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Jez plays… Simpsons Hit & Run

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is a 2003 action-adventure game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games. It is based on the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and is the twenty-second instalment in the Simpsons series of video games. The game follows the Simpson family and their friend Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who witness many strange incidents that occur in Springfield; security cameras, mysterious vans, crop circles, and a “new and improved” flavour of the popular soft drink Buzz Cola that causes insanity. Taking matters into their own hands, they discover numerous shocking secrets, and soon realize these incidents are part of a larger alien conspiracy, caused by Kang and Kodos. The gameplay largely focuses on exploration and missions; players often race enemies and interact with supporting characters on timed quests. The game also features many elements found in role-playing games, such as a branching storyline and side tasks.

Beginning in early 2002, the development of The Simpsons: Hit & Run was extensive. The team sought to differentiate the game from The Simpsons: Road Rage, deeming their new entry into the franchise required a different direction. The game was heavily inspired by the Grand Theft Auto series, and the development team re-purposed the open-world design and nuanced character development for the game. This encouraged collaboration with the show’s writers and cast, who helped craft the story and dialogue. It was released in September 2003 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. It was then ported to Microsoft Windows two months later.

On September 30th, 2020, I began a fresh playthrough of the game. This would not be the first time I played the game but I had very little recollection of it. It’s a great game, tune in and enjoy!

After a long hiatus, I went back to Springfield on January 11th, 2021. In this section, we close out some Bart missions and move on to the tut-tut-tut-ing of everyone’s favourite nerd, Lisa.

This game is so much fun and I don’t know why I take such huge gaps between plays of it! Back in Springfield on May 5th, 2021, trying to get enough coins to make Lisa cool and find a good vehicle to get some fish.

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Jez plays… Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Call of Duty: Finest Hour is a first-person shooter video game developed by Spark Unlimited and published by Activision for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is the first console installment of Call of Duty.

Although it is based on the original Call of Duty for Microsoft Windows, it has a different storyline and acts as a side-story/expansion of the main game. It features six intertwined stories and battles based on real events from the perspective of soldiers on each side of the allied campaign (U.S., British, and Soviet).

The game’s music was composed by Michael Giacchino, who previously worked on the original Call of Duty and the Medal of Honor franchise. AC/DC singer Brian Johnson provides the voice of Sergeant Starkey, one of the British commandos.

I began the campaign on July 30th, 2020 and began progressing through the Soviet missions.

The second play of the game came on September 3rd where the Soviet missions were completed, painfully, before progressing into the English missions:

I finally returned to Finest Hour on January 18th, 2021 and it was not my personal Finest Hour. This game really needed more checkpoints in certain places…

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Jez plays… Monsters, Inc. Scare Island (aka Scream Team)

Monsters, Inc. Scare Island (released as Monsters, Inc. Scream Team in the United States) is a platform game published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2 based on the 2001 animated film Monsters, Inc.. It was released in the United States in 2001 and in the PAL region in 2002.

This 12-level game begins after completion of an orientation program hosted by Roz, who shows the monsters the basics of their training. The levels are divided among three training grounds located on Scare Island. With names hinting at the nature of their design, the Urban Training Grounds, Desert Training Grounds and Arctic Training Grounds contain four areas to be explored. Each region ranges in scenery from a city park to a frozen lake, and players can choose to play as either Sulley or Mike, with each monster having different moves and scare abilities. Each levels loading screen features a picture of either Mike or Sulley to show who’s recommended for the level

The objective of the game is to successfully scare all the robot children (known as “Nerves”) on the island and graduate from monster training with top honors. This is accomplished by collecting bronze, silver and gold medals that are awarded throughout the game. The bronze medal is requied to complete a level and can be obtained by scaring five Nerves and also unlocks a short clip from the movie; the silver medal can be obtained by finding and collecting 10 “Monsters, Inc.” Tokens scattered on a level; and the gold medal can be obtained by scaring all the 8 Nerves of a level. Obtaining the 4 bronze medals in each training ground unlocks a hidden item that may help the player reach previously unreachable areas.

Items used include Extra Try Tokens (that gives extra lives to the player), Monsters, Inc. Tokens (that earn silver medals for every ten collected) and Primordial Ooze, which is the substance that gives the monsters their scare power. The random Bag O’ Calories increases health, while mailboxes provide tips and information vital to the player’s success. Nerves and items may be hidden, but can be discovered by searching in and around boxes and other objects.

The overall gameplay is the same across all 3 versions. The PS2 version features better graphics and extra voice clips and scaring abilities

I began a nice, chilled, casual playthrough on August 28th, 2020.

Part two of the playthrough came on October 6th, 2020 with another few bronze medals collected:

The main story mode of the game, collecting all of the bronze medals, was completed during the special 12 hour stream on October 10th, 2020:

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Jez plays… Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (PS2)

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is a platformer video game, part of the Spyro series, developed by Check Six Studios and Equinoxe Digital Entertainment and published by Universal Interactive. It was released for PlayStation 2 and GameCube; ports for Xbox and Microsoft Windows were announced, but ultimately cancelled. While Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly sold well, it received poor reviews from critics, due to its short length, poor controls, lack of content, inconsistent framerate, long load times, and numerous bugs and glitches.

The story begins shortly after Year of the Dragon. The dragons are in celebration of a rite of passage for the young dragons and for the Grand Dragon Parade, with the arrival of new young dragonfly guardians for the baby dragons. However, during the party, Ripto teleports in via a portal along with his henchmen Crush and Gulp, disrupting the celebration, intent on capturing the new young dragonflies to weaken the baby dragons. However, his spell misfires and the dragonflies become scattered throughout the Dragon Realm. Spyro is tasked with recovering the realm’s new crop of dragonflies. Spyro eventually completes his mission and faces Ripto. Spyro wins the battle and Ripto runs for his life, swearing that he will be back. The game ends back at the party, with the celebration being continued.

I started a playthrough on August 18th, 2020 and, despite fighting with the backwards camera controls, progressed through the first few stages with the sassy purple dragon:

Play continued on October 1st, 2020 with, frankly, a confusing time trying to work out what I need to do and far too long spent on the Banzai Speedway time attack…

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Jez plays… Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (PS3)

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is an action-adventure video game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It is the sequel to 2005’s Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. The game is a third-person shooter with an open world, set in a fictionalised war-torn Venezuela. The game’s primary objective is to kill the President of Venezuela whose betrayal of the protagonist mercenary acted as a stepping stone to their current position.

I started a playthrough on August 20th, 2020 and, for the second time in a week, had a fight with the not-so-intuitive controls. This is a fun game, though, with lots of scope for exploration and wanton destruction. Enjoy the playthrough!

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