Grand Theft Auto 2
by Take 2 Interactive
Controversial, addictive and fun are probably the words that best sum up the original GTA. The controversial theme of the game, car stealing and murdering civilians, did little to damage the popularity (it probably increased it) or indeed hide the fact that the game was easy to get into and difficult to stay away from. GTA2 is very similar to the original game in many respects and if you liked the first instalment then all I can say is that you can't go wrong with this sequel.
The game has 3 levels and each level has 3 gangs. To complete a level you have to amass a specific amount of points. To earn points you have to do jobs for either one of the gangs. These jobs can be found at the gangs phone boxes. When you start the game you have 3 pointers that each point to their respective gang. The pointers are colour coded as are the phone boxes. The jobs are varied and range from blowing up pizza parlours to rescuing doctors who are working on illegal substances. The game is further spiced up by the need to avoid the police. You can steal cars at any opportunity. To steal a car you simply approach the car and press the return key to get in.
The game is full of nice touches that add to the gameplay. The colour coding of the gangs and their phone boxes helps to ensure the information is visually very clear. The ability to catch trains around the towns gives the opportunity to legally travel the around the level should you feel the urge. All the info is given textually (text speed can be altered in the options) and is very clear. You can even recall messages so the possibility for confusion is kept to an absolute minimum. The manual* is good and gives you all the information you need to play the game. The enclosed map* of the levels is a great addition and helps you find out where you are.
Although the graphics are not brilliant they are functional and for the most part they acceptable. The only problem I had with the graphics is that sometimes it was difficult to tell in which direction your character was facing. The camera angle is top down, like the original but the way it moves up and down whilst you're driving a car was brilliant and it gives you the impression you're watching an American cops 'n' robbers car chase program.
The game has a few minor niggles. The main one is that you can't save your game anywhere you like. You have to make your way to the 'Jesus Saves' church (it can be located on the enclosed map) to save your game. To make matters worse it costs $50,000 to save your game. This means that you have to play for a fair amount of time in order to afford the save. This is a shame because the game is perfect for short blasts and the method of saving prevents you from playing it in such a way. The control system is initially a little fiddly but a few hours of play soon rectifies this problem.
GTA2 is a very playable game and one that every (adult) gamer should have in their collection. The gameplay is simple and the graphics may not be the best but it has an addictive quality to it that keeps you coming back for more, a quality that sadly most games do not have.
*Please note that the GTA2 reviewed here was the original release. A budget version of this game is now on sale and you may find that the manual and map are in Acrobat Reader format on the budget version.
Overall Game Rating: 8/10 So addictive it's criminal.
Quality of text: 9/10 Text feedback in the game is great and the manual has been well done.
Graphics: 6/10 Adequate is probably the best way to describe the graphics.
Interface: 9/10 Easy to get into.
Gameplay: 8/10 The punishing save game method is really the only problem with GTA2.