Grand Theft Auto 2
Grand Theft Auto 2 has taken rather a long time to get here, and it's a bit of a disappointment - but not in the way we suspected it might be. What initially worried us were early reports on the game which centred on an apparent shift in focus from present-day, urban car-jackings to futuristic, science-fiction gang wars. We envisaged GTA with hovercars and androids and hidden levels set on Pluto - silly Fifth Element stuff that would take the edge off the previous game's gritty, contemporary air. "They're only doing that to make it seem less realistic, and therefore keep the censors happy," we thought, in a faintly sniffy we-float-above- it-all-like-super-intelligent-brainiacs stylee.
We were wrong as heck. GTA2 is set, in its own words, "three weeks into the future" - ie in a slightly exaggerated version of the present, not unlike the 'New Detroit' of the RoboCop movies. And rather than tone down the violent nastiness, GTA2 chances its arm by cranking it up to fever pitch. The city streets are crueller, more anarchic and far, far more dangerous than before. Aside from countless dodgy geezers roaming the sidewalks (you now have to worry about getting carjacked yourself), there are seven major crime syndicates 'running tings', so you can't pull off a caper on behalf of one gang without stepping on the collective toe of another. Piss off too many of the wrong people, and entire neighbourhoods suddenly become no-go areas, in which it seems absolutely everyone is trying to shoot you, all at the same time. It's like being a member of the Wu Tang Clan or something.
The 'gang war' stuff really does enhance the game, though. Nipping around town taking care of unpleasant and/or violent tasks, juggling allegiances with various kingpins, and simultaneously avoiding the police (more intelligent and therefore peskier than in GTA1), and trying to avoid the random criminal chancers you'll encounter along the way makes for a more complex and involving experience than the original. But. Ah, yes. There is a but.
The engine is pretty much exactly the bloody same! Standard 1999 3D-accelerator enhancements aside, little has changed, technically speaking. The handling of the cars feels a little crisper (which could just be our imagination), but apart from that, what else is new? Well, the cars have working headlights, and the sound effects have been substantially improved, but come on! GTA1 was looking a little dated when it arrived, and that was almost two years ago. Why aren't there any polygonal cars that crash and flip over? Why are all the roads still so straight? Why are all the buildings still so boxy? Why haven't DMA provided a means of reproducing the map (helpfully provided on paper along with the packaging) actually within the bloody game, so you don't have to pause and fiddle about each time you want to work out where the nearest garage is? That's an essential part of the game, so providing an option to bring up an arrow pointing you in the correct direction - like the ones that guide you on every mission - would've been nice. Why didn't they?
We'll tell you sodding why. Because this is also appearing on the poxy PlayStation. Arrrrrgh! That bloody machine's a curse, we tell you. Developers seem increasingly loath to include anything they won't also be able to squeeze into the PSX version -and that's why we're saddled with games that although being fun to play, don't quite satisfy as much as they could because their growth has been stunted by that bloody grey box thing.
Don't get us wrong: this is a tun game. It you've never played Grand Theft Auto, we heartily recommend it. Enjoy the anarchic game play, the exhilarating sense of freedom, the utterly supertative blend of music and sound effects (for which the developers deserve a big fat shiny award). Enjoy it all. But if, like us, you've been there, done that... well then, forget it... unless you're a hardcore fan.
Next time, can we have a proper GTA update, hmmm? Or do we have to wait for the PlayStabon2 version? Ah. Thought so.
More for the GTA newbie than the connoisseur, this version of the anarchic auto classic combines all the fun of the original with, well, not a lot else really. The graphics are more fun and the music is infinitely better, but where the game does get more interesting is the incorporation of gangland politics, with three nasty gangs ruling the city and hiring you to do their dirty work. Unfortunately, if you make too many concessions to one gang you may find yourself eating Tarmac with an arse full of lead, and that's on a good day.
There's no doubt that the streets are meaner in GTA 2. As well as being tailed by the now smarter cops for your misdeeds, there always seems to be someone waiting around every corner to blow your brains out. You can even get your own carjacked. Is nothing sacred? It's fun stuff, but the look and feel is all too similar to the original game. It's basically GTA with go faster stripes.
Download Grand Theft Auto 2
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode