigger and get a copy while I could still find one.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike – I love the Rogue Squadron games. They’re my favorite Star Wars games, alongside Knights of the Old Republic. There’s usually one exception to this – Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike. I played this years ago and while the flying missions felt every bit as good as the previous games, the inclusion of on-foot missions seemed to drag it down considerably. I’ve been on a pretty big GameCube nostalgia kick lately, so I decided to give the game another shot…

The Conduit – Despite first-person shooters being the biggest genre in gaming back in 2009, there wasn’t very many of them available on the Wii. The Conduit had some decent hype around it before it was released, and was successful enough to get a sequel the next year, but seemingly faded into obscurity shortly thereafter. I’m still not the biggest fan of using motion controls, but I played a little bit of it back then and remember The Conduit playing pretty well. It was actually a solid FPS option on the Wii. It’s pretty interesting looking back at some of the decent Wii-exclusives published by Sega like The Conduit, Nights: Journey of Dreams, or the underrated Mad World.

WarioWare: Touched! – This was a launch window game for the Nintendo DS back in 2004 and I remember seeing it often. I had always meant to pick this up, but haven’t come across too many complete copies like this in the wild the past few years. WarioWare titles are always a joy to play and a change of pace from other games requiring a bigger investment of time and energy.

Wario World – I actually owned this one years ago and remember enjoying it well enough from what I played. If I recall correctly, I bought Wario World along with 2 or 3 other GameCube/PS2/Xbox in the some shopping trip, so I may have just been more invested in something else at the time. I ended up selling the game(along with a few others) as I honestly didn’t think that a first-party Nintendo game like this would end up being as rare(or just expensive?) as it currently is. I had been wanting to pick the game up and play again, so I finally decided to splurge a bit when I found a decent complete copy in town. I’ve been playing Wario World on stream the past week and realized pretty quickly that I didn’t play it nearly enough back then as it’s a really solid 3D platformer and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing it.

That’s all for now! What have you been playing lately? Are there any games you’re planning on picking up, old or new?

Thanks for reading!

The Simpsons: Road Rage

Springfield. City on the move. Or is it? This once-bustling burb has been brought to a stand-still by the malignant magnate C. Montgomery Burns. The man who owns the nuclear power plant has bought out the Springfield Transit Corporation and is sapping the billfold of every Johnny Commuter and Janie Buspass in this fair town. The dastardly devil has even converted the buses to nuclear power and given his drivers free reign to wreak havoc on this hamlet’s otherwise sleepy streets.

But look out, Mr. Burns – the good people of Springfield are rising up to take on your transportation tyranny. They’re arming themselves with their cars and braving the bumper-to-bumper mayhem to provide shuttle service for the stranded citizenry. Will these chivalrous chauffeurs, these vigilante valets bring down Montgomery’s mass transit monopoly? Or will evil keep its grip on the wheel? Only time will tell…

Anyone who grew up during the 90’s can tell you two things that were unavoidable during the decade – 1) The dance craze known as the Macarena….sadly, and 2) The Simpson’s. It was impossible to go anywhere without seeing Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and little Maggie’s famous yellow faces plastered on any assortment of merchandise. As with nearly anything of cultural significance during the 80’s – early 2000’s the beloved franchise was shoehorned into countless video games, most of which weren’t particularly…good. However, there were a few exceptions to this as The Simpson’s Arcade Game was a classic beat em’ up. Another Simpsons game that I have a lot of great memories playing was The Simpsons: Road Rage, one of the very first games my younger brother and I received with a Nintendo Gamecube for Christmas in 2001. Does this 19-year old Simpsons/Crazy Taxi-ripoff hold up?

The Simpsons: Road Rage was first released in November of 2001 for the Playstation 2, and later that December as ports for the two newest gaming consoles – the Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft Xbox. The game was developed by the now defunct Radical Entertainment and published by EA. At first glance one would assume Road Rage to be nothing other than a Crazy Taxi clone, but with The Simpson’s painted over it….which is mostly correct. It is nearly identical to Crazy Taxi, but set in Springfield and with the city’s residents behind the wheel. So identical in fact, that Sega filed a lawsuit against Radical Entertainment and EA which was later resolved as an out-of-court settlement.

