The Simpsons: Hit and Run
VU Games | PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
The setup: As various members of the Simpsons clan, you'll explore a full 3D model of Springfield with a mix of platform-hopping and high-speed driving. It's all in the name of collecting the gold coins littered around Springfield, most of which are hidden inside other people's breakable property, or in these weird robotic bees that have mysteriously infested the town.
The rides: Aside from a bunch of Simpsons -themed cars (including the infamous "Homer" bubbletop) that you can whistle up from any phone booth, the citizens of Springfield are more than happy to give you a ride whenever you want. It's really just a friendly way for the Simpsons to carjack people, but it works.
The violence: Pretty tame for a GTA clone. You're limited to close-up attacks, which you can use to smash open random objects in your unending quest for big shiny coins. You can also use your wicked moves to temporarily smack down random people, which is fun in a "Suck it, Flanders!" kind of way.
Why it beats GTA: You play as various Simpson family members, the game's script is written by the TV show's writers and the game itself is a semi-nonviolent, family-friendly romp through a wide-open Springfield. Yeah, eat that, GTA!
Why it'll never beat GTA: The low-intensity violence and replacement of carjacking with car-pooling just won't cut it for players looking for a bloody rampage.
Can it survive? Yes. Not only because it's an outstanding GTA clone, but also because it's the best Simpsons game ever made.