The Getaway: Black Monday
Review by jarrodj
"The digital version of London's underworld is back, and it's dirtier then ever."
Shut it! This has gotta go like clockwork, Not Clockwork bloody Orange!
The Getaway is one of the best 'love it of hate it' games you'll ever find. On one hand, the game had this incredible story with staggering production values and a mature script that no other game would even touch at the time. It also took place in a photo realistic version of London. On the other hand it was pretty linear, the driving was frustrating, and the on foot part of the game was pretty broken with horrid controls and a camera that hated you. Personally. Fortunately the game sold really well, and the people who really liked what the original did right now have a sequel in The Getaway: Black Monday.
What is the definition of a successful sequel? Basically, the ideal sequel is one that takes all the things people loved about the first game and kicks them into overdrive while fixing all the old games problems. Results vary from improvements (Max Payne 2) to "What the heck happened?" (Driv3r). Where does Black Monday fit? Right down the middle. While the game fixes most of the problems of the original, it leaves a few new problems that weren't problems in the first game.
Oy. You're that cop, Mitchell. The one that shot that kid 3 years ago.
Even though this game is billed as a sequel, it really isn't because none of the characters from the original game are here. In fact, you won't even need to have played the original to understand what's going on.
It's been two years since the events of the original game, and since you basically "took care" of every gangster in Soho, London has been quiet for a while...Until now. Sgt. Ben Mitchell has been put back on the job after 2 years of being suspended indefinitely for shooting a kid in the back. He couldn't have picked a worse time to come back. A group of Latvian gangsters have decided to invade London, and the city's never gonna be the same. Half way through the game, the story switches to Eddie O' Connor: an ex boxer who, with his rag tag group of boxing buddies and a annoying girl named Sam, have been hired by someone to steal this religious icon from the above mentioned Latvian's.
The story was the best aspect of the original game. Thankfully Black Monday keeps the tradition of the original games fantastic story and actually surpasses it. Now my only real complaint from the original Getaway's story was that it wasn't as humorous or witty as the average cockney movie. They must have heard me, and the dialogue is much more chuckle inducing. Now, the problem is that alot of these jokes are pure cockney. If you have no knowledge of British lingo, you're gonna be left in the dust. You'll eventually get the gist of what they're saying, and when you do, you'll find an amazing crime story with many memorable moments that will keep you enthralled until the end.
9.5 Out Of 10
What the **** is this hot little piece of *** doing here!?!
The original game truly shined in the graphics department with it's amazing recreation of the whole city of London, great looking cars, and astonishing character models with some of the best facial animations I've ever seen. Black Monday actually improves on the original, but it comes at a price.
Once again, the game recreates the entirety of London. Literally. Odds are if you live in the main part of London, you could find your house. It truly looks amazing. A problem with the first game was the draw distances. While driving, you really couldn't see that far in front of you, and the city was permanently cloudy with fog. Now, you can see further in front of you and London has all sorts of weather. Also, the Character models have been boosted up, and look better then ever. Once again, the facial animations steal the show with near lifelike motions. The game is also mostly free of those PS2 famous 'Jaggies'.
Unfortunately, there is one big problem: the frame rate is all over the place. While driving, the frame rate chugs and gets really bad when some smoke gets on screen. On foot, it's a little better, but when there's tons of bullets flying (which is often), the frame rate can get to tremendously low speeds. At one point, I counted it at about 10 frames per second. That is just a lack of polish. Overall, the game looks great, but the frame rate can make this one lust look ugly.
8 Out Of 10
Aw ****! ****! ****!****!****!!!
If there's one place that this game has no flaw, it's the audio. Once again, the original sounded amazing, and this game really goes above and beyond the call here. Like you've probably read from the captions, this game is dirty. Really dirty. In fact, this game may actually be dirtier then the original. Don't know how they pulled that off, but the actors sound good while saying it. Like the last game, the game uses real British actors who I've never heard of to do the parts, and they all do a really stellar job. The dialogue just comes off as really natural. I don't know if that because of the actors of the language they use, but it sounds great nevertheless.
Other then that, the rest of the game sounds amazing too. The music was mixed by Ninja Tune records, and is a great mix of hip hop and techno tracks. The music is catchy, and suits the game very well. The sounds are great too. Everything from the gunshots to the cars revving up sounds loud and real. In the end, this game sounds just as good as the last game.
9.5 Out Of 10
Alright. Lets go in, kill the ******, and get out.
Probably the only aspect the original game wasn't revered for was the game play. It had some great ideas, but they weren't executed very well. This game fixes all the old problems, and makes a whole bunch of new problems that will just tick you off.