As the excerpt from the instruction manual above details, Mr. Burns has taken over the Springfield Transit Corporation and converted the buses to use the nuclear(nuke-u-lar…it’s pronounced nuke-u-lar) energy from his plant. In an act of defiance, the angry Springfieldians band together to begin a guerilla taxi service…rather than relying on the remnants of the crumbling monorail. Players control one of five different members of the Simpson family( Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa or Grampa), with an additional twelve updstanding citizens being unlockable once you earn enough cash. There’s also four unlockable seasonal characters to use in the game. You are given a set amount of time to drive around Springfield picking up various townspeople and delivering them to their requested destinations as quickly as possible and collecting the fares. Occasionally a passenger will request you avoid collisions with other vehicles for an extra bonus, or sometimes request the opposite and encourage you to destroy a set amount of objects for a “Road Rage Bonus”. You will have time added for every fare you pick up, with another two seconds being added to the timer for every one of Mr. Burns’ bus stops you destroy. If you’ve ever played a Crazy Taxi game, you know exactly what to expect in The Simpsons: Road Rage in terms of gameplay.

The available game modes are: Road Rage, Sunday Drive, Missions and Head to Head. Road Rage is the primary mode as all of the cash earned will allow you to unlock further drivers and levels. Sunday Drive is simply a free-roam mode where you can drive around at your leisure without a countdown timer. A good way to learn the layout of the levels as well as discover the shortcuts scattered about. Missions mode offers ten different scenarios in which you are given a set amount of time to get from Point A to Point B, or a specific number of target objects to destroy. In one mission you will have to play as Bart as you escort Homer to the Power Plant before its discovered he is absent from work. Another will have you drive as Barney in a drunken rage as you run over the Springfield Isotopes mascot in various locations across town. Head to Head mode is simply Road Rage, but two players can compete for the highest score and amount of cash within two minutes. After collecting fares from playing Road Rage mode, you are given the option of unlocking a new character or a level containing a new area of Springfield in which to play. The unlocks are set at specific intervals, $15,000 and $30,000 for example, which meant as a kid I spent the majority of cash in unlocking new characters and endlessly replaying the first levels. The opening level is Evergreen Terrace, home to the Simpson family as well as the Kwik-E-Mart. The additional five unlockable levels are – Entertainment District, Springfield Dam, Nuclear Power Plant, Downtown and Springfield Mountains. The additional Springfield residents that can be unlocked are –

  • Groundskeeper Willie
  • Otto
  • Barney
  • Reverend Lovejoy
  • Snake
  • Chief Wiggum
  • Flanders
  • Krusty the Clown
  • Apu
  • Professor Frink
  • Moe
  • Smithers
  • Halloween Bart
  • Thanksgiving Marge
  • Christmas Apu
  • New Year’s Krusty

Visually, the game has never looked overly impressive, especially when compared to other games released around the same time. Despite some rough textures and frame rates, the graphics are colorful and complement the color palettes of the series. Fans will also notice numerous locations referenced in the long-running show, such as Bart asking to be dropped off at the Kwik-E-Mart or Chief Wiggum, who requests you bring him to someplace where “an honest cop can find some donuts” as you hurredly drive over to Lard Lad Donuts….mmm…donuts. All your favorite Springfield locations are here – Moe’s Tavern, Krusty Burger, or even Noiseland Video Arcade.

Gameplay-wise, Road Rage has held up to a reasonable degree due to its simple premise. The steering controls are a little loose and there are some areas where the collision detection makes manuevering around corners and areas with other cars a tad frustrating, particularly as Mr. Burns will occasionally tail you in his luxury sedan trying to run you off the road as if he were holding a cease and desist letter from Sega . The game feels decent enough, though the controls don’t feel quite as polished as the game it was clearly copying trying to emulate in Crazy Taxi. Another criticism of the game is there just isn’t much depth in terms gameplay or available game modes.

When compared to the iconic upbeat soundtrack featured in Crazy Taxi, Road Rage pales in comparison. The backing soundtrack isn’t anything remarkable, but the real area where The Simpsons: Road Rage shines through(finally!) is the fact all the in-game characters are voiced by the original voice artists – Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, and Yeardley Smith. This provides the most memorable moments of the game as this was the first Simpsons game to feature the cast and writers of the tv show and uses many one-liners from the show. While the random quips make for some humorous “interactions”, it can start to become tedious…something witty at first, but seems less funny each time you hear it.

It’s pretty easy to see Road Rage was conceived as “Crazy Taxi, but The Simpsons”, making it impossible not to compare the two games; it borrows heavily from the Sega classic, yet could not replicate its polished gameplay. I don’t think The Simpsons: Road Rage is a bad game, but its overall sloppy feel prevents me from being able to call it a great one either. I still enjoy playing the game, but that mostly stems from being a long-time Simpsons fan as it provided the closest thing to playing an episode of the show. Since its release however, there has been several games that have more closely adapted the iconic tv show into a video game. D’oh!

Thanks for reading!