Game Over Online ~ Grand Theft Auto 2

GameOver Game Reviews - Grand Theft Auto 2 (c) Take Two Interactive, Reviewed by - Fresh

Game & Publisher Grand Theft Auto 2 (c) Take Two Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 92%
Date Published Wednesday, November 10th, 1999 at 09:08 PM

Divider Left By: Fresh Divider Right

The original Grand Theft Auto was released in 1997. At that time, a friend was raving about this game and insisted I try it, so innevitably I did; I was hooked instantly. For those who are not familiar with GTA, allow me to introduce the premise behind it: You’re a criminal in a big city viewed from a 2D helicopter angle, who wants to grow in the crime scene. Doing jobs for cash, you earn enough money to get to the next stage. When you complete a mission, your multiplier increases, so you will earn money faster. That’s how you proceed through the game by "playing by the book". The fun really begins when you start breaking the law in ways you would have never imagined possible.

Walking down the street hitting somebody for no reason or belching and farting in someone’s face is hilarious. You can steal someone’s car and run him over or pick up one of the numerous power-ups you can find and shoot masses of innocent pedestrians. Of course the more people you kill, the more the cops want you locked up.

GTA London 1969 was just an addon which brought you music mainly from the 60’s, when you were driving, and gave your character a 60’s look. GTA2 is a real improvement in many ways. Instead of the 4 weapons you had in GTA, you now have dual-pistols, molotov cocktails, handgrenades, an electric gun and a silenced machine gun, providing a more diverse killing experience. The police AI has improved as well. They are still kind of stupid, but there are more cops than ever and they are fast. The old running the cop over by pushing his own car over him, doesn’t work anymore. The physics have changed too. You can no longer push vehicles to crush people because they will jump over the car. There’s a short period between driving normally and going into reverse, which makes getting out of a tight place with cops around quite difficult. Collisions are made more arcadish. When hitting a car, it’s like you are the cueball with a topspin hitting another ball on the pool table, so you maintain your speed, but your direction is slightly altered. You no longer get stuck in an alley and finally you can jump.

Just like in GTA, the graphics are simple, but greatly improved over GTA. You can choose between noon and dusk when you start. At noon, GTA2 almost looks the same as GTA, but in dusk you notice the lighting effects used in traffic lights, police sirens and explosions. In GTA, explosions were just like a 5-framed sprite, but now it actually looks like something explodes and is on fire. Everything looks more detailed. Gameplay-only games won’t survive now for the masses, but don’t expect real eye-candy. The scores you get for blowing stuff up, hitting cars or running over people, explode in your screen, creating an arcadish feel. If you shoot someone with a rocket launcher or a hand grenade, he’s blown into the air towards you, creating a hilarious, cartoonish effect.

The sounds are good in GTA2. Still, cars don’t sound like cars, but that is not a big problem for this game. The comments people make with you blasting and driving recklessly, are well done, suitable and hilarious. The suprised ‘huh?’ when jacking someone’s car always makes me laugh. In GTA, you had CD-audio when you were driving a car, but now you have music on a lower sample-rate, so there is a lot more music in this game. It sounds more like a radio, meaning it’s not as crisp, but that again it’s not a bad thing in this game. It has commercials for a new drug, a car that should make your sex-life better and it has tracks in all kinds of music, randomly chosen.

Despite all I’ve said so far, GTA2 is not a big improvement over GTA. It basically is the same game only better looking and some minor bugs, which you could use to get out of situations, are fixed so you have to change your tactics. The cops are quite good, but there are too many of them.. In GTA, you could outrun the cops, but not anymore. Cops alone are not the worse part, a whole SWAT-team comes after you if you are behaving too badly. If they’re not enough, the FBI pumps you full of lead and if you are able to survive them, try to outrun the army and their tanks. Impossible. You have to play by the rules or you get busted. Fortunately, the shops are easier to find than in GTA 2.

Navigating the city is more difficult, because you don’t know where you are. For exemple, you are in Avalon, but you don’t know which part, north, east, west, like in GTA. A major improvement is the ability to save. In the first city, you start out at your savepoint, a church. You can save your game for $50,000, so now you can take 4 days completing a level instead of having your computer staying on for days.

A different approach is the presence of gangs. You can do missions for a gang now, but you have to earn respect to get to the better missions. Running over gang members, makes you loved by another gang, but there are no ‘hidden’ missions. Having too little respect for each gang means you won't get jobs, unless you ‘pay a visit’ to a gang and run some guys over. In GTA2 ,you are not the only criminal. Sometimes a guy steals your car or a guy whose car you stole, steals it back, making the city more ‘realistic’.

A very cool feature in GTA2, are the bonus levels. I’ve played the first one a thousand times. You have to shoot ice cream vans and blow them up within a time limit. That is pure, plain fun!!! You get arrested or blown up really easy, so you have to adjust your tactics for this mini-level as well.

In conclusion, if you played GTA and you like it and are not bored with it, get this game NOW! If you are new to this game, like arcade style games, and have a good sense of humor, this could be the game of the year for you. The graphics are early 1998, the sound is ok, but the gameplay and fun factor are outstanding.


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