Review by PaintedBlack

Reviewed: 10/18/04

Grand Password Farce

Opening Remarks: The first GB Color version of GTA was lambasted for its too-fast-to-be-fun controls, its empty streets, bad music, and bugs that made that game hard to play. Was Tarantula Studios listening? You bet...but they took out the one thing that made the first so easy to play...

Gameplay: The first GTA was bashed for having empty streets. Now the streets are full of cars, cops, and pedestrians, and it doesn't slow the game down barely at all. GTA was bashed for having cars that went so fast you couldn't see where you were going. Now the cars all control realistically, and they accelerate slower. GTA was bashed for having terrible music. GTA2 improves this, providing music that's not great, but not annoying. GTA was bashed hardest because of the bugs in the game...mission arrows disappearing, cars getting stuck on scenery, crime bosses giving you the wrong text...all this was fixed for GTA2.

GTA2 works differently than GTA. In GTA, you worked for one crime boss and did his missions. The level ended when you had enough money, and you repeated the process. In GTA2, there are seven gangs (3 on each of the 3 cities), and you've got to balance respect from the 3 gangs. Do a job for the Loonies, and the Zaibatsu will lose respect for you. Roll into their territory, and the gang members will shoot at you without batting and eyelid. Gaining respect from a gang is easy as rolling on over to the rival gang's territory and start smoking its gang members. Each gang has 6 missions to do (54 total in the game). They're separated by 2 easy, 2 medium, and 2 hard missions for each gang, and they usually have something to do with killing off members of rival gangs.

Oh, and don't forget about the police. You'll also have to deal with the SWAT team, FBI, and the army if you manage to piss them off too much. Good thing you've got a whole arsenal of weapons to take care of them with. Not content with the original GTA's 4 weapons, Tarantula included all 4 of those, plus a few new ones. In addition to the original pistol, machine gun, flame thrower, and rocket launcher, you now get a silenced machine gun, shotgun, grenades, and electro-gun.

"But PaintedBlack, you're doing nothing but raving about this game, you told me that they took out the one thing that made the first so easy to play."

You catch on quick. That one thing is the battery save. The first game saved your progress onto the battery, but this version gives you a password after every mission you complete...A TWENTY-CHARACTER PASSWORD. This is unacceptable in any game, especially one like this. It's amazing that Rockstar had the money to spend to make this game great, but decided to save a few pennies by not including a battery save. Pathetic.

Pros: Excellent gameplay, everything is improved from GTA.

Cons: That damn password "feature"

Graphics: Remember how good and colorful GTA looked? Imagine that, only better. You still can't see sides of buildings, but what do you expect with a 2D top-down game? The animation is quite good. When you go to a car crusher and drive through the door, a sequence shows a crane picking
up a car with its magnet and dropping it in the crusher. In the first GTA, when you carjacked a car, it showed your character walk to the driver side, the door opened, and the character got in the car. In GTA2, the character magically appears inside the car...this can be good or bad. Bad because it looks cheap, but good because you don't have to enter on the driver's side. Still, very good graphics and animation.

Pros: Everything

Cons: Cheap carjack animation

Sound/Music: The sound effects are your basic fare, with appropriate effects for weapons (most re-used from the first game). The music is pretty basic, but much better than the last game's annoying-as-hell tunes. Overall, it does the job.

Pros: Pretty good sound effects and music

Cons: Still pretty run-of-the-mill stuff

Play Control/Game Design: The character you control on foot handles much tighter than in the first game, and the vehicles handle a lot less tighter than the first game, but then again, they're a lot slower and you can see where you're going. This can prove to be frustrating when you're being chased by the fuzz or a group of pissed gang members, as the car will take a while
to finally go. It's a trade-off, really. Sight for control...

Pros: Cars go slower so you can see where you're going

Cons: Cars go slower = sluggish handling

Improve: That freakin' password

Recommended if you like: GTA, Driver

Final Words: Had the developer of GTA2 not opted for the worse password system ever implemented in a game, it would have scored a 99% from me. But noooooooo, they had to save a couple bucks and make us suffer. My advice is to go ahead and buy GTA2, but don't be so quick to get rid of GTA.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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