Once again, this is a linear, mission based game in which you kill a bunch of dudes and drive around the city of London. The thing that The Getaway did that stood out was that it got rid of all of the iconography in the games. There wasn't a map, no ammo counters, no health bars, no anything like that. It was just the screen, and that's it. You might ask yourself "Well how did you know where to go while driving in such a huge city?" Well what they did was that when your driving, your car will turn on it's blinkers when you needed to go more to the left or more to the right. This work fine, and the driving worked fine, but the developers decided to fix the driving. Overall, the driving is far less frustrating with sped up traffic flow, better control of the car, and now your car can take more then 2 hits. Unfortunately, they changed the blinker system. It used to work like the car would just tell you if you generally were too far left or right. Now it shows you what street to turn on. The problem? The blinkers turn on too late, and you have zero time to react. Thankfully the game now has a map in the pause menu to show where you need to go, so you can plan your route.
Where the true problems from the original game were at was on foot. Simply put, the control was like moving a tank, and the camera was awful. Thankfully, the control problems from the first game are pretty much gone, and your character moves when you tell him/her to, and they move much faster then in the last game. Now the game just has these weird quirks that weren't in the first game, and just are there to bug the crap out of you. First off, the way you regain health in the first game is that when you're taking damage, all you have to do is go to a wall and rest there for a little bit, and you're as good as new. Now, in Black Monday, you do the same thing, but now you can only rest for a limited amount of time. It just doesn't make any sense. The wall is right there, you were resting before, but now you can only rest a little but. There are now a few health packs thrown around, but they are few and far between. It's not the fact that this makes the game harder, because actually this game is alot easier then the first game, but this move just doesn't make any sense. Also, another weird thing the game does is that while playing as Eddie, you can pick up any gun you find, and you can even two fist alot of Uzi's and things like that, but while playing as Mitchell, you can only pick up one kind of machine gun, and one kind of pistol. You can't just pick up any gun like while playing Eddie, but you can only pick up the standard police guns, which is just stupid.
But by far the worst part of the game is the Stealth missions. What is it with action games these days always having a couple of horrible stealth missions? They always stink, why do they keep putting them in? Anyways, these three horrible missions involve Sam, the annoying girl mentioned earlier. Even though there are only three of them, they are awful. Sam has no attacks, and if you get caught, you run away until they stop chasing you. Oh, and these guys are dumb. Example: You get caught, and you run to a desk. The guy sees you run behind the desk, and just looses sight of you, even if he's looking right at you! That's just bad programming, people. Plus Sam is just an annoying character, and you'll just hate being her while your hating the stealth missions. Thankfully there are only three of them, and they're done pretty quickly.
Oh, and one last thing: The camera is just as bad, if not worse then the original. You now have some control over the camera, but you can't look the entire way around, and can only look a little to the left, or a little to the right. Once again, this is just stupid. And, like the last game, it gets caught on walls, always gives you a bad view, and is way too close to the back of the player.
Oh, and I think it should be said that this game is, in no way whatsoever, for kids. This game could very well be the most mature game ever made. It has tons of profanity, it's incredibly violent, has plenty of drugs, and even has some nudity thrown in for good measure. Needless to say don't buy this one for little Timmy.
Improvements have been made, but the bad camera, weird quirks, and horrible stealth missions just make this game tedious.
6 Out Of 10
Well, you're ******* quick, aren't you?
Game play wise, The Getaway had one thing going for it: It was long. It was a good 15 hours. Black Monday on the other hand, is quite short. It is made up of 22 missions, and each of those lasts about 10-15 minutes tops. Since this game isn't as hard as the last game, you'll spend most of the game blowing through it instead of dying and trying it again. You can beat Black Monday in about half as much time as the original game. After you beat the short game, you unlock a free ride mode (boring), a "Black Cab", which is basically a taxi cab mini game (boring), and a "Making Of Featurette". It's informative, but it doesn't last long, and you won't watch it again. So, honestly, this game isn't worth full price, and you can see everything in a rental.
Longevity: 6 Out Of 10
And I thought it couldn't get any ****** worse.
You know, before I wrote this game, I liked it alot more then I did before I wrote this. But on reflection, and remembering that this game has a bunch of stupid little quips, doesn't last long, and has some really ugly spots, I realized that this game is just not that great as a game. Maybe this was more forgiving two years ago, but it's 2005, and these glaring flaws just keep this game from being completely recommendable. If you want a great story and are willing to look over some really big flaws, then this game may be for you. If not, rent it first, because you'll beat it over a weekend.
Overall: 7 Out Of 10
+Gotta love those facial animations!
-Weird little quirks
-Stealth missions are horrible
-the camera is awful
-it doesn't last long
-the frame rate is all over the place.
Bottom Line: Proceed with caution.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/05
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