Review by King Broccoli
"Breaking the law is more fun than ever before!"
Grand Theft Auto 2 is the sequel to one of the most controversial games of all time (that would be the first Grand Theft Auto for the less informed of you). GTA offered some of the funniest, rudest, most original and non-linear gameplay of all time, so following up this smash hit was always going to be a huge task. Fortunately Rockstar seem to have come up with the goods.
The premise of the GTA series is simple and unique, you're a worthless, lowlife piece of trash trying to gain respect in the big city, to do this you must partake in various illegal activities such as mob jobs to boost your cash and your credentials. It certainly is simple, but with the atmosphere and the depth that GTA2 offers you could be tricked into believing you're taking control one of those cheesy gangster movies.
One of the coolest aspects of GTA2 is the virtual city it creates, at times you could swear that the cities that you hoon around in are real. Motorists drive around the town obeying traffic lights and road signs, cabs actually pick people up and drive them around, ambulance, fire and police do all their jobs properly. There are even petty thugs like you patrolling town, waiting to mug or carjack their next unsuspecting victims! If you're not careful you could even find yourself ripped out of your newly stolen car and thrown into the gutter. You're actually playing in a living, breathing metropolis, it astounds me every time I put the game on how well this game simulates a modern city.
The graphics of the game are nothing to write home about. The top down 2-D look has been retained from the original games, which, while it isn't exactly visually impressive it's probably the best way that a game like this can be shown, since it enables you to see exactly where you're going and what you're doing. Of course that doesn't mean that the graphics are completely terrible, you can have an extraordinary amount of traffic on the screen without the slightest bit of slowdown. Most of the buildings, vehicles and general backgrounds are well detailed and brighter than the bland grey and black surroundings that it's predecessor favoured. Overall, the biggest problem that the graphics have is that the inhabitants of the city are so small it can be difficult to make out who belongs to which gang, who you should kill and who you shouldn't. It can be very tough on your eyes trying to spot the various gang members and it can make the game more difficult than it needs to be.
The sound is definitely one of the highlights of the game. Hop into one of the vehicles and you'll be treated to an almost lifelike broadcast from one of the many radio stations. Most of the songs are great and you'll have to spend a long time playing the game before you start to tire of repeat listenings, the song ''Taxi drivers must die!'' will always have a special place in my heart. Going past the soundtrack, I found that the accompanying sound effects were quite good. Most of the cars have unique engine sounds and horns, the people will hurl insults at you if you come close to running them over or scream in terror if you fire a weapon in their vicinity. The weapons themselves each have their own sound and are very close to their real-life counterparts. Combine all of these sounds (without the weapons of course) and it comes very close to how a real city should sound.
A person would be hard pressed to find a game with more depth and freedom in its gameplay than this one. You can play this game however you want, you can try your hardest to impress the different gangs and gain respect or you can simply run over anything that gets in your way, piss off everyone and start a gang war. There are three gangs in every city, each gang having seven missions to choose from and you'll certainly have to work hard to impress the gang leaders and gain enough respect to tackle the highest paying missions. This work can include killing rival gang members, stealing cars and returning them to your gang of choice, or just blasting a few cops into oblivion, the choice is yours. The mob-jobs themselves have a great amount of variety and you can find yourself performing such duties as a hitman, a carjacker, a drugdealer perhaps even a petty thief or vandalist.
Of course a crime spree of this magnitude is going to attract the attention of the long arm of the law, pretty soon you'll have police setting up roadblocks and trying to bash you off the road in a poor attempt to bring you in. If you manage to avoid the cops and continue your reign of terror you'll find whole swat teams after you, they drive fast and shoot to kill. If the swat teams still can't manage to bring you in you can find yourself with the FBI or even the army on your tail! If you can survive this onslaught and manage to steal yourself one of the armies tanks, that's when the fun REALLY kicks in.
Littered throughout the cities are an abundance of extras, there are Kill Frenzies, in which you're required to kill a certain amount of people with an extremely powerful weapon, there are also GTA2 tokens littered all over town, the collection of these will result in a cool prize to the player. There are enough features and things to do in town to keep you occupied for months.
The lifespan of Grand Theft Auto 2 (as written above) will range from months to years. There are only three cities for you to wreak havoc in but the replay value of these is enormous, it'll take you ages just to finish the levels and you'll still have to complete them three or four times just to play every mission and find every secret concealed in the city. There are also nine smaller bonus missions for you to unlock and complete, so it'll be a long time before you can finally lean back and say ''Yes. I have finished Grand Theft Auto 2, and I'm darn proud of myself''.
Overall, this is one of the finest games you can buy for your Playstation. There are very few games that have the class, depth and evil sense of humour that GTA2 offers the gamer. You can live out all of your most violent and wicked fantasies without having to set a foot outside your front door. Grand Theft Auto 2 deserves a place in any gamers collection (unless you're parents won't let you get it) without a doubt.
- Complete freedom of how you go about playing the game, do it your way!
- Realistic radio stations, featuring lifelike commercials and DJ's
- Playing the bad guy for once is a nice change
- Extraordinary sense of humour
- The graphics are a bit simple and telling people apart is a worry
- Too few improvements over it's prequel
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/26/00, Updated 04/26/00
